Correction: Obit-Marty Plissner story

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — In a story Feb. 7 about the death of veteran CBS political sage Marty Plissner, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Plissner coined the phrase "too close to call" in the 1960s. The phrase has been in use as long ago as a 1933 sports column published in The New York Times.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Marty Plissner, veteran CBS political sage, dies

Marty Plissner, longtime CBS News political director, dies at age 87


AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Marty Plissner, the longtime political director of CBS News, died Thursday of lung cancer. He was 87.

He was known for his extensive political knowledge and his range of political contacts, establishing himself by one appraisal as the gold standard for several generations of political journalists.

He was a pioneer of exit polls and was known to say that members of Congress who had pushed to limit them would nonetheless contact him on primary days seeking information on what they revealed.

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Plissner attended Yale and served in the Navy during World War II.

After graduation and stints at ABC and NBC, he joined CBS News in 1964. He participated in covering the 1964 presidential race as well as the next eight. He retired in 1997 as senior political director.

He wrote about his early years at CBS in his 1999 book, "The Control Room: How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections."

The three TV networks around in 1964 created the modern New Hampshire primary and went "overboard" in their coverage, Plissner said in the book.

"That year, the network news divisions for their own purposes converted this once marginal political event, involving barely 1 percent of the country's voters, into a unique showcase and proving ground for aspiring presidents. ... In that era, it never occurred to us that there was anything shameful about aggressive coverage of the horse race."

Plissner, who lived in Washington, is survived by his wife, Susan Morrison, two daughters, and a son from his first marriage.