SAN FRANCISCO – Warren Hinckle, a muckracking journalist who drew the wrath of mayors, police or anyone who got in his way, has died, his daughter said Thursday.
He was 77.
His daughter Pia Hinckle said her father had been in declining health and died of complications from pneumonia early Thursday at a hospital near his home in San Francisco.
Hinckle was a groundbreaking editor for the liberal magazines Ramparts and Scanlan's Monthly in the 1960s and '70s and more recently wrote reliably irreverent columns for newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, the Chronicle reported.
Pia Hinckle said her father had a long career with no regrets. She said he was a character who never looked back and was always looking for the next thing to do.
"He was a total optimist," she said. "Every problem was just an opportunity make a plan, to make a better plan."
He was also an effectively aggressive magazine editor, particularly as the U.S. was turned upside-down in the 1960s, the Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/2biMEJ8)
While executive editor of Ramparts, Hinckle pioneered "radical slick" — publishing early denunciations of the Vietnam War and diaries by such leftist figures as Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver in a mass-marketed magazine.
"His Rampart magazine took on every social issue of the late 60s, early 70s," said longtime friend Ron Turner. "And when that failed, he had Scanlan's, which went right to the throat of Richard Nixon, who called him out on the White House steps. One of Warren's great pleasures was having the last word and he was usually pretty correct in the end."
David Talbot, whose book "Season of the Witch" details the tumultuous history of San Francisco from the 1960s to the early '80s, called him the godfather of California and national progressive journalism.
"As a newsman, he just loved the '60s as a story, with all its weirdness, from the Black Panthers to hippies in the Haight to the Kennedy assassination," Talbot told the Chronicle. "No publication caught it better than Ramparts — it led directly to publications like Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and Salon," the web magazine Talbot co-founded in 1995.
"He was a great showman, too, and he knew that putting out each issue was like putting out a show ... like an album release," Talbot said.
Hinckle's daughter said he loved nothing better than getting a good story.
"And he did believe there was a right side to every story and you should be on it. He was a social justice journalist in many ways," she said.
Services are pending.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com