Watergate reporter slams the GOP as the ‘party of sedition’

Watergate reporter slams the GOP as the ‘party of sedition’
Carl Bernstein

During a recent appearance on the Daily Beast’s podcast, “The New Abnormal,” veteran journalist Carl Bernstein discussed his new book, “Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom” — which looks back on the beginning of his journalism career. Bernstein, speaking to co-host Molly Jong-Fast, also shared his thoughts on the state of journalism in 2022, the modern Republican Party and Fox News’ popularity with its viewers.

Bernstein, now 77, became famous in the 1970s for his reporting on Watergate with his Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward. The duo’s Watergate reporting was so famous that in 1976, it was depicted in the Hollywood film “All the President’s Men” (starring Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein and Robert Redford as Woodward). But Bernstein had a career in journalism before Watergate, and in “Chasing History,” he remembers being hired by the Washington Star when he was only 16 back in 1960.

Speaking to Jong-Fast, Bernstein complained that today’s reporters aren’t outgoing enough.

“People don’t answer their telephones anymore,” Bernstein told Jong-Fast. “It’s not about doing most of the reporting on the telephone. It’s about getting out of the office and talking to people and listening to them. You know, a good part of being a reporter, supposedly and ideally, is listening to people give you information. Most people will actually try to tell you their truth, whatever it is…. You’re not going to do that sitting in an office, an antiseptic office where you don’t even have the ability to use a telephone. It’s an insane notion of news…. It’s about laziness, it’s about not caring…. It’s an awful situation.”

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In “All the President’s Man,” Hoffman and Redford depicted the Bernstein/Woodward duo as very outgoing and persistent in their Watergate reporting — knocking on a lot of doors and getting some of them slammed in their faces.

Bernstein told Jong-Fast that Fox News is popular with its viewers because it “reinforces what they already believe.”

Journalism has changed a lot since the1960s and 1970s, Bernstein stressed to Jong-Fast — and so has the Republican Party, which he now describes as being a “party of sedition.” But Bernstein doesn’t have that view of the 1970s-era GOP.

Bernstein noted that Nixon’s decision to step down as president in August 1974 was, in part, inspired by the pressure he was getting from fellow Republicans. One of them was arch-conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater, who wasn’t shy about saying that Nixon was hurting his party.

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Bernstein told Jong-Fast, “The difference between the time of Watergate and now indeed is the Republican Party. Nixon was forced from office because Republicans joined Democrats…. Courageous Republicans voted for articles of impeachment, and Nixon knew that he was going to be impeached by the House. The question was whether he would be convicted by the Senate.”

When Goldwater made it clear to Nixon that he would be voting “guilty” in an impeachment trial, Bernstein noted, Nixon “knew that he would have to resign…. Compare that to the Republican Party of today, which has become a party of sedition.”

Bernstein told Jong-Fast that he received a first-class education in journalism when the Washington Star hired him 62 years ago.

“When I went to work at the Star in 1960,” he recalled, “we had three Pulitzer winners…. We had these incredible reporters.”

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