tv Bob Woodward on History and Disinformation CSPAN December 16, 2021 8:02pm-9:03pm EST
now, on and now on american american history history tv, it's the tv, the robert -- symposium. mr. symposium. carroll, donating mr. his papers to the new york city store coastal society exhibition kara, turn every page. -- inside inside of the robert carroll the robert archive. we hear cairo from mr. kara, archive. you later, from will hear a discussion about from him history, and later as well storytelling. first, washington post a discussion reporter, bob woodward, about offers his thoughts on storytelling. but the importance of first, bob history, to woodward offers his combat thoughts misinformation. on >> good history to combat morning. misinformation. welcome to the new york historical >> good society morning everyone. . i am i'm louise mirror, new york historical president, and louise -- , ceo. president and and, it ceo of the new york historical society is a great thrill. it's for me to a great thrill welcome you, everyone, to our to welcome you to our spectacular robert smith
spectacular robert h. auditorium. whether you smith auditorium. are joining us here in person, or via live stream. we we are so are so pleased to have you join us pleased to have you join us for a special day, for a very special day a very special, day of discussion of but discussion by distinguished speakers, distinguished speakers presented, in presented conjunction, with the opening in of turn every page, inside of the conjunction with turn every robert a carole archive. page. the the exhibition exhibition is is on view on view on on our our second floor, second floor and this and this is the is the first public exhibition, drawn from the first discussion drawn from archive, of robert robert caro symposium. a cairo, regarded as who's worked on lyndon johnson, are regarded as masterpieces of history. this is a first time for me to acknowledge the biographer, and master of narrative, robert caro, and his wife. we are honored, of course, to
have the archive, but also, to have both bob carroll, and his wife, to join us today. today's first panel, history and integrity, in an age of misinformation, is a special conversation, inspired by robert caro distinguished work. just before i introduce our panelists, however, i would like to thank, and recognize, a number of trustees to have joined us this morning. our chairman americas, robert herzog. our chair elect, agnew's, and our vice chair, andrew. david light, dorothy goldman, patricia, jean, margot, read, and allen. i would like to think all of them, but i would also like to thank the trustees who join us via live stream this morning. our chair, pam, our vice chair elect, suzanne, and trustees.
many thanks to all of you. everything that we do, at this splendid institution, really, is a great tribute to the dedication, and support, of our trustees. thank you. of course, i want to thank the chairman council members who have joined us as well. you have been with us for a very challenging period of time, and we appreciate your encouragement, and support. now, we are, also, particularly, grateful for the support of first republic, which is the sponsor of today symposium. i know a number of members of first republic are with, us in the audience, today. i want to thank you, especially, for your partnership. our first discussion, lasting an hour, and includes a question and answer session. the q and a will be conducted via written no cards, and with
questions on those note cards. you see the note card, and pencil, on his way into the auditorium this morning. and, if not, my colleagues are going up, and down the aisles, with no cards, and pencils to collect. they will get your questions, later on, in the morning. there will not be a formal book signing today, but, pre-signed copies of our speaker spokes will be available for purchase, in our history, on the 77th street side of the building. now, to our speakers. we are honored to welcome bob woodward, and associate editor of the washington post, where he has worked since 1971. he has shared, two pulitzer prizes, first, for coverage of the watergate scandal, with carl bernstein, and second, as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. mr. woodward, writing number one best-selling books on the
last nine presidents, including nixon, ford, carter, reagan, george h. w. bush, clinton, george w. bush, obama, and trump, as well as the cia, the joint chiefs, and the supreme court. his most recent book, peril, which he coauthored, with robert costa. and is in humanities, and in history, at race university. professor brinkley is a bestselling author, a grammy award winning producer, and he serves this presidential historian, for both new york historical, and cnn. he is a frequent contributor for the new york times, the washington post, and the boston globe. he is the author of numerous books, his most recent new york times bestseller, american moon shot, john f. kennedy, and the
