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Edwin R. Bayley, 84; Journalist, Author

October 30, 2002|Mary Rourke | Times Staff Writer

Edwin R. Bayley, who died Sunday at the age of 84 in Green Bay, Wis., was the founding dean of the graduate school of journalism at UC Berkeley and a searing critic of his fellow journalists for failing to challenge Sen. Joseph McCarthy's sensationalist campaign against communism in the early 1950s.

Bayley was a Wisconsin political reporter during the McCarthy era. More recently he divided his time between Carmel and Door County, Wis. He had been in failing health for several months.

A political reporter turned media analyst, Bayley published "Joe McCarthy and the Press" in 1981, tracking McCarthy's rise to power and the press corps' tacit acceptance of his sensationalist statements. Perhaps the most shocking charge came in 1950, when McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 communists working in the State Department. Bayley combed 131 newspapers' coverage of the incident and concluded that too few reporters demanded, "Show us the list."

As chief political reporter for the Milwaukee Journal from 1947 to 1959, Bayley helped his newspaper earn a reputation as an adversary of the headline-grabbing senator. Once, at a political rally that Bayley was covering, McCarthy singled him out. "Stand up Ed," he said, "let the people see what a communist looks like."

Born in Chicago and raised in Wisconsin, Bayley got his introduction to journalism working on the school newspaper at Lawrence College in Appleton, where he graduated as an English major. He went on to do graduate work at Yale, where he met his future wife, Monica Worsley.

During World War II, he served as a gunnery officer in the Pacific and joined the Milwaukee Journal after the war, covering local politics as well as three presidential campaigns from 1948 to 1956.

He left journalism in 1959 to work as a speech writer and chief of staff for Wisconsin Gov. Gaylord Nelson. In the early 1960s he was a special assistant on the staff of President Kennedy and went on to become editor of public affairs programming for National Educational Television in 1962.

Bayley was named a professor and dean of UC Berkeley's graduate school of journalism in 1969. When he retired 16 years later, the faculty had grown from seven to 12 members and enrollment rose from 50 to 75 students. During his tenure, he dropped courses on public relations, extended degree requirements to two years of study and began a program for minority journalists.

Among his academic honors and professional awards were the Berkeley Citation, the highest honor awarded by the university, and the George Polk Award for his book on McCarthy.

Bayley is survived by a daughter, Mary Fisk; a son, Thomas; a granddaughter; and a sister. A memorial service is pending.

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