About Robert Upshur Woodward
Robert Upshur "Bob" Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post.
While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Woodward was teamed up with Carl Bernstein; the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, has called the work of Woodward and Bernstein "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time."
Woodward continued to work for The Washington Post after his reporting on Watergate. He has since written over a dozen books on American politics, most of which have topped bestsellers lists.
Early life and career
Woodward was born to Jane (née Upshur) and Alfred Woodward in Geneva, Illinois. He was a resident of Wheaton, Illinois. He enrolled in Yale University with an NROTC scholarship, and studied history and English literature. While at Yale, Woodward joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He received his B.A. degree in 1965, and began a five-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. After being discharged as a lieutenant in August, 1970, Woodward considered attending law school but applied for a job as a reporter for The Washington Post, while taking graduate courses at The George Washington University. Harry M. Rosenfeld, the Post's metropolitan editor, gave him a two-week trial but did not hire him because of his lack of journalistic experience. After a year at the Montgomery Sentinel, a weekly newspaper in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, Woodward was hired as a Post reporter in September, 1971.
Woodward has authored or coauthored 16 non-fiction books in the last 35 years. All 16 have been national bestsellers and 12 of them have been #1 national non-fiction bestsellers – more #1 national non-fiction bestsellers than any contemporary author. He has written multiple #1 national non-fiction bestsellers on a wide range of subjects in each of the four decades he has been active as an author, from 1974 to 2009.
In his 1995 memoir A Good Life, former executive editor of the Post Ben Bradlee singled out Woodward in the foreword. "It would be hard to overestimate the contributions to my newspaper and to my time as editor of that extraordinary reporter, Bob Woodward – surely the best of his generation at investigative reporting, the best I've ever seen. ... And Woodward has maintained the same position on top of journalism's ladder ever since Watergate."
David Gergen, who had worked in the White House during the Richard Nixon and three subsequent administrations said in his 2000 memoir Eyewitness to Power, of Woodward's reporting, "I don't accept everything he writes as gospel – he can get details wrong – but generally, his accounts in both his books and in the Post are remarkably reliable and demand serious attention. I am convinced he writes only what he believes to be true or has been reliably told to be true. And he is certainly a force for keeping the government honest."
Career recognition and awards
Woodward made crucial contributions to two Pulitzer Prizes won by The Washington Post. First he and Bernstein were the lead reporters on Watergate and the Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.
Woodward also was the main reporter for the Post's coverage of the September 11 attacks in 2001. Ten stories won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting – "six carrying the familiar byline of Bob Woodward," noted the New York Times article announcing the awards.
He has been a recipient of nearly every other major American journalism award, including the Heywood Broun award (1972), Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting (1972 and 1986), Sigma Delta Chi Award (1973), George Polk Award (1972), William Allen White Medal (2000), and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on the Presidency (2002).
Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard called Woodward "the best pure reporter of his generation, perhaps ever." In 2003, Albert Hunt of The Wall Street Journal called Woodward "the most celebrated journalist of our age." In 2004, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time."
Main article: Watergate scandal
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were assigned to report on the June 17, 1972 burglary of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in a Washington, D.C. office building called Watergate. Their work, under editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, became known for being the first to report on a number of political "dirty tricks" used by the Nixon re-election committee during his campaign for reelection. Their book about the scandal, All the President's Men, became a #1 best-seller and was later turned into a movie. The 1976 film, starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein, transformed the reporters into celebrities and inspired a wave of interest in investigative journalism.
The book and movie also led to one of Washington, D.C.'s most famous mysteries: the identity of Woodward's secret Watergate informant known as Deep Throat, a reference to the title of a popular pornographic movie at the time. Woodward said he would protect Deep Throat's identity until the man died or allowed his name to be revealed. For over 30 years, only Woodward, Bernstein, and a handful of others knew the informant's identity until it was claimed by his family to Vanity Fair magazine to be former Federal Bureau of Investigation Associate Director W. Mark Felt in May 2005. Woodward has confirmed this claim and published a book, titled The Secret Man, which detailed his relationship with Felt.