great space race. just before we begin. i hear other electronic devices and, remember, keep your mask on. please note, with the exception, with our house photographer exception, we do not permit photography this morning. now, please, join me in welcoming our guests. thank you. >> morning. welcome to bob fest. i'm caro, and as the added attraction, bob woodward. as a welcome dispensing one-on-one time with you at the new york historical society, we will open it up for questions, being put on questions after about a 40 minute conversation. with bob woodward's book, just
number one in the charts, doing so incredibly well, and so much news going on, i would be remiss if i didn't ask him, the burning question of the moment. right out of the gate, and that is, when did you first meet robert caro? >> i think, around 25 years ago, he was in new york with his wife, and we invited them for dinner in our home. we talked about history, and how do you find it, or how do you verify it? both my wife, and i, elsa, learned a great deal. when you talk to caro, you go to history school, as you know. we when you look at his achievement with the lyndon johnson biographies, and i look
at bob, on how you write about power, and presidents also, what is your reflection about lbj in american history? what are the positives of johnson's presidency, and the payrolls of his presidency? >> it is easier to describe the creation of the universe. as caro, is finding out, because there are many high, us and many lows, and you have to sort them out. you have to dig. what is real? you and i were talking the other day, you have to ask the question, as a historian, or a journalist, how good is history? the answer, often, is it is at its best when it is too late. in other words, johnson is gone,
he is out of the presidency, he is deceased, and in this internet age of impatience, and speed, i think, you have to ask the question, not how good is history, but when's history? when will it be available to people? i think the sooner, the better. at the same time, no one can match caro, with just going back, and back, and refining his understanding. >> you think it is the perfect combination for so many journalists to become historians. particularly, political reporters, covering presidents for a while, but then they switch, and start doing biographies. you have stayed with journalism. you have not made that move. why have you stayed as a reporter, and maybe not try to go back, or write a book on
eisenhower, let's say? >> because, what i enjoy about the contemporary, is you can interview people, and you can go back, and you can take your questions. i always do what is called the premature draft in writing a book. then, you see the whole's, and you can go back. if somebody is alive, and accessible. so, i think it is the best job in the world. i think you are right. a lot of journalists switch to history, thinking that they are historians, when, probably, they are better journalists. >> don't you find that? >> i do find that to be the case sometimes. >> let's have some names! >> it is because we plow our way into doing our ph.d. and history, but, the thing that
the journalists bring to history is they right so well, because they work for a time, or a new york times, or something, and they can write were a lot of academic historians, sometimes, are just so footnote driven. so, there is room for both. the sweet spot would how do you bring popular history, and academic history? how do you unite them? >> one of the historians diseases is too many, certainly, not you, but some historians, chase obscurity. i visited, like you, plenty of presidential libraries. meeting with the tea of people who do the interviewing. safer, one of the bush presidency's. you will find the deputy labor secretary, and interview him, or her, and when did you first to meet george bush? what was your question like?
that isn't history. i have had discussions with the people who do these interviews. and, my view, is you need to sit down, aggressively, and ask yourself, what are the key unanswered questions in the bush presidency? the clinton presidency? the abraham lincoln presidency? if you approach it that way, you avoid the kind of amassing of lots of, basically, irrelevant information. >> could you have had the story career you have had, if you had moved out of washington d.c.? knowing that landscape so well, and how government works? could you have done what you do, if you lived in atlanta, or sacramento? >> i suspect not.
