Long after Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein make news
NEW YORK (AP) — More than 40 years after they became the world’s most famous journalism duo, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are still making news.
Bernstein was among three CNN reporters who last week broke the story of former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s allegation that Trump knew in advance of the June 2016 meeting between representatives of his presidential campaign and Russian officials. On Tuesday, Woodward’s upcoming “Fear: Inside the Trump White House” was No. 1 on Amazon.com, within a day of its announcement.
The former Washington Post colleagues known for their Watergate coverage speak regularly, they say, comparing notes on the Trump era.
“He’s a news junkie, and I’m a news junkie,” Woodward, 75, explained Tuesday during a telephone interview, adding that he includes a tribute to Bernstein in his new book’s acknowledgements.
“We keep each other posted pretty well,” Bernstein, 74, said during a separate phone interview. “Obviously, we do different things. But we also have a lifetime of understanding each other and looking at news together.”
Woodward, an associate editor at the Post, is among the most successful nonfiction authors of his time, with a long series of best-selling accounts of sitting presidents from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. A new Woodward book even became a political tradition — coming out in the fall of an election year.
But after the 2012 release “The Price of Politics,” Woodward stepped away from the present, publishing no works on Obama’s second term, and instead focused on Watergate-era news. “The Last of the President’s Men,” his work on White House aide Alexander Butterfield, the man who revealed Nixon’s taping system, came out in 2015.
A Trump book was an easy choice for Woodward, who calls his rise a “pivot point” in American history. According to his publisher, Simon & Schuster, Woodward will show the “harrowing life” of the Trump White House and the president’s decision-making process as he draws upon “hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, contemporaneous meeting notes, files, documents and personal diaries.”
The book’s title draws upon an interview Woodward and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa had with Trump that was published in April 2016. Costa had noted that Obama defined power as “you can get what you want without having to exert violence.” Trump had a different interpretation.
His answer was, Woodward says, checking his notes, “Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word: ‘Fear.’”
Bernstein is a political commentator for CNN whose books include “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton” and the two Nixon-era classics he wrote with Woodward, “All the President’s Men” and “The Final Days.” He is currently working on a memoir about his early years of journalism, when he was starting out at the now-defunct Washington Star.
“My time at the Star was a great learning experience, and then there was the Post and Watergate. Those two experiences inform pretty much everything I do,” Bernstein said.
“Imagine,” he added, referring to himself and Woodward, “here we are, 74 and 75 years old, and we still get to do this.”