Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Bob Woodward will deliver his thoughts on the future of journalism Wednesday morning at the William Saroyan Theatre.
Woodward’s topic for the 10:30 a.m. San Joaquin Valley Town Hall lecture: “Will Investigative Journalism Survive?”
No one perhaps is better suited to answer that question than the reporter who teamed with Carl Bernstein to uncover the Watergate scandal, which ultimately forced President Richard Nixon to resign from the White House.
Speaking exclusively to GV Wire’s David Taub, Woodward previewed his Town Hall talk.
“I’ll give my view of what’s important and also talk about Watergate. What was Watergate? People think, oh, it was just a burglary. It was not. It was a series, in fact, a massive campaign of sabotage and espionage conducted by the Nixon campaign that was successful in 1972 when Nixon won reelection by a landslide — 49 states he won. And explain what the wars of Watergate are, get into what is the spirit of the times in journalism. And answer people’s questions,” Woodward said.
Woodward will also talk about former President Donald Trump, and the several interviews he conducted that turned into a book, “The Trump Tapes.”
“My wife said to me during that time there were three people in our marriage, her, myself and Donald Trump,” Woodward said.
If breaking the Watergate story didn’t immortalize Woodward, Robert Redford potraying him in “All the Presdient’s Men” did. But, Woodward brushes off the celebrity label.
“I hate that word. I hate that word. I think it doesn’t mean anything,” Woodward said.
Woodward told a story of a letter — on yellow legal paper — Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham sent Woodward and Bernstein after Nixon’s resignation.
“I don’t want you to start thinking too highly of yourselves, and I’m going to give you some advice. And the advice is beware the demon pomposity. Beware the demon pomposity. Such good advice for journalists, for politicians, for people in Hollywood, people on Wall Street. Pomposity stalks the halls of our institutions in this country. And I think it gets in the way of understanding,” Woodward said.
Woodward, once the lowest paid journlist at the Post, said he eventually got a raise after Watergate.
Still Reporting 50 Years After Watergate
Nearly 50 years later, Woodward remains America’s top investigative reporter and chronicler of U.S. presidents.
He “may be the best reporter of all time,” says Bob Schieffer of CBS News.
Woodward teamed with reporter Robert Costa on the book “Peril,” which examined the transition from President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden. That book culminated Woodward’s trilogy on the Trump presidency, which also included “Fear” and “Rage.”
Fear sold more than 1 million copies in a week, and Rage sold 600,000 copies the week of its release.
Woodward originally was scheduled to speak in October, but the event was delayed to Wednesday.
Academy Award-winning actress and advocate for deaf and hard-of-hearing people Marlee Matlin will wrap up the 2022-23 Town Hall season on April 19.
About San Joaquin Valley Town Hall
The nonprofit organization is managed and maintained by an all-volunteer, 25-member board of directors.
Its mission is to bring nationally and internationally renowned, thought-provoking speakers who inform, educate, and entertain Fresno audiences.
GV Wire is a co-sponsor of the lecture series.