At Mason Forum, Woodward Reflects on 25 Years in Journalism

Posted: March 12, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniela Stevens

Fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Bob Woodward, braved winter weather and packed the room at the Arlington Campus last Wednesday for the second in a four-part series of the Mason Forum.

The Mason Forum was created by scholar-in-residence, Richard Norton Smith, as a way for his students and the community to participate in discussions of political history.

In the hour-long conversation, which was filmed by C-SPAN, Woodward and Smith discussed everything from the Watergate scandal to the Lewis “Scooter” Libby trial.

Bob Woodward and Richard Norton Smith
Bob Woodward, left, and Mason scholar-in-residence Richard Norton Smith at last week’s Mason Forum.
Photo by Nicolas Tan

While discussing the closed nature of the U.S. Supreme Court and recent disclosures about conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Woodward expressed his hope for a more open government.

“My nightmare scenario is a secret government. Nixon tried this in Watergate with his no-accountability, we-are-in-charge attitude.” Woodward went on to say that newspapers are the best place to create a forum of open government and transparency via investigative journalism. “Journalists are actually passionately pushing against secrecy,” he said.

In regard to the current controversy facing officials in charge of Walter Reed, Woodward said, “It took Washington Post journalists four months to document this scandal and report it. The question is not why didn’t someone blow the whistle sooner, it should be why didn’t someone in the government do something about this. Why is their attitude always ‘Well, that’s not my job’?”

Woodward also discussed his most recent book, “State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III,” which examines how the George W. Bush administration “mangled Iraq” after the 2003 invasion. It follows Woodward’s previous books on the Bush administration, “Bush at War” and “Plan of Attack.” Woodward signed copies of the book after the talk.

The next Mason Forum will occur in April, and details will soon follow.

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