Morley Safer (born November 8, 1931) is a Canadian reporter and correspondent for CBS News. He is best known for his long tenure on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes, which began in December 1970.
Safer was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna (née Cohn) and Max Safer, an upholsterer. He attended Harbord Collegiate Institute, and briefly attended University of Western Ontario.
Safer began his journalism career as a reporter for various newspapers in Canada and England. Later, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a correspondent and producer.
In 1964, Safer joined CBS News as a London-based correspondent. In 1965, he opened the CBS News bureau in Saigon. That year he followed a group of United States Marines to the village of Cam Ne, for what was described as a "search and destroy" mission. When the Marines arrived, they gave orders in English to the inhabitants—by all accounts harmless civilians—to evacuate the village. When the homes were cleared, the Marines burned their thatched roofs with flamethrowers and Zippo lighters. Safer's report on this event was broadcast on CBS News on August 5, 1965 and was among the first reports to paint a bleak picture of the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Baines Johnson reacted to this report angrily, calling CBS's president and accusing Safer and his colleagues of having "shat on the American flag." Certain that Safer was a communist, Johnson also ordered a security check; upon being told that Safer "wasn't a communist, just a Canadian," he responded "Well, I knew he wasn't an American."
In 1967, Safer was named the London bureau chief, a post he held for three years. In 1970, he left London to replace Harry Reasoner on 60 Minutes, after Reasoner left to anchor the ABC Evening News (although Reasoner would return to 60 Minutes in 1978, alongside Safer). Safer has been on the program since that time.
Safer is also the author of the bestselling book, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam.
Safer is referenced in The Golden Girls episode "Long Day's Journey Into Marinara" (1987) and "The Actor".
NOTE: Bio updated on June 14, 2011
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