People Essay, Research Paper
In Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s All The President’s Men, the truth is uncovered at any cost. The theme of the story is the length that the investigative reporters will go to discover truth and help to shed light on it. The first amendment protects the freedom of speech and the press. It is the job of investigators to protect this right and defend it to the best of their abilities. These two men risked their lives and careers for something they strongly believed in. They went above and beyond the call of duty to seek the facts and establish a well-based truth. Did they over step their bounds? Some would agree that these men pushed their limits and created more harm than good. Even though they may have gone too far, they revealed a truth that changed our nation. Through Woodward and Bernstein’s tactics, their strong wills and their role in uncovering a significant truth, they show how investigative reporters are truly the “watch dogs” of freedom.
Although, often investigative reporters can come across as pushy and rude, their job is to recognize the truth and to reveal it in any way possible. These two men acted on their gut feelings and used any tactic to prove to the nation there was a government conspiracy. Did they carry their tactics too far? When either one had a lead, he went for it at any cost. Some would have argued that their tactics were immoral and unconstitutional. Is it not the job of an investigative reporter to investigate and clear up any untruths? I believe that there are those investigators who go too far and assume too much freedom. However, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward clearly did not over step any legal bounds, but simply took their job seriously. One tactic Bob Woodward used was to play on women’s emotions. He interviewed a woman who worked as a bookkeeper for Nixon’s reelection campaign. He knew that she was not willingly to divulge any information, so he played on her emotions by keeping her calm and comfortable. Some would consider that wrong, but he needed her information to continue his story. Bernstein even went so far as to date a girl to obtain more information from her. When Bernstein needed to talk with the mayor of Miami, he tricked the receptionist and slid by her. Even phone conversations worked to their advantage. Tension and stress in voices revealed unspoken evidence. Their conversations with such people as Segretti and Sloan often did not go very well. They learned to promise not to reveal any sources to gain confirmation. Woodward was clever in playing on words to trick sources into giving necessary information. Each one portrayed a nice, down-to-earth man to their sources. However, they quickly adjusted to different personalities in order to gain new information. Bernstein and Woodward were both very clever and persuasive and went beyond superficial. Protecting the freedom of speech and the press, drove them to remain strong in their convictions. Their tactics allowed them to fit all of the pieces of the Watergate scandal into the puzzle. They were good at their job and that is how they succeeded in breaking one of the most controversial scandals in the nation’s history.
Likewise, their strong wills allowed them to never give up, even when everyone was against them. They were in a sticky situation. Should they dig deeper, afraid of what they might find or should they succumb to the pressures and quit the investigation? This was the big break that both Bernstein and Woodward needed. Although, it might cost them their jobs, they persisted and eventually revealed who was behind the Watergate scandal. When the Watergate burglary happened, Woodward immediately jumped up at the opportunity to write about it. He learned of the five Cubans who had burglarized Watergate and wanted the chance to break the story. His boss told him, “This could be a strong story, or just some crazy Cubans.” Woodward did not get discouraged, but continued to persevere. He knew in his heart that there was much more to the break in. The investigation took them to a huge White House conspiracy that ultimately led to the President of the United States. They knew that they had entered dangerous territory, and yet, they also knew the importance of revealing the truth to the American people. After presenting their case to their boss, he said it was polished enough and lacked hard evidence. In the beginning of the investigation, only one editor of the Washington Post stood by them. He believed in their investigation and knew the effect it would have on the nation. The FBI and the White House, two of the most powerful government entities, became their enemies. Both tried to discredit their work but failed. Even one of Woodward’s most reliable sources, a man referred to as “Deep Throat,” warned him that his life was in danger. The government had gone to great lengths to stop the truth that would damage its position and Bernstein and Woodward knew this. They took their lives into their own hands to reveal the lies and illegal actions taken by the government to gain power. Their wills and determination drove them to persevere and dig to the heart of the truth about Watergate.
Since their tactics and determination led to the truth behind the Watergate scandal, the way was paved for future investigative reporters. What would an investigative reporter do in Bernstein and Woodward’s case? Most, when challenged by the White House, would stop. However, these two men showed that the government is not always right and the truth can be hidden from the public eye. They did not overlook a single potential suspect. They forced and pressed until they got the information needed to build the story. It is often difficult for people to step forward and reveal what they know. Woodward said, “People trust me.” He never revealed a source without permission and he lived by his word. This story determined the jobs of both investigators. If they were wrong in accusing the White House and it went to print, they would surely have lost their jobs. They set a standard for all investigative reporters to follow: question everything. Bernstein and Woodward believed that a member of Nixon’s staff, H.R. Haldeman, was a conspirator involved in the scandal. Many were skeptical and the Washington Post feared criticism if the hunch was untrue. Only Bernstein and Woodward were not afraid to dig deeper to uncover more, even if it produced frightening truths. To many, the story did not make sense. How could the government be behind something such as this? The public was in a state of denial and half had never even heard of “Watergate.” The odds were against Bernstein and Woodward, yet they did not rely on feelings but on instinct. Their investigation eventually revealed that Nixon himself was behind the scandal. That came as a terrible shock to the nation who trusted Nixon and had elected him to a second term in office. The story also told of Nixon’s dirty tricks and his paranoia of “getting people” before they “got him.” Bernstein and Woodward’s investigation also uncovered the covert operations by Nixon’s reelection campaign and their illegal efforts to get him reelected. They proved that Watergate was not just a story, but a devastating truth that had to be revealed to the American people.
Were Bernstein and Woodward “watch dogs” of freedom? They defied the natural tendency of man to give up in the face of opposition, and broke one of the most difficult cases in the nation’s history. It was their investigation that shed light on the dark side of Nixon’s presidency. They secured the freedom of the American people to have the right of truth. Also, one of their goals was to make sure that freedom of the press, guaranteed in the first amendment, was secured. Their crafty tactics made it possible for them to gain the truth and express it to people. Bernstein and Woodward had strong wills, which was the driving force in the investigation. They did not allow the strong opposition to hinder their persistence. Investigative reporters have a job to do and that is to reveal the illegal use of freedom and to expose it. It is their job to watch and protect the freedom of the people to know the truth and not to be kept in the dark. Woodward and Bernstein did what it took to protect the truth and to make sure it remained the key focus of people’s minds.