the underground parking garages in sacramento, but, it is a long trip. so, no, i find that i can have people over to my house, i can invite them, again, and again, and that is, really, central to it. but, also, you have to walk that painful road, of introspection, and, am i getting to isolated to washington-centric? and then i read one of my critics of the bush books i did, george w. bush. i did four books on his wars on afghanistan and iraq and i was
criticize because the books were to white house-centric. and you can cover the cia or the pentagon and think that the decisions are really made here. they are important parts of the puzzle but, you know, as george w. bush said, he is the decision-maker. and he is. even if he doesn't decide he has made a decision. when >> i was moved, as i'm sure all of you were, on a bob getting to talk to colin powell near the end of his life and the tape that was played on the air. and we hair at the new york historical society had to do a, perhaps in the spring, a program on the career of general powell, particularly
his immigrant roots from jamaica. his time at city college. it's a great american story. and you asked general powell a question about who was his spiritual guru or who, out of all the people he met, who moved him the most. i want to ask you, and your long career, who have been the touchstone figures that you reflect on? >> oh, boy. easier to describe the creation of the universe. >> you asked general powell the question, so -- >> yeah, i did. this was three months ago. he was very open and i did not know he had cancer or parkinson's and he was quite open about it. and even reporters sometimes can be human and i said, oh,
i'm so sorry. and he just left me down and said, don't feel sorry for me. i've had a great life. what is interesting about powell is that he was so open, even in this conversation, he is talking on the phone to me and he shouts out to his wife, alma. alma, i'm on the phone! and then he comes back and he says, she doesn't like me talking to you. >> [laughs] >> but here we are. but then his answer to the question of who the person he admires the most, he said alma. she stuck with him. she understood his capacity, i think, as a great leader.
and he understood other people. and the first job of someone who is married is to understand the spouse. and he understood her very well. and realized that he was off doing all kinds of things, being colin powell. and she raised the kids and she would tamp him down. but, you know, no one is going to do -- it's a great story. i talked to my publisher about this, the head of simon and juiced are. and i said, you know, powell has a great book but we already know everything because he was so open. and i could call him up and he would answer or call back right away. and i remember, because he was building up to writing his
autobiography, which was a very big hit. my american journey. and i interviewed him 24 times up to that point. and i had transcripts and typed notes of all the interviews. and i called him up and i said, i have a christmas present for you. and he said, a christmas present, from you? is it ticking? >> [laughs] >> and i said, no, i'd like to bring it over. so i brought over copies of all the interviews. and i said, here's my christmas present. and he looked at me and he responds and says, i know why you are doing this? do i contradict you or what i told you in my book? and he didn't, thankfully. he said he was the reluctant warrior, my label for him.
and -- i mean, he just didn't -- he was different. too many politicians. you know, you know this. up goes the wall. >> i can't let you off the hook -- you didn't answer. who would be your person? you might want to say a family member right now. >> i'm going to say my wife, elsa. >> there you go! i just saved you. >> but it's true. she's had the last 18 books i've done, she was a reporter for the post, a staff writer for the new yorker. and she is tough. and you type of page, 250 words on it, and give it to elsa, and then her edits will be 350 words. >> [laughs]
>> it's disheartening but then she is right. and so, you want to learn from that. i would also say, the editor of the post during watergate, a friend and somebody who was a great newspaper editor. when >> you were in the navy for what's, for years? >> five years. >> and when you were in the navy was there someone that you looked up to as a military hero? of the world war ii generation or korean war generation? when you are studying military history? age>> you know, this was during vietnam. the age of heroes, as we know. and so there was not a military person as such. i mean, obviously, george marshall, who became, you know,
most famous as secretary of state, what he did with the marshall plan and so forth -- but no, i remember interviewing dean hatch isn't when i was in the navy, accurate washington to give me something to keep my mind active. and allison was tough. he was real tough and you wrote. >> yes, i wrote a biography of acheson and i wanted to call the book and intimidating seniority. >> yes, he was -- >> yes, that's a big interview to have had. and he was kind of -- he was open and now is the graduate student and i was in
his law firm. you know, i'm not sure -- again, it's one of the lessons for a graduate student, coming in and talking to somebody like that. i didn't know enough. i had read his autobiography, which was very strong in one of the pulitzer prize creations. present at the creation. it's a very lovable title. >> yeah! [laughs] >> [laughs] >> may i turn the tables? tell us what you are working on and why. >> well, one thing, just on acheson, his favorite quote, acheson, that he used as, like, his motto -- i wish my kids would adopt it. but he used to say, acheson, complaints are born a nuisance
to all. it undermines the serenity essential for endurance. every time i'm about to complain about something, acheson, that saying comes into mind. i'm writing a book right now -- i'm finishing it -- called silent spring revolution. john f. kennedy, rachel carson, lyndon johnson, the great environmental awakening. the environmental history of the 60s and early 70s, which we call the long 60s, from 1960 to 1974. and bob -- in my book, as a reporter, as a figure, he was on to the ddt problem because out on long island, they would spray ddt in suffolk county and there were people in the late 50s that
started suing margaret spoke, the sister of benjamin's box, the pediatrician. she started the suit with some others saying, look, i am an organic farmer and you are spraying ddt over my farm and it's my right as an american citizen to be an american organic farm or. and you can't spray that stuff. and the supreme court back to a lot. but lo and behold, rachel carson's book came out in 1962, and bob carroll was the first person to meet with rachel carson at the mayflower hotel and wrote this incredible investigatory series about rachel carson's book. and so much, so coincided almost exactly with the caro stories coming out, the new yorker did an excerpt of carson. and john f. kennedy had a press conference and said we are looking at mrs. carson's research and kennedy created a
science council and found out that he gave a lot of these insecticides and pesticides that were developed and multiplied during world war ii -- they were certainly, wildlife fish and wildlife service of the u.s. was saying that they were certainly hazards. -- >> so who was the catalyst, though, for this environmental -- ? was it rachael carson? >> carson's big. but before that, from 1945 to 1962, her book, the anti nuclear testing movement grew in the united states. there was concern after john hershey wrote his book on hiroshima, where he is talking about peoples skin melting and the horrors of it. i remember john hershey is the one who may john f. kennedy the
big hero in that essay. and kennedy was against testing, we met douglas was against, at norman cousins was against it. and then again that no one talks about anymore. but he won two mel two nobel prizes. albert schweit sir from africa -- he started announcing this and the willy-nilly use of chemicals. >> but what's interesting though is that for historians and journalists, you said that he made kennedy the pt109 hero and he said, well, actually did that myself. >> there are enough. >> [laughs] >> but once that article came
out, joe kennedy bought it and he strong armed readers digest to put it in and in addition. and it already ran in the new yorker. and hershey when he ran in 1950. two >> and this is the journalistic problem, the historical problem of the tree falling in the forest that no one hears until somebody comes along and says, see, look at this, that's what -- i mean, this is what makes that quest really great. i always say, if someone came from ours, and went back and said, okay, who has the best job in the united states, they would say, the journalists. people's li ves rbecause we do. think of it. we get to make a momentary entries into people's lives, when they are interesting, and
then get out when they cease to be. >> they have made the presidential historians, and once the politicians decided that they hate reporters, and here is the historian, and they don't capitalize on it enough. if you look at polling in america, when you think of historians, you probably have an 80% approval rating, and you see journalism, much lower. >> yes, okay. but, it was at a peak, a former president clinton, and it how much they loved him, and it is genuine. and they mean it. in the back of clinton's mind, if they were around for the
monica lewinsky. >> let me ask you a couple -- and then i want to talk about something else. it is mentioning bill clinton. with far north away at eight years, we could have a balance, we have a budget, a surplus, a nato expansion, in the 90s. looking from today's perspective, like solid days. >> even better. we had two things during the clinton years. peace, and prosperity. and, i wrote a book about him with the agenda, and it is a lot of the screaming, and the shouting, and this was true. even as journalist look back on it, in what they do for the economy, and it is the economic plan, with joe biden's
unfulfilled dream. so, we are going to cut spending, and they are going to increase revenue, and we are going to push ourselves for the road to balancing the budget. and, actually, it makes sense. it is going on getting their. there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of doubt, and if you look in retrospect, and at least when i do the outcome, and not so bad. >> is there anything that you look back on, now, with nixon, and realize if there is anything positive to say about that? >> so, they can't have been a
passenger on the titanic and say, well, you know, table tennis is really great. nixon is revealed in the case, it is not only a criminality, but, being in the second, is fascinating about nixon. the most potent evaluation of nixon, was by nixon, in his farewell address, on the day that he resigned in august of 1974. he is up there, talking, and his wife is there, and two daughters, son-in-law's, and in the east room audience.
