David Horowitz
David Horowitz (consumer advocate).jpg
Born
David Charles Horowitz[1]

(1937-06-30)June 30, 1937
DiedFebruary 14, 2019(2019-02-14) (aged 81)
OccupationConsumer advocate
Spouse(s)Judith Rosenthal (m. 1964; div. 1969)
Suzanne McCambridge (1973–2019, his death)

David Charles Horowitz (June 30, 1937 – February 14, 2019) was an American consumer reporter and journalist for KNBC in Los Angeles, whose Emmy-winning TV program Fight Back! would warn viewers about defective products, test advertised claims to see if they were true, and confront corporations about customer complaints.[2] He was on the boards of directors of the National Broadcast Editorial Conference, City of Hope, and the American Cancer Society,[3] and he served on the advisory boards of the FCC and the Los Angeles District Attorney.

Horowitz has been described as a consumer advocate; he personally shunned the description, noting that he always tried to maintain an objective point of view toward both the consumer and the businesses he profiled.[4]

Early life

David Horowitz attended Bradley University, where he became a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi,[5] and graduated with high honors in 1959.[6] Horowitz earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1961,[7] then worked at newspapers and TV stations in the Midwest, including KRNT-TV (now KCCI) in Des Moines, Iowa.[1][4] He was a writer for The Huntley–Brinkley Report.

Television career

Horowitz opened the first news bureau for NBC News during the Vietnam War.

In early 1973, Horowitz was offered a chance to develop a consumer-awareness news segment for KNBC, NBC's flagship Los Angeles station. He nearly turned it down because they had offered it to six other people before him.[8] Nevertheless, the segment on KNBC Newservice was successful, and Horowitz gained a reputation through the 1970s as a consumer reporter and advocate. He began the weekly consumer advocate program Fight Back! with David Horowitz in 1976, and he made appearances on NBC programs including regular appearances on the Today program and on America Alive! in 1978.[9]

Horowitz made a guest appearance on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in 1989. He also appeared as himself on an episode of Silver Spoons, ALF, The Golden Girls, The Munsters Today, and Saved by the Bell. Horowitz was also a regular guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (which also occasionally parodied him as "David Howitzer").

Horowitz left KNBC in 1992 and joined KCBS-TV the following year where he resumed his Fight Back! segments for Channel 2 Action News.[9]

Hostage situation

On August 19, 1987, during the 4 p.m. edition of KNBC's Channel 4 News, a gun-wielding man named Gary Stollman got into NBC's Burbank Studios as a guest of an employee, and took Horowitz hostage live on the air. With the gun pressed on his side, Horowitz calmly read the gunman's statements on camera but unbeknownst to the gunman, the news feed had been taken off the air. The unidentified man revealed at the end of his statement that the gun was an empty BB gun and set the gun down on the news desk, at which point anchorman John Beard quickly confiscated it. The incident led Horowitz to start a campaign to ban realistic toy guns.[10]

Controversies

In 1998, Horowitz joined a political campaign to urge voters to defeat a California ballot initiative calling for a 20% cut in electricity rates for private utility customers and ending surcharges on ratepayers to pay for nuclear power plants. Horowitz later admitted he was paid $106,000 by the campaign.[11]

Quote

"Stay aware and informed, Fight Back, and don't let anyone rip you off!"[12]

Death

Horowitz died on February 14, 2019, from complications due to dementia. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren.[13][14] David Horowitz's daughter Amanda Horowitz owns and has continued work under the Fight Back! brand.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b "Eight newsmen receive CBS Foundation fellowships" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 16, 1962. p. 78.
  2. ^ Ahmed, Shahan. "David Horowitz, Legendary Consumer Journalist, Dies at 81". NBC Southern California.
  3. ^ "David Horowitz". IMDb.
  4. ^ a b McDougal, Dennis (June 5, 1988). "David Horowitz: The Consummate Consumerist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Notable Alumni". Alpha Epsilon Pi. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Helping consumers, helping Bradley". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. ^ Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill ) (February 19, 1961). "Annual commencement / Northwestern University". Evanston, Ill. : The University – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ Benet, Lorenzo (1987-02-19). "Life is One Long Mass of Fine Print for Consumer Advocate Horowitz". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
  9. ^ a b "'Fight Back!' consumer reporter David Horowitz dies". AP. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2021-08-06.
  10. ^ Carter, Gregg Lee (2012). "Toy Guns". Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law, Volume 3 (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 832. ISBN 978-0-313-38670-1.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1998-10-28). "The High Price of Advocacy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
  12. ^ "Fight Back! With David Horowitz – April 1980 (Closing)". May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ KNBC: "David Horowitz, Legendary Consumer Journalist, Dies at 81". Published February 18, 2019; retrieved February 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Hollywood Reporter February 19, 2019: "David Horowitz, TV's 'Fight Back!' Consumer Advocate, Dies at 81"; retrieved February 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "About Us – FIGHT BACK!®".