Ben Bradlee and why we need irregular, annoying and irritating means –

Ben Bradlee and why we need irregular, annoying and irritating means


The famous editor of the Washington Post Ben Bradlee is in a new biography of HBO very similar to the mainstream media: sometimes arrogant, sometimes pleasant, sometimes annoying, sometimes elitist and in the best indispensable moments.

Bradlee, the editor of He wrote later when he was breaking the Watergate story that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, gets a sympathetic image in The Newspaperman: The Life and Times by Ben Bradlee which opens at 8 p. M. ET Monday.

Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein criticized Watergate's story for two long years, taking strong shots along the way. Bradlee challenged them, pushed them and guided them, following all directions, doing exactly what a good editor should do.

Without the determination, protection and faith of Bradlee in his work, it is a good possibility that the story has dissipated at some point along the way.

So give Bradlee a lot of credit, which he felt he deserved. His memoirs of 1994, on which much of this documentary is based, do not suggest that he held much modesty "aw, shucks".

Bradlee was not a disheveled journalist who emerged from a tough and tough childhood with a burning desire to give the little guy a voice in the game.

Bradlee was from the Boston aristocracy. Although his family did not earn money, he went to Harvard and married another venerable family from Mbadachusetts, the Saltonstalls.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he fought for a job in a newspaper. Off in New York, landed in the then dormant Publication before jumping to Newsweek as a correspondent abroad.

He then wrote how that opened his world. Really. He got rid of his wife, with whom he had a son, and married a high-flying high society. He became John F. Kennedy's best friend when the presidency was just a glint in Kennedy's eyes.

He said he fought with the line between friendship and information when it came to Kennedy, and although this documentary does not examine Kennedy's media coverage in detail, it is clear in retrospect that the general press kept a large amount of Kennedy personal secrets

Bradlee, one of Kennedy's closest non-family friends, said he had no idea Kennedy was as good as he was. Whatever.

When the Post offered Bradlee his editorial address a few years later, he grabbed it and by all accounts turned an ordinary newspaper into one that mattered.

Newspaperman persists in the history of Watergate, pointing out how it was combined into small fragments with unclear links. Bradlee helped Woodward and Bernstein to make those pieces fit gradually.

He admitted that the rest of his journalistic life, perhaps inevitably, became a bit anticlimactic. He remained at Post until 1991, but the most shocking stories after Watergate were the infamous tale of Janet Cooke about a young heroin addict and Bradlee's second wife to marry one of her employees, a young Sally Quinn. [19659003] An older Bradlee is asked if he regrets something. He says, oh, maybe he hurt his second wife, but no, he really does not regret anything.

He lived another 23 years after retirement and a photo of him on the beach of the Hamptons, gold that shines under his casually-opened shirt, makes him look like a walking advertisement for Chivas Regal.

Little or nothing in Newspaperman suggests that Ben Bradlee was a man of the people, or that he cared about being one.

But there is much evidence that he recognized and loved a compelling human story, whether the drama was modest or radical, and that he saw good newspapers as a way to the truth.

Rarely, he suggested, that would make newspapers or the larger media popular. It made them essential for democracy, a central thought that is worth remembering in the media landscape quite different from 2017.

The life of Ben Bradlee suggests that sometimes people are better served by those who do not pretend to be one of they.

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