this is why i called you here. and he says, always remember, others may hate you. but, those who hate you do not win, unless you hate them. and then, you destroy yourself. now, think of the wisdom, not just for that, but, the hey destroys you. so what you look at, and you listen to his tapes, it is the piston that drove him. and they never let go of that. so, with nixon's gift to history, and that lesson of the hardest thing to do is sit back and say, oh.
so, he was an active hater. there is something positive there, and they are in the environment. what they did with china, and you can't have that attitude, and infect politics, and culture, and the way he did, and feel good about it. >> they could do them, and you return to president trump. another story. george herbert walker bush, when he died, the country seems more general, and there is an extraordinary, one term president. it is calling for a time to cover him? >> he would never let me talk to him. >> why was it? >> because he didn't like me.
>> he didn't like what i did. it was chairman in the republican national committee, during watergate, and went around the country. it is innocent, absolutely, and when the truth came out, really, it was hard duty. it was chairman and the republican national committee. it was doing one of the books. he wrote to me a very angry letter. he wrote a letter saying, you and i didn't have much of a relationship. in fact, we had no relationship. and, you know to be part of the press, and i see all of these things, and these articles, and
claimed things that i didn't say, and so forth. so i said, he never made, and you need to make, peace with people you disagree with. we are not able to do, that and i think it is a reputation as, perhaps, a human being, and in the presidents, and as it could have been. it is the coverage of trump. and, it is just so angry at him. trump is filled for the last four, or five years of my life. and i'm not angry about, if you want to understand it. and so, the anger really
interrupts the ability to find out what happened to. >> he spoke of donald trump, but are you surprised that he was willing to do that? or is not just part of his persona? >> i mean, it is long, and complicated, for the second book, rage, that i did. i did ten hours of interview with him. i could call him, he had a number, this was for eight months or so. he would call on a sunday, and also would answer the phone, and he would say, is bob there? she would say, first time, she said, may i ask who is calling? and he said, it's donald trump. and he was that way. in the end, when i told him,
you aren't going to like the book at all, he said, maybe i will get you in the next book. which, he didn't. but, -- robert costa, and i, for parole, trying to talk to him, and he declined. >> that's a good segue for me here, bob. i'm sorry i can't help pass this around to the audience. it is from september 23rd, 2021. so, it is a very recent document, it is near mr. bannon, it is telling you to produce, firstly ban, and documents that were on, and on, and on, and this is the news right now. i have noticed, on the footnote on the bottom, it has bob woodward, and robert costa, so, now, your book, peril, is part
of history. it is on dealing with the subpoena, going on now, and trying to get documents out of bannon. tell me the back story to that? >> we worked on the book, and we got lots of new information. i don't want to belabor this. it is the catalyst for the whole band and subpoena, for the whole bannon holding in contempt, and so forth. so, they found out that he did all kinds of things with trump, a week before january 6th. the insurrection. that could be sued with trump, it is a washington, very dramatically. it is with the getting off the
ski slopes. it was a crisis, january 6th will be the moment of reckoning. and then, they cast a shadow on the biden presidency. we will strangle it in the crib. so, i mean -- that is not nice. i have talked to some people who were legal experts, and who ran the criminal division, in the justice department. there is a cold case to investigate and, perhaps, prosecute bannon, and trump, in, what is called, u.s. code in section three 71, where it is against the law to conspire
against the federal government, and it's legitimate activities. i mean, this idea that people are working, i mean, it is astonishing. in the end, when you look at this, bannon, and trump, knew that they could not get a certification for trump. but, what they wanted to do was strangle the biden presidency, and, you know, that is against the law. because there is a process, and you get into the weeds here, it is trump, and bannon's efforts to not do with the constitution, the 12th amendment requires, and take this certificates from 50 states, and count them.
