Woodward Warns Against 'Self-Righteousness and Smugness' of Reporting on Trump

January 2, 2018

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said Sunday that there is "self-righteousness and smugness" in much of the media's reporting on the Trump administration.

CNN's Dana Bash interviewed Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, on President Donald Trump's treatment of the media.

Bernstein said that Trump has gone even further than Nixon in his demonization of the profession, saying he has tried to "undermine the credibility of the press as a national institution."

Bernstein called the media the "last bastion of truth" that makes democracy function, while also cautioning that journalists should admit mistakes and not take the bait of being too "petty" in their criticisms.

"We've got a deadly serious inquiry in front of us," Bernstein said, adding that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and other mainstream outlets have done some of the best reporting on the White House in decades.

"Amen, Carl," Bash said.

"But just real quickly, the tone is a big issue here," Woodward said.

"Yes, I agree," Bernstein added.

"In lots of reporting, particularly on television, commentary, there's kind of self-righteousness and smugness, and people kind of ridiculing the president," Woodward said. "When we reported on Nixon, it was obviously a very different era, but we did not adopt a tone of ridicule. The tone was, 'what are the facts?'"