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Bob Woodward

  • American journalist
  • Born March 26, 1943

Robert Upshur Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is an American investigative journalist. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor.While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Woodward teamed up with Carl Bernstein; the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. The work of Woodward and Bernstein was called "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time" by longtime journalism figure Gene Roberts.Woodward continued to work for The Washington Post after his reporting on Watergate.


I have gone on the air and announced my telephone number at the Washington Post. I go into the night, talking to people, looking for things. The great dreaded thing every reporter lives with is what you don't know. The source you didn't go to. The phone call you didn't return.




After Nixon resigned in 1974, he engaged in a very aggressive war with history, attempting to wipe out the Watergate stain and memory. Happily, history won, largely because of Nixon's tapes.




The source known as Deep Throat provided a kind of road map through the scandal. His one consistent message was that the Watergate burglary was just the tip of the iceberg.




Deep Throat did serve the public interest by providing the guidance and information to us.




Deep Throat's information, and in my view, courage, allowed the newspaper to use what he knew and suspected.




Watergate provides a model case study of the interaction and powers of each of the branches of government. It also is a morality play with a sad and dramatic ending.




There are people who take rumors and embellish them in a way that can be devastating. And this pollution has to be eradicated by people in our business as best we can.




I think people are smart enough to sort it out. They know when they're watching one of these food fight shows where journalists sit around and yell and scream at each other, versus serious issue reporting.




The cloud of doubt that surrounds political figures tends to remain and never dissipate or be clarified.




It was accountability that Nixon feared.




I deal with first-hand sources. And give the people, even John Sununu, the opportunity to respond to what I've been told by first-hand sources.




Nixon had some large achievements in foreign affairs. They will be remembered. But a president probably gets remembered for one thing, and Watergate will head the Nixon list, I suspect.




Certain political figures think when you call them and ask them for a comment; that you are somehow doing something that you shouldn't be doing.




The central dilemma in journalism is that you don't know what you don't know.




The legislator learns that when you talk a lot, you get in trouble. You have to listen a lot to make deals.




There is a garbage culture out there, where we pour garbage on people. Then the pollsters run around and take a poll and say, do you smell anything?




I'm not going to name some of my colleagues who are very well-known for their television presentation, but they wouldn't know new information or how to report a story if it came up and bit them.




There may yet be another Watergate book. I have thought a book about the aftermath of Watergate and its impact could be done, perhaps by me or someone else.




Because of Watergate in part, I am kind of a magnet for calls and information and suggestions.




I believe Watergate shows that the system did work. Particularly the Judiciary and the Congress, and ultimately an independent prosecutor working in the Executive Branch.




I think that everyone is kind of confused about the information they get from the media and rightly so. I'm confused about the information I get from the media.




We're not going to have another Watergate in our lifetime. I'm sure.




Lawyers didn't seriously get involved in the Watergate stories until quite late, when we realized we were on to something.




We need to police ourselves in the media.




I believe there's too little patience and context to many of the investigations I read or see on television.




Watergate is an immensely complicated scandal with a cast of characters as varied as a Tolstoy novel.




Newspapers that are truly independent, like The Washington Post, can still aggressively investigate anyone or anything with no holds barred.




People like to pigeonhole and say, Well, I'm a Washington insider, and you know, that's quite silly. What does that even mean?




Nixon's grand mistake was his failure to understand that Americans are forgiving, and if he had admitted error early and apologized to the country, he would have escaped.




When you practice reporting for as long as I have, you keep yourself at a distance from True Believers. Either conservatives or liberals or Democrats or Republicans.




I think journalism gets measured by the quality of information it presents, not the drama or the pyrotechnics associated with us.




The failure of the system to deal quickly was attributable to Nixon's lying, stonewalling and refusal to come clean. So it took 26 months for the final truth to be known.




Using these unnamed sources, if done properly, carefully and fairly, provides more accountability in government.




I recently did the David Letterman Show about my book. He was very serious and made no jokes and it caught me off guard a little bit. He was much more serious than some of the joke shows that journalists get on.




It would seem that the Watergate story from beginning to end could be used as a primer on the American political system.




Suppose Watergate had not been uncovered? I'd still be on the City Desk.



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