and in the end pence did, and that was a wobbly course to get there. it was going to be an interesting issue for the justice department. because, politically, i'm sure, biden, and merrick garland, don't want to be seen going after the former president. but, if there was ever an obstruction of the process of government, this is it. >> that's frightening, and payroll is frightening, and everybody must read it. really, it takes us to where we are at today, and so many ways. but, are you continuing following the narrative thread? are you taking a break once the book out? is bob woodward always emotion? >> would you ask also that question?
yes and no. the whole question, and this is for you, what is the trump presidency going to be known for, in history? we need the evidence, and testimony, of the ban ends, and these other lawyers that we talk about. we talk about the meeting the day before, at the willard hotel in washington. you know? to call republicans, and say, we need to stop the certification of biden when, it turns out, we looked. for months. there is no evidence that this was a stolen election. in fact, the people who investigated senator lindsey graham, and senator mike ali of
utah, big trump supporters, they came up, and they discovered that all of these claims are false. one of the lawyers for trump, actually, wrote a blueprint for a coup, which we have in the book. so. where does this and? history is never over, right? the opportunity to find out more, and define this. >> were you surprised doing research on parole, with bob costa, and let's ask about him in a second. but are you surprised to the trump, still, has so much on january 6th? one would have thought, that would have been the end of donald trump, and he seems to be beyond being alive, and we'll. really, the heart, and the sole, of the republican party.
>> tens of millions of people believe, the election was stolen. so, we are looking. and we looked. we got documentation, we showed, there was nothing there. here we are. a divided america. it is a big, not just historical prompt, but a moral problem for the country. people don't just listen to the other side. graham green, the great british novelist said, do not despise your enemies, or people who are on the other side. they have a case, and you need to understand that case. >> where were you, on january
6th? what was the circumstance? they're watching, it blow by blow. >> boy. let's see. we were working hard, on the book, at that point. so, that is where my head was. >> you are embedded with the washington post? >> we were off. see, we had the luxury, at the time, and robert costa is the best, a young reporter, i have ever encountered. he did our interviews. how often do you do eight hour interviews? >> never. >> caro, all the time. he will sit hours, and hours, looking through things. it was a good lesson for me.
just to spend time against the problem. >> what an honor for bob costa, he is able to collaborate with you. >> they said, one learned how out of touch i was with what was going on, in republican, and democratic parties. on the hill, and it's a lesson for me. >> since we have talked about bob costa, one of our great journalists, it perfectly fits into the question here, in addition to costa. is there any contemporary journalists, you think, are doing exceptional work? with the understanding that you always leave, and you didn't name of until people. is there somebody else that, to really, you keep an eye on? if you are a manager of a ball club you would say, wow, that's a reporter that's going somewhere. >> good question. i have a lot of respect for the
daily reporters at the washington post, our newspaper. the wall street journal, the new york times, the network, cnn, i find, digs into stories, and dug into the book we did. but, i cannot single out. but, i did single out costa. in 2016, we are in the newsroom, and he said, you know, there is this guy, donald trump, running for president, and we are not taking him seriously enough. he said, we ought to interview him. i said, fine. so, we went, and interviewed trump for 90 minutes, and decide, we won't ask him for the news of the day questions, but, talk to him about the presidency. and i got two titles out of
that one interview. we asked, what is real power? and he said, real power is, i don't like to say, it fear. >> real power is fear? >> yes. and the second one, i bring outrage and people, that's what he said. he was proud of it. so, that's the second book. >> we want to know, with the question, and all shorten it, you, and carl bernstein, you guys are tied at the hip in history. are your personal friends? >> we are, and we talk all the time. i read his memoir, his book, it's coming out, chasing history, about his time at the evening star. it is a great book about the
