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If you like Bob Woodward's story, you might also like:
Tom Clancy,
Sam Donaldson,
David Halberstam,
Nicholas Kristof,
Charles Kuralt,
Colin Powell,
Dan Rather,
Neil Sheehan
and Mike Wallace

Bob Woodward can also be seen and heard in our Podcast Center

Bob Woodward's recommended reading: All the King's Men

Bob Woodward also appears in the videos:
A Leader of Character

Media and Social Responsibility

Related Links:
Bob Woodward
Watergate Papers
Bradlee Remembered

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Bob Woodward Interview (page: 7 / 7)

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  Bob Woodward

What are you most proud of, looking back on your career so far?

Bob Woodward: I don't know whether I feel pride. I think pride is hubris. I think it is an emotion that if you bask in it, it's like hate; it will destroy you. So I don't make those kinds of assessments. I like what I do. I am repeatedly struck by how I have missed part of the story, always. One of the managing editors at the Post, Howard Simons, during Watergate -- this was not on a Watergate story, but I was struggling with a story early in my time at the Post -- and he came by, and he said, "You don't have to understand a man in an afternoon." In other words, you don't have to do it in a day, and you won't achieve understanding of a in an -- slow down, take your time, dig, go back. And no one goes back or slows down or digs enough, particularly me.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

You've said journalism should be called a practice, like law. What did you mean by that?

Bob Woodward: Yes.

I think journalism is a practice, like law, that you keep learning. You are trying to get it right and you never do, and that there must be a sense whenever you get to something and then realize two weeks earlier, two days or two minutes earlier, you didn't know that, and it's critical that no matter what you do, you are never going to have the full story. So you are dealing a glancing blow to what's out there. You want to deal a careful glancing blow. You want to spend time on it. You want to make sense out of it. You want it to be fair. But in the end, it's only a glancing blow.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

Mr. Woodward, there's a last question we'd like to ask. What does the American Dream mean to you?

Bob Woodward: Interesting question. Obviously, there's not one American dream. There are hundreds of millions of American dreams.

What in my business I've found is that we basically do have a free press, that we can operate independently. But the real input comes from people who believe in a free press, believe in the First Amendment, believe in open discourse as much as possible, hate secrets, hate secret government, hate secret concentrations of power. So in an odd way, those in my business have a million allies out there. People who are basically truth-tellers, want to help somebody, know that the truth is cleansing, that the truth is a good thing, that the society needs to function on that. And that in a little way, and often in a significant way, that's realized. That we do explain enough about what's going on. I think in the atmosphere we are in now, somebody who would get up and propose some of the things that were done in Vietnam, like conducting the war when we didn't believe in it, or burglarizing, or wiretapping, or doing the abusive things of Watergate, I think it's so ingrained that there are enough people who would stand up and say, "We can't do that. We shouldn't do that." That doesn't mean there won't be more scandals and maybe even larger scandals, but in a sense, the vision or the dream of the people who wrote the Constitution has, at least in part, been realized.

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

We want to thank you for talking with us today.

Thank you.

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This page last revised on Sep 22, 2010 17:21 EST
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