The Corner

Woodward & Bradlee, Etc.

I sometimes lecture on “journalism,” and much of that talk consists of excerpts from All the President’s Men by Woodward and Bernstein. In that book, they admit to a wide range of unethical and illegal behavior, from tampering with a grand jury to illegally obtaining and using private telephone records (a kind of private Patiot Act for the “Post”). Then I read from a section (pp. 184-192) in which they discuss an unhappy event. They had written that grand jury testimony had fingered Haldeman as a conspirator in “Watergate”. Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s press secretary, had violently denied it. Woodstein went back to their sources, and concluded they had been deceived. The story was wrong. Then (pg 192): “The reporters said (to Bradlee, their editor) they were virtually certain that Sloan must not have given testimony about Haldeman before the grand jury. Woodward suggested writing that much, at least, and acknowledging their error.”

No way, said Bradlee…”Bradlee then turned to his typewriter…after a number of false starts, he issued the following statement: “We stand by our story.”

And there’s a footnote: “He was later to recall: ‘I issued two statement in that one year…Geez, what options did I really have? …I can remember sitting down at the typewriter and writing about thirty statements and then sort of saying, “F**k it, let’s go stand by our boys.” ‘ “

Which is why I have no heroes in this saga…

Michael LedeenMichael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...


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