PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Watergate Reporter Bob Woodward Visits Penn State

Celebrated Watergate reporter Bob Woodward urged Washington to create a new means of communication and to bridge the gap between being a human and being a politician during his remarks on Thursday in Eisenhower Auditorium

Woodward, who has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 and is now an associate editor of the Post, said that the general theme of Congress is that both sides, Republican and Democrat, “think they don’t like each other.” That leads to disconnect and anonymity, he said.

However, the question on everyone in the audience’s mind was: how do we fix that?

“You have to have an avenue of communication,” he said. “If [Congress] exercises that, they can get things done. It’s just not happening in this case.”

During his hour-and-a-half long lecture presented as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series, followed by a question-and-answer session with students, future professional journalists, and members of the community, Woodward managed to touch upon not only questions about government, but he also provided his view on the Sandusky scandal.

Woodward noted that he followed the news about the scandal, and even mentioned that he had read the Freeh Report. He said that the obligation of the press is to dig for the truth, and that we, as a university, need to do the same.

“As a university, you have to ask yourself: what is the business you are in?” he said. “The business you are in is not winning football games. The core job is to educate and take care of students.”

He said that the “turmoil” has made Penn State stronger, and that it can only get stronger from here on out. He also added, of course, that we can—and should—be a force in football again, but most importantly, we should be a force in the business of academics.

Woodward also touched on the Watergate scandal, and recalled being in President Nixon’s library a couple of years ago and seeing a model of the Oval Office. The model showed the locations of every recording device with a push of a button, and they were marked by red lights around the model.

“You push the button and the Oval Office lights up like a Christmas tree,” he said, and the audience laughed. “Nixon had five microphones just on his desk.”

Woodward spoke highly of his publisher at the Post during the time of the Watergate scandal, Katherine Graham, who died in 2001. She had lead the paper for 10 years, until she resigned to become chairman of the board for 18 years.

Graham asked Woodward after the news broke of the scandal, “When will the entire truth about Watergate come out?”

“I told her, my answer to your question is never,” he said. “I remember she looked across the table and had this pained look on her face, the kind of look you never want to see on your boss’s face. She said, ‘Don’t tell me never.’”

He said that her statement was not a threat, but related it to the business of journalism. He said that the whole point of journalism is to discover the truth and report the truth, and journalists who say never aren’t true, curious journalists.

He ended his speech by revealing exactly why President Gerald Ford pardoned President Nixon. Ford pardoned Nixon to avoid a greater division of the country and to maintain the tranquility and the balance that the country had reached after the scandal.

“What Ford did was very gutsy,” said Woodward. “I was so sure [the pardon] was corrupt. When you see something you were so sure of, that it was the final corruption of Watergate, and it turns out to be presidential courage. That is so great.”

About the Author

Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson is a junior from Bethlehem, PA majoring in print journalism and minoring in reruns of Breaking Bad and traveling everywhere she possibly can.

Comments

More by Sarah

THON Releases 2015 Promo Video

In case you thought you couldn’t be any more excited to Empower the Dreamers at THON this year, the official 2015 Penn State Dance Marathon Promo Video is here to prove you wrong.

Laverne Cox To Speak On Campus During National Coming Out Week

2014 Sorority Recruitment Schedule

Athletics

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

This year’s sneaker is available to purchase online for $109.99.

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Fall Move-In Traffic & Construction Changes

When 40,000 students need to move back to State College over the course of four days or so, things are bound to get crazy.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend