Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In a quirk of the calendar, the days of this week directly coincide with the days of Richard Nixon's final week as president in 1974. 39th anniversary of Watergate's final week. Awesome!
President Obama this week announced that Washington Post editor at the time of Watergate, Ben Bradlee to receive Medal of Freedom:
Benjamin C. Bradlee, the former executive editor of The Washington Post
who oversaw the Watergate coverage that helped end the presidency of
Richard Nixon, will be awarded the country’s highest civilian honor by
President Obama later this year.
In announcing the medal winners, Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of
Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to
enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with
extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing
that talent with the world.”
* * *
In a brief biography accompanying the announcement of the awards, the
White House called Bradlee, 91, who remains a vice president at large
at the newspaper, “one of the most respected newsmen of his generation”
for his tenure as The Post’s top editor from 1968 through 1991, during
the paper’s heyday.
“Good God, how fabulous,” Bradlee said in a
phone interview from the vacation home he owns with his wife, Post
writer Sally Quinn, in the Hamptons. “What more can a man get? I feel
terribly honored. What does a person do to deserve this kind of prize?”
Graham, The Post’s late publisher, tapped Bradlee to run the paper’s
news coverage during a time of great competition among Washington’s
daily newspapers, and Bradlee quickly reshaped The Post to reflect his
own pugnacious personality.
In 1971, The Post, along with the New
York Times, successfully won a legal battle with the Nixon
administration over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, which
revealed the Johnson administration’s political machinations over U.S.
military involvement in Vietnam.
A year later, two young Post
reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, began investigating a
break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the
Watergate hotel. Bradlee and Graham backed the pair despite heavy
pressure from the Nixon administration, as the reporters traced the
story all the way to the White House, precipitating the president’s
resignation in 1974.
In a moment recounted in several books
about the Watergate story, Bradlee instructed Bernstein to quote
then-Attorney General John Mitchell on his threats against Graham after
the reporter contacted Mitchell to inform him of an explosive story.
The Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its Watergate coverage.
Bradlee’s award was announced just three days after news broke that
Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham, Katharine’s son, has agreed to sell the newspaper to Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos for $250 million, ending the family’s 80-year ownership of the publication.
Bradlee declined to discuss the sale of The Post. “Any change is so difficult to discuss,” he said.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the White House later this year.
President Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 honorees in all.