Jack Germond, a longtime political pundit on WTTW’s nationally syndicated public-affairs program The McLaughlin Group, died Aug. 14 at his home in Charles Town, W.Va., of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the Associated Press. He was 85.
Born in 1928, the Army veteran made a name for himself as a prolific political columnist. For nearly 25 years Germond co-authored five columns each week with Jules Witcover for more than 140 papers at the height of their syndication. He became one of the most recognizable of the "Boys on the Bus," the political reporters covering the 1972 presidential election who became the subject of a book by Timothy Crouse.
Germond joined The McLaughlin Group when it launched in 1982 as a permanent panelist representing a liberal viewpoint opposite conservatives John McLaughlin and Robert Novak. Through the show, his views and argumentative style found a home on pubTV and commercial stations across the country for nearly 15 years. Germond left the program unceremoniously in 1996 via a fax to McLaughlin in which he wrote only, "Bye-bye."
"I didn't quit to strike a blow for journalism. I just . . . got tired of it," he told Tribune Media Services at the time, adding that he never got along well with McLaughlin. He left political reporting following the 2000 presidential election, citing that year’s "odious" campaign as evidence of the declining quality of politics.
Germond died two days before the planned publication of his first novel, A Small Story for Page Three, the story of a political reporter who gets caught in a web of intrigue.
Germond "was fortunate to spend his life working at a job he would have done for free during some halcyon times in the newspaper business," his wife Alice said in a note to his colleagues.