By: E&P Staff
“The greatest threat to truth today may well be from my profession,” Carl Bernstein, the famed Watergate reporter, said Thursday night in a speech at the University of Texas.
Bernstein said today’s journalists often are not aggressive enough and are willing to accept news that will amuse rather than inform, according to an account in the university’s Daily Texan. “To serve viewers and readers, we give what will sell and boost ratings,” he said. He also observed: “I believe it’s the role of journalists to challenge people and not amuse them.”
He also stressed the need for the media “to serve the public good by telling the best obtainable truth,” particularly in dealing with politicians’ abuses of power. He called support for the Iraq war “a triumph of idiot culture,” according to the Daily Texan story, because most people still aren’t truly informed, and attributed this to poor media coverage.
“Deal with facts first, then have the debate,” Bernstein said. “Iraq is a misrepresentation of facts.”
Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward uncovered the 1973 Watergate scandal for The Washington Post, called the current Bush administration “more hostile of free inquiry than any other. … This administration is the most secretive I’ve ever seen. … This presidency is a radical departure from any of its predecessors.”