What’s going on inside the White House has always been a subject of great fascination to Americans, but the Trump Administration has raised that interest to an unusual level.
The situation, which former President Obama recently said “sure isn’t normal,” has recently been highlighted by the publication of an anonymous New York Times op-ed, wherein a “a senior official in the Trump administration” paints a picture of a secret coordinated effort to thwart the president, and by the buzzy publication on Tuesday of Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House. The book — an account of chaos and mayhem within the Trump administration — has already made headlines.
Woodward, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, knows a little something about reporting on a peculiar White House.
Now an associate editor at the Washington Post, Woodward is still best known for the fact that beginning in 1972 he and fellow journalist Carl Bernstein published a series of articles revealing salient details about the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s role therein. Coming only one year into Woodward’s tenure at the Post, Woodward’s reporting on Watergate was marked by its use of anonymous or “deep background” sources such as “Deep Throat.” The same style of reporting is used in Fear.
Woodward and Bernstein’s work on the Watergate scandal has been called “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time” by Gene Roberts, a former managing editor of The New York Times.
It’s the work that brought down a presidency and launched a thousand reporting careers. With clipped prose, Woodward and Bernstein, then cub reporters at the Washington Post, recount the events that untangled the vast conspiracy behind the Watergate burglary, from a Saturday morning phone call to the shadowy Deep Throat to the scoop that spurred the downfall of a President. Published in 1974, it remains a testament to the power of shoe-leather reporting — and is perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.
All the President’s Men, published in 1974 just before Nixon resigned from the presidency, was made into a film in 1976. The movie starred Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein, respectively.
On Monday, in his first live interview to promote Fear, Woodward said on NBC’s Today that he sees President Trump is a threat to the country. “The things — some of the things — that Trump did and does jeopardizes the real national security,” he told host Savannah Guthrie.
Woodward’s attention adds one more item to any list of possible parallels between the Nixon presidency and the Trump presidency — but it has also added a source of difference. Though Fear was released on Tuesday, it has already been dismissed by President Trump.
The Woodward book is a scam. I don’t talk the way I am quoted. If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up. The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle. I wish the people could see the real facts - and our country is doing GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2018
Meanwhile, when Woodward and Bernstein were awarded the Pulitzer in 1973, TIME reported that the White House had a very different response to the duo’s then-ongoing reporting on Watergate scandal.
“Last week they reported that as early as last December aides had warned President Nixon of a White House cover-up of the Watergate case,” the TIME article says. “The Administration had no comment on the story — and no denunciation of the Post.”