Carl Bernstein

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Carl Bernstein
Carl bernstein 2007.jpg
Bernstein in November 2007
Born (1944-02-14) February 14, 1944 (age 75)
Education University of Maryland
OccupationJournalist, writer
Employer Vanity Fair
Known forReporting on Watergate scandal
Carol Honsa
(m. 1968;div. 1972)

Nora Ephron
(m. 1976;div. 1980)

Christine Kuehbeck
(m. 2003)
Parent(s) Sylvia Walker Bernstein
Alfred Bernstein

Carl Bernstein ( /ˈbɜːrnstn/ BURN-steen; born February 14, 1944) is an American investigative journalist and author.


While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Bernstein was teamed up with Bob Woodward; 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. The work of Woodward and Bernstein was called "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time" by longtime journalism figure Gene Roberts. [1]

Bernstein's career since Watergate has continued to focus on the theme of the use and abuse of power via books and magazine articles. He has also done reporting for television and opinion commentary. He is the author or co-author of six books: All the President's Men , The Final Days , and The Secret Man, with Bob Woodward; His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time, with Marco Politi  [ it ]; Loyalties; and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton . [2] Additionally, he is a regular political commentator on CNN.

Early life and career

Bernstein was born to a secular Jewish family [3] [4] [5] in Washington, D.C., the son of Sylvia (née Walker) and Alfred Bernstein. [6] [7] Both his parents were civil rights activists and members of the Communist party in the 1940s. [6] [7] He attended Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he worked as circulation and exchange manager [8] for the school's newspaper Silver Chips. He began his journalism career at the age of 16 when he became a copyboy for The Washington Star and moved "quickly through the ranks." [2] The Star, however, unofficially required a college degree to write for the paper. Because he had dropped out from the University of Maryland (where he was a reporter for the school's independent daily, The Diamondback [9] ) and did not intend to finish, Bernstein left in 1965 to become a full-time reporter for the Elizabeth Daily Journal in New Jersey. [10] While there, he won first prize in New Jersey's press association for investigative reporting, feature writing, and news on a deadline. [2] In 1966, Bernstein left New Jersey and began reporting for The Washington Post, where he covered every aspect of local news and became known as one of the paper's best writing stylists. [11]


On a Saturday in June 1972, Bernstein was assigned, along with Bob Woodward, to cover a break-in at the Watergate office complex that had occurred earlier the same morning. Five burglars had been caught red-handed in the complex, where the Democratic National Committee had its headquarters; one of them turned out to be an ex-CIA agent who did security work for the Republicans. In the series of stories that followed, Bernstein and Woodward eventually connected the burglars to a massive slush fund and a corrupt attorney general. Bernstein was the first to suspect that President Nixon was involved, and he found a laundered check that linked Nixon to the burglary. [12] Bernstein and Woodward's discoveries led to further investigations of Nixon, and on August 9, 1974, amid hearings by the House Judiciary Committee, Nixon resigned in order to avoid facing impeachment.

In 1974, two years after the Watergate burglary and two months before Nixon resigned, Bernstein and Woodward released the book All the President's Men . The book drew upon the notes and research accumulated while writing articles about the scandal for the Post and "remained on best-seller lists for six months." In 1975 it was turned into a movie starring Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein and Robert Redford as Woodward which later went on to be nominated in multiple Oscar (including Best Picture nomination), Golden Globe and BAFTA categories. [13] A second book, The Final Days , was published by Bernstein and Woodward in 1976 as a follow-up chronicling Nixon's last days in office. [14]

After Watergate

Bernstein left The Washington Post in 1977 and began investigating a secret relationship between the CIA and American media during the Cold War. He spent a year researching the article, which was published as a 25,000-word piece in Rolling Stone magazine.