self education of our reporter, and we just talk, the other day, about it. what is going on? >> he is one of your closer friends? >> indeed. >> would you do a more on your whole life? have you considered, with jonathan carp doing the bob woodward story? >> boy -- >> the education involved word? >> you see, the only possible interesting thing about me, are my sources. and i won't disclose those. in most cases. unless they are deceased. >> do you keep your sources on an old-fashioned rolodex? or have you moved to online? how do you protect them? >> a mix. there is signal. do you use ignore, as a
historian? it is a secure -- >> no, but my university did email us that. >> they do, it okay. so, then there is the vpn for internet security. but, you know, nothing is secure. nothing. >> in recent years, you have you felt it so angry out there. have you felt threatened when into a book like peril? do you find ways to protect yourself? you have armor, and you don't hear about somebody who is after bob woodward? >> it's interesting. sometimes, there are hateful things being said, but, i don't think that people look at me because -- >> i spent a lot of time with trump. interviewing trump. it was just last year i spent
all the time. so, i don't think, though he doesn't like the books, but, you know. here is the problem with trump. it's cairo's problem with lyndon johnson. you never get in his head. all you can do is describe behavior. he is the fact man. if you lay out the facts. trump -- what does he think? you know? does he think? no, seriously. . freud says we are a victim, and we define ourselves by our impulses. and, i think, that is absolutely true of trump. >> i've talked with you down at
mar-a-lago, and i asked trump about with books, and he said, i don't rebook. so i said, you must have read a book when you were young. and he said, no, and he had never read a book on lincoln, or on kennedy, and he said, i am a visual person. i learn from television, not from -- bragging about not reading. most people exaggerate with the reading, and he's bragging, i don't read, it's four losers. >> i mean, think of that. she should that not be disqualifying? or at least, somewhat disqualifying for someone seeking the presidency? i have, often, thought that people who want to run for president should go to president school. >> i like that idea. >> spend one week with robert kara. >> usually, people had military
service, and at least, you could work out some of the kings of leadership skills, if you're in the army, or the navy like that. maybe this one, you've touched on, so we can be brief, but what recommendations do you have for everyday citizens? our audience, to avoid misinformation? >> while. that is -- stay off twitter. although, there is some good things on twitter. so, really, it is hard, but, look, i am prejudiced. if you read the washington post, and the wall street journal, the new york times, following the networks, and listening to cnn, listening to fox, it is listen to fox, because you need
to know what is going on. you can get a pretty good idea of what is going on, in various interpretations, that people are applying. >> you are saying things before i can even ask the question. this is about the 24 hour news cycle. is there a problem with 24 hour news? is that causing some of the public mistrust? >> sure. it is. of course. but, the impatience, and the speed of it, it defeated would costa and i did, and tried to do, in this book which is somewhere in between journalism, and history. you have to get in fast. you have to get it in an
authoritative way, that people who subpoena bannon, the chief strategist under trump, know that when we put something into the book, we have a solid basis for it. it is participants, and witnesses, and it is going on about it. but look, the bottom line is, it is what they remain. and it is democracy on trial, here. it is people better taking it seriously. >> so, thank you for your books, and for being a public intellectual, which you are, on forms like this. it helps us. you have, almost, become what
cronkite was, as the most trusted person in america, but it's not that you're the most trusted, like cronkite, but, you are almost an institution into yourself, counting on bob woodward, and bob costa. delivering the goods a year from. now and what's going on. is that a pressure? people need you. >> you are just talking about longevity. staying around for 50 years and don't get hit by a bus. you know you are still in the game. but you need to think about what you are doing and the things you are thinking about working on now and we talked a little bit about this the other day. what happens in germany is that some people don't pick hard targets. and i think you have to take hard targets. back in watergate, i remember,
a lot of journalist say, yeah, nixon probably did it but you