John Cooley, 1927-2008

Abc_john_k_cooley_080808_main Veteran journalist and one of the more insightful observers of the Middle East, John Cooley, has passed away.  Mike Lee over at the ABC News blog World View:

John Cooley was my hero. You may not know it, but he was your hero too. John was a journalist’s journalist. But that says too little. He was a deeply intelligent, perceptive, committed and generous colleague who was unfailingly generous with his time, and with his considerable knowledge of world events.

As a radio correspondent, and an editorial sidekick to Peter Jennings, John was highly influential in helping to shape the foundations of ABC News when it was growing into itself as a world-class news organization in the early 1980s. You probably never knew John, unless you were a world leader, or intelligence operative, a secret source in an outlawed group,or an expert in the major issues of the day. I used to look at John and imagine that his skull was a massive Rolodex. That was before the first personal computers were widespread. I’m still not sure that John ever really needed something as slow as a microchip.

How can I describe him in the flesh? Do you remember those early James Bond films? John Cooley was Q, the inventor who furnished 007 with an endless supply of wondrous gadgets. If you squint your eyes, there is an element of that in JC’s relationship with PJ. But Peter was never dismissive of a Cooley cocktail of cold fact and insight. Both men were smart and committed, and complemented one another in a way that provided ABC with a behind-the-scenes rocket booster.