PRINCETON, N.J. — Kenneth H. Bacon, a former Wall Street Journal reporter then chief Pentagon spokesman during the Clinton years, died Saturday of cancer at 64 at his home on Long Block Island, R.I. He was president of Refugees International, an advocacy group for those displaced by war.
Mr. Bacon was a Newspaper Fund reporting intern in The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau while a student at Amherst College where his father was dean. An obituary in the Journal said scored a page-story about an automated car repair system. he earned graduate degrees in business and journalism simultaneously from Columbia University. His grandfather was a high-level Dow Jones executive who had a signifcant impact on transforming the newspaper. He worked for the Journal for decades starting in the 1970s before being appointed at the Pentagon in 1994.
He was Pentagon spokesman under Clinton Administration secretaries of defense William J. Perry and William S. Cohen. He joined Refugees International in 2001 influenced by the plight of Yugoslav refugees during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.
He was quoted in the Kyodo News: “I thought to myself, ‘This really shows what the world can do when it focuses on a refugee issue — it cannot only take care of the refugees, it can end the problem that created the refugees in the first place.'”
Mr. Bacon was one of the first to advocate for reguees in Darfur. He focused attention in Iraq and Pakistan, testifying in June before a House Committee. Shortly before his death Refugees International announced he had endowed a new program to focus on refugees displaced by climate change.