Woodward and Bernstein followed up with a second successful book on Watergate, entitled The Final Days (Simon and Schuster 1976), covering in extensive depth the period from November 1973 until President Nixon resigned in August 1974.
The Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
George W. Bush administration
Woodward spent more time than any other journalist with former President George W. Bush, interviewing him six times for close to eleven hours total. Woodward's four books, Bush at War (2002), Plan of Attack (2004), State of Denial (2006), and The War Within: A Secret White House History (2006–2008) (2008) are detailed accounts of the Bush presidency, including the response to the September 11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In a series of articles published in January 2002, he and Dan Balz described the events at Camp David in the aftermath of September 11 and discussed the Worldwide Attack Matrix.
Woodward believed the Bush Administration's claims of Iraqi WMDs prior to the war. During an appearance on Larry King Live, he was asked by a telephone caller "Suppose we go to war and go into Iraq and there are no weapons of mass destruction," Woodward responded "I think the chance of that happening is about zero. There's just too much there."
On February 1, 2008, as a part of the Authors @ Google series, Woodward, who was interviewed by Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt, said that he had a fourth book in his Bush at War series in the making. He then added jokingly that his wife told him that she would kill him if he decides to write a fifth in the series.
Involvement in the Plame scandal
On November 14, 2005, Woodward gave a two-hour deposition to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. He testified that a senior administration official told him in June 2003 that Iraq war critic Joe Wilson’s wife (later identified as Valerie Plame), worked for the CIA. Woodward appears to have been the first reporter to learn about her employment (albeit not her name) from a government source. The deposition was reported in The Washington Post on November 16, 2005, and was the first time Woodward revealed publicly that he had any special knowledge about the case. Woodward testified the information was given to him in a “casual” and “offhand” manner, and said that he does not believe it was part of any coordinated effort to “out” Plame as a CIA employee. Later, Woodward's source identified himself. It was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy and an internal critic of the Iraq War and the White House inner circle.
Woodward said the revelation came at the end of a long, confidential background interview for his 2004 book Plan of Attack. He did not reveal the official’s disclosure at the time because it did not strike him as important. Later, he kept it to himself because it came as part of a confidential conversation with a source.
In his deposition, Woodward also said that he had conversations with Scooter Libby after the June 2003 conversation with his confidential Administration source, and testified that it is possible that he might have asked Libby further questions about Joe Wilson’s wife before her employment at the CIA and her identity were publicly known.
Woodward apologized to Leonard Downie, Jr., the editor of The Washington Post for not informing him earlier of the June 2003 conversation. Downie accepted the apology and said even had the paper known it would not have changed its reporting.
New York University Professor Jay Rosen severely criticized Woodward for allegedly being co-opted by the Bush White House and also for not telling the truth about his role in the Plame affair, writing: "Not only is Woodward not in the hunt, but he is slowly turning into the hunted. Part of what remains to be uncovered is how Woodward was played by the Bush team, and what they thought they were doing by leaking to him, as well as what he did with the dubious information he got."
Other professional activities
Woodward has continued to write books and report stories for The Washington Post, and serves as an associate editor at the paper. He focuses on the presidency, intelligence, and Washington institutions such as the U.S. Supreme Court, The Pentagon, and the Federal Reserve. He also wrote the book Wired, about the Hollywood drug culture and the death of comic John Belushi.
Bob Woodward regularly gives speeches to industry lobbying groups, such as the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Woodward commands speaking fees "rang[ing] from $15,000 to $60,000" and donates them to his personal foundation, the Woodward Walsh Foundation, which donates to charities including Sidwell Friends School. Washington Post policy prohibits "speaking engagements without permission from department heads" but Woodward insists that the policy is "fuzzy and ambiguous".
Woodward now lives in the Georgetown section of Washington. He is married to Elsa Walsh, a writer for The New Yorker and the author of Divided Lives: The Public and Private Struggles of Three American Women. He has two daughters.
Woodward still maintains a listed number in the Washington, D.C. phone directory. He says this is because he wants any potential news source to be able to reach him.