The Pan Am Podcast

Episode 36: Sam Donaldson, Legendary Newsman

March 03, 2023 Pan Am Museum Foundation Season 2 Episode 36
The Pan Am Podcast
Episode 36: Sam Donaldson, Legendary Newsman
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Show Notes

In this episode we are joined by legendary journalist Sam Donaldson where we will talking about traveling  with Pan Am on assignment, covering presidents as White House correspondent, tracking down a Nazi war criminal, deregulation of the airlines, and everything in between.

He is best known for his distinguished 52 year career at ABC News, where he covered stories and conducted investigations of national and international interest. In 1977, he was assigned the coveted White House Correspondent assignment for ABC News, a post he would hold for the duration of the Carter and Reagan administrations. He would later return as ABC’s White House Correspondent for much of the Clinton Administration in the 1990s.

This episode is an indirect follow up to Episode 21: White House Press Charters and Flying with Air Force One where we explored Pan Am’s historic supporting role with presidential travel. In that episode we were joined by Dwight Chapin, a trusted aide to President Richard M. Nixon and Pan Am veterans: flight attendant Claire Graham and Captain John Marshall.

Sam Donaldson was a frequent passenger on Pan Am’s White House Press Charters during the Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations.

In 1994, his Primetime Live segment on Erich Priebke, a former Nazi SS officer, set off a chain of events that ended with Priebke being arrested and convicted for war crimes and given a life sentence in prison. Remarkably, Priebke was living in Argentina out in the open for many years and admitted to most of his crimes on camera during Sam’s interview.

To learn more about this incredible interview that includes interviews with Sam Donaldson, ABC News producer Harry Phillips, and researcher Dalia Herbst, watch this segment of the television program Nazi Hunters.

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A very special thanks to Mr. Adam Aron, Chairman and CEO of AMC and president of the Pan Am Historical Foundation and Pan Am Brands for their continued and unwavering support!