A television reporter whose reporting on racial progress ended the career of CBS sports commentator Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder has died. The New York Times reports that Edward Hotaling died of a heart attack.
Hotaling had lived in a nursing home since he suffered serious injuries in a 2007 car accident.
Hotaling was working for NBC affiliate WRC-TV in Washington when he interviewed Snyder for a report marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., asking the sports commentator to give his thoughts on racial progress in professional sports.
Snyder replied that he believed blacks were better athletes than whites because their slave ancestors were "bred to be that way." His comments led to his firing by CBS. Snyder died in 1996.
Hotaling said later that while he was appalled by Snyder’s remarks, he didn’t agree with his firing, the story notes.
One story he reported with historic importance was about the building of the White House and the Capitol for a news feature in 2000. He found hundreds of monthly pay stubs in Treasury Department archives for the work of slave laborers on both buildings. Their owners received $5 a month for their work, the story notes.
"Many historians considered the discovery routine, since it confirmed a presumptive truth about life in the capital before slavery was abolished in 1865,” the piece reports. “But the report was news to many of Mr. Hotaling’s viewers, including several members of Congress. Representatives John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and longtime civil right advocate, and J. C. Watts, an Oklahoma Republican, went on to establish a task force in 2002 to come up with ways to commemorate the slave builders."