He then began working for ABC News. Between 1980 and 1984, Bernstein was the network's Washington Bureau Chief and then a senior correspondent. In 1982, for ABC's Nightline , Bernstein was the first to report[ citation needed ] during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that Ariel Sharon had "deceived the cabinet about the real intention of the operation—to drive the Palestinians out of Lebanon, not (as he had claimed) to merely establish a 25-kilometer security zone north from the border."[ citation needed ]

Two years after leaving ABC News, Bernstein released the book Loyalties: A Son's Memoir, in which he revealed that his parents had been members of the Communist Party of America. The assertion shocked some because even J. Edgar Hoover had tried and been unable to prove that Bernstein's parents had been party members. [12]

In 1992, also for Time, Bernstein wrote a cover story publicizing the alliance between Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. Later, along with Vatican expert Marco Politi, he published a papal biography entitled His Holiness. Bernstein wrote in the 1996 book that the Pope's role in supporting Solidarity in his native Poland, and his geopolitical dexterity combined with enormous spiritual influence, was a principal factor in the downfall of communism in Europe. [15]

In 1992, Bernstein wrote a cover story for The New Republic magazine indicting modern journalism for its sensationalism and celebration of gossip over real news. The article was entitled "The Idiot Culture".

Bernstein's biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton, A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton , was published by Alfred A. Knopf on June 5, 2007. Knopf had a first printing of 275,000 copies. It appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list for three weeks. [16] A CBS News end-of-year survey of publishing "hits and misses" included A Woman in Charge in the "miss" category and implied that its total sales were somewhere in the range of perhaps 55,000–65,000 copies. [17]

Bernstein is a frequent guest and analyst on television news programs, and most recently wrote articles for Newsweek / The Daily Beast , comparing Rupert Murdoch's News of the World phone-hacking scandal to Watergate. [18]

In 2012, Carl Bernstein spoke at a rally of People's Mujahedin of Iran, an opposition Iranian organization that had previously been listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States, reportedly receiving a payment for his speech. [19]

Personal life

Bernstein has been married three times, first to a fellow reporter at The Washington Post, Carol Honsa; then to writer and director Nora Ephron from 1976 to 1980; and since 2003 to the former model Christine Kuehbeck.

During his marriage to Ephron, Bernstein met Margaret Jay, daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan and wife of Peter Jay, then UK ambassador to the United States. They had a much-publicized extramarital relationship in 1979. Margaret later became a government minister in her own right. [20] Bernstein and second wife Ephron already had an infant son, Jacob, and she was pregnant with their second son, Max, in 1979 when she learned of her husband's affair with Jay. Ephron delivered Max prematurely after finding out. [21] Ephron was inspired by the events to write the 1983 novel Heartburn , [20] which was made into a 1986 film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

While single, in the 1980s, Bernstein became known for dating Bianca Jagger, Martha Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor, [12] among others.


Bernstein was portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film version of All the President's Men , [22] and by Bruce McCulloch in the 1999 comedy film Dick . [23]

Differences between Bernstein and Woodward

Although they worked together to report the “Watergate scandal” to the world, Bernstein and Woodward have very different personalities. Raised in a traditional Republican household, Woodward was very well-educated and has been described as gentle. After graduating from Yale University, he joined the Washington Post; nine months later, he was assigned the Watergate break-in story. On the other hand, Bernstein was born to a Communist Jewish family. He was rebellious, which led to him dropping out of college. He was ten months further along in his career career than Woodward when the scandal broke out. [24]

They were also different in work styles. Woodward's strength was in investigation, so he focused on investigating the Watergate scandal. He met his ‘Deep throat’ source secretly to get as much information as possible. His writing was serious and matter-of-fact. However, Bernstein was the first of the pair to think that the Watergate case could be related to President Richard Nixon. Compared to Woodward, Bernstein was a strong writer, and therefore wrote articles based on Woodward's information from Deep Throat. [25] Due to their different styles, other journalists described them as a perfect team. Alicia Shepard said ‘Carl was the big thinker, and Woodward was the one of that make sure it got done.’ She thinks that each had strengths that the other didn’t, and they relied on one another, and that’s why they worked so well together.[ clarification needed ] [26]

After Watergate, they moved in separate directions. Woodward left the Washington Post, yet continued writing critical political pieces. From G. Bush to Obama, he investigated and wrote on political issues concerning presidents and their parties. In 2001, he wrote a significant series about 9/11 terror with other journalists, and received his second Pulitzer prize. He is now an associate editor at the Washington Post; his latest book is, ‘Fear: Trump in the white house (2018)’. Bernstein expanded into other areas due to his reputation from the Watergate reportage. He left the Washington Post and joined broadcast news in a high growth period. He worked at ABC, CNN, and CBS as a political commentator, and was a spokesman in various television commercials. [27] Since parting as coworkers in 1976, they have reconnected in recent years to criticize Donald Trump.

