The Role Of The Press In Watergate: "The Washington Post Played A Key Role In Informing The Public On Watergate, The Most Infamous Of Our Nation's Scandals..."

931 words - 4 pages

The Washington Post played a key role in informing the public on Watergate, the most infamous of our nation's scandals. Despite backlash from people in high places, the Post would not concede defeat. Two reporters in particular stood out for their excellence in investigative journalism. Bob Woodward, along with his colleague, Carl Bernstein, began an investigation into the burglary of the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. Bob Woodward, a Yale Alumnus, grew up in conventional Wheaton, Illinois. After graduation, he served on an aircraft carrier, and eventually worked in communications at the Pentagon. In 1970 Woodward started working as a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel, in Maryland; he was hired by the Washington Post the following year. Carl Bernstein grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. His career in journalism began modestly as a copyboy for the Washington Star after high school. During the 1960's, Bernstein climbed the corporate ladder up to being reporter, beginning work for the Washington Post in 1966.In 1971, the Pentagon Papers were published and released to the public. These were secret Defense Department documents on American involvement in the Vietnam War. They were leaked to the New York Times by Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, an official in the Defense Department. Nixon challenged the publication of the documents in the Supreme Court, but lost when the court ruled 6-3 in favor of publication. The damning documents first ran in the New York Times, then in the Washington Post. In the same year, a secret and illegal White House Special Investigations Unit was established, known as the "Plumbers". This covert unit was named for their instructions from the president to "plug leaks" in the administration. One infamous order of business was the raiding of the psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.The Post's executive editor Ben Bradlee, assigned Woodward to the story involving the break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate complex in June of 1972. Bernstein was also working on the story at the time, along with six other reporters. Bit by bit, the two would come to be known as "Woodstein". With the assistance of Editor Barry Sussman, they linked the five men who were caught bugging the Watergate complex with the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP). The Nixon administration nonetheless denied any connection with the burglary on the Democratic headquarters. Sources were scarce and reluctant to talk and Editor Ben Bradlee insisted that information be authentic and verified. This led Woodward and Bernstein to utilize alternative methods, the most famous being a certain anonymous source. This source's alias was "Deep Throat", as his true identity was intentionally kept from the public. Woodward's...

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