Robert Morton, February 19, 2023
[Veteran journalist Sol Sanders (1926-2022) served on the Advisory Boards of WorldTribune.com and Free Press Foundation. His Memorial was held Feb. 17, 2023 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The following was sent to the organizer on behalf of all of us at the WorldTribune Media Group.]
Sol W Sanders’ origins, from a Jewish family in western North Carolina, were an indelible part of his persona. Having been born in a Christian home on the other side of the mountains and more than 20 years later, I found that we shared many values, in addition to being former foreign correspondents in the Far East.
Sol loved people and always took a genuine interest in friends and colleagues, never failing to inquire about their family members, even those he had never met. In fact, the name of his autobiography is “People!”.
But the main reason we kept meeting for breakfast in northern Virginia and later stayed in touch by phone was our hopeless status as journalists for life. That profession arguably no longer really exists as almost every single human being alive is a publisher on social media, convinced that he or she alone has successfully “connected the dots”.
Our mutual friend Carter Clews always characterized Sol as the “one of the last real journalists”. I agree with that characterization. The Trump era has revealed a painful reality: Employees of corporate media are no longer free to report the news” without fear or favor.” Sol was a freelancer long before there was substack, and he remained a straight shooter to the end.
Free Press Foundation Chairman John McNabb, who served two combat flying tours during the Vietnam Conflict, read a book which recorded Sol accompanying one pilot on a mission over the Ho Chi Minh trail. John commented that such an initiative to gain perspective for reporting was not for the faint of heart.
Wikipedia’s entry for Sol cites the WorldTribune obituary which quoted me as saying: ““He came from an era when reporters owned their reporting and deferred to no one and certainly not to partisan narratives.” I also noted:
“Sol typically provided a world tour in each one of his columns because for him the historical and cultural context was essential for deciphering current affairs.”
As we all know but may have forgotten Sol Sanders spent more than 25 years in Asia and briefly served as deputy chief of mission of the World Bank (IBRD) in Tokyo. He is a former correspondent for Business Week, U.S. News & World Report and United Press International. He traveled extensively in Mexico during the 1950s and was a correspondent in Vietnam in the 1960s. He headed the Mass Communications Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In the 1980s, Sol and I edited the “Global Affairs” quarterly journal of the International Security Council headed by our mutual friend the late Joseph Churba, former Mideast Intelligence estimator for the U.S. Air Force.
In later years, Sanders conducted research on contract for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment that served as a “Team B” during the last years it was headed by the late Andrew Marshall, known by some as “Yoda“. In that capacity Sol remarkably made a final world research tour at the age of 90.
He ended his career writing editorials for the Washington Times and regular columns for WorldTribune.com where he also served on the Board of Advisors and was greatly admired by readers and fellow columnists. Sol’s last columns dealt with the surge of U.S. energy independence under President Donald Trump, the growing threat of Chinese espionage and ‘America’s disturbing political shift . . . in Europe’s Islamic direction’.
The author of several books on Asia, Sol confided to close friends that he had completed much of the research for a book on hedge fund billionaire George Soros before the publisher killed the project on the advice of attorneys.
As mentioned, one of the last true journalists.
Godspeed on your continuing journey, Sol W. Sanders.
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