Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Kalb Report — Woodward and Bernstein

I’m a little behind on this. This happened last Monday, October 20. I have to say it’s one of the more interesting Kalb Reports that I’ve been to. It reinforced how luck or happenstance or fate can greatly influence events.

The reason that Woodward was on the story in the first place was because it was a Saturday and no one else was around to cover the story. Woodward went to the initial hearing for the burglars and realized it was a big story because the lead burglar said he worked for the CIA. And as Woodward added you don’t see many burglars being arranged in suits.

They both talked about how important Ben Bradlee was to the pursuit of the story. He allowed them to continue covering the story when the national desk editor wanted to take over the story. This was just a day before Bradley died.

In an appreciation piece in the Post on Bradley they related this story about how he and Katharine Graham (the publisher of the Post) backed them up. They also told this story at the Kalb Report:

Bradlee was not above using theater to protect his reporters. When the Nixon reelection committee issued subpoenas for our Watergate notes and those of others at The Post as part of a civil suit, Bradlee and publisher Katharine Graham agreed to declare that she — not her reporters — was the legal owner of all the materials, and that any court action would have to be directed at her personally.

“If the judge wants to send anyone to jail, he’s going to have to send Mrs. Graham,” Bradlee told us with palpable glee. “And, my God, the lady says she’ll go! Then the judge can have that on his conscience. Can’t you see the pictures of her limousine pulling up to the Women’s Detention Center and out gets our gal, going to jail to uphold the First Amendment? That’s a picture that would run in every newspaper in the world.”

In their appreciation piece the two added this about Bradley and their relationship with them:

We were just 30 years old when we wrote “All the President’s Men,” and to say that we were impressionable at that time — to Bradlee and his methodology — would understate the case. But as the years of our association turned to decades, and the friendship and the bond forged by a shared, unique experience became unbreakable, we remained just as wide-eyed and impressionable to his wisdom, to the inimitable truth of his example, and still incredulous at the sheer joy and determination he seemed to bring to his life each day, which, when we first encountered him, had invited disbelief. Over the next 40 years we learned again and again that what we had observed was all true.

At the Kalb Report, they talked about how most of the press corp didn’t believe the stories that the Post were printing about Watergate. The Republican establishment went after them. Putting as much pressure as possible on them, Bradlee and Graham to stop writing all these stories about a third rate burglary.

In the end they stuck to their guns and exposed what Nixon and his administration was doing.

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