Books authored

See also

Related Research Articles

Watergate scandal Political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s

The Watergate scandal was a major federal political scandal in the United States involving the administration of United States President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that resulted in the end of Nixon's presidency. The scandal stemmed from the June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., by five men and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Soon after the perpetrators were arrested, the press and the Justice Department discovered a connection between cash found on them at the time and a slush fund used by the Nixon re-election campaign committee.

<i>All the Presidents Men</i> 1974 book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

All the President's Men is a 1974 non-fiction book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two of the journalists who investigated the June 1972 break-in at the Watergate Office Building and the resultant political scandal for The Washington Post. The book chronicles the investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein from Woodward's initial report on the Watergate break-in through the resignations of Nixon Administration officials H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman in April 1973, and the revelation of the Oval Office Watergate tapes by Alexander Butterfield three months later. It relates the events behind the major stories the duo wrote for the Post, naming some sources who had previously refused to be identified for their initial articles, notably Hugh Sloan. It also gives detailed accounts of Woodward's secret meetings with his source Deep Throat, whose identity was kept hidden for over 30 years. 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."

Bob Woodward American journalist

Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor.

Donald Henry Segretti is an attorney best known for working as a political operative with then-U.S. President Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President during the early 1970s. Segretti served four and a half months in prison after investigations related to the Watergate scandal revealed his leading role in extensive political sabotage efforts ("ratfucking") against the Democrats.

Deep Throat (Watergate) Alias of Mark Felt, the whistleblower who exposed the Watergate scandal

Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information in 1972 to Bob Woodward, who shared it with Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for The Washington Post, and Deep Throat provided key details about the involvement of U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. In 2005, 31 years after Nixon's resignation and 11 years after Nixon's death, a family attorney stated that former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Associate Director Mark Felt was Deep Throat. By then, Felt was suffering from dementia and had previously denied being Deep Throat, but Woodward and Bernstein confirmed the attorney's claim.

United States Senate Watergate Committee 1973 US Senate committee to investigate the Watergate scandal

The Senate Watergate Committee, known officially as the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, was a special committee established by the United States Senate, S.Res. 60, in 1973, to investigate the Watergate scandal, with the power to investigate the break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and any subsequent cover-up of criminal activity, as well as "all other illegal, improper, or unethical conduct occurring during the controversial 1972 presidential election, including political espionage and campaign finance practices".

Hugh W. Sloan Jr. was treasurer of the Committee to Re-elect the President, Richard M. Nixon's 1972 campaign committee. Previously, he was an aide to White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.

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Ken Wade Clawson was an American journalist, best known as a spokesman for U.S. President Richard Nixon at the time of the Watergate scandal. He was promoted from Nixon's deputy director of communications to director in early 1974 as the scandal continued to unfold, and following Nixon's resignation in August 1974, Clawson continued in the same role for three months under President Gerald Ford.

Howard Simons was the managing editor of the Washington Post at the time of the Watergate scandal, and later curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Kenneth Harry Dahlberg was an American businessman and highly decorated World War II fighter ace. According to reporter Bob Woodward, a check made out to Dahlberg was a key part in connecting the Watergate scandal to President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign, though Dahlberg himself was not accused of any wrongdoing.

<i>The Final Days</i> book by Bob Woodward

The Final Days is a 1976 non-fiction book written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the Watergate scandal. A follow up to their 1974 book All the President's Men, The Final Days concerns itself with the final months of the Presidency of Richard Nixon including battles over the Nixon White House tapes and the impeachment process against Richard Nixon.

Harry M. Rosenfeld is an American newspaper editor who was the editor in charge of local news at The Washington Post during the Richard Mattingly murder case and the Watergate scandal. He oversaw the newspaper's coverage of Watergate and resisted efforts by the paper's national reporters to take over the story. Though Post editor-in-chief Benjamin C. Bradlee gets most of the credit, managing editor Howard Simons and Rosenfeld worked most closely with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on developing the story. Rosenfeld published a memoir including an account of his work at the Post in 2013.

<i>All the Presidents Men</i> (film) 1976 film by Alan J. Pakula

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  18. , published July 9, 2011
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