Submitted by ub on Wed, 05/17/2023 - 20:01

May 50 years ago the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee held hearings into Nixon’s bungled break-in at the Democratic Headquarters. 

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein is the investigative journalism team of former Washington Post Watergate reporters. Five decades later the dynamic duo opine on the great political liars and how they tried to destroy American democracy.

Woodward: In eight hours, in 20 interviews, [Trump] mentions the American people once. A hundred times he mentions himself. This is the connective tissue between Nixon and Trump. Nixon won reelection, he’s at the top of the mountain and this later came out in a tape recording he had. He’s in the oval office with his aides, it’s December 1972, and he says to his top aides, “Remember, we’re going to be around and outlive our enemies. And also never forget the press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard a hundred times and never forget it.” Now, who else talks like this? Not just Richard Nixon but Donald Trump.

And then they addressed some of the challenges facing journalism today…

Bernstein: It’s hard to generalize [but] I think we know a great story – whether it’s about New York City or your community – is the result of putting in the time. But I think there’s a myth that one, so-called “investigative reporting” is on the decline or has been on the decline. I don’t buy it. I think maybe where that time is not available is in the hectic newsrooms and the idea that you have to keep producing and producing and producing for that next little wrinkle without the advantage of the time that Bob and I were talking about. But something else is happening. 

Woodward: You also have … the impatience and speed of the internet. “Give it to me in a sentence.” “Simplify.” And I think lots of us have thought, well, that’s a barrier to serious long-term work. It is not. 

Bernstein: Even with the death of newspaper organizations, there are nonprofit news organizations in this country and abroad that are doing fabulous reporting. Bob and I were just in Austin, Texas, and there’s a news operation there called the Texas Tribune. It’s non-profit and [they’re working to] set this up systematically in every state. But [there are] great stories all over the world, not just in this country, that are being produced by teams of reporters and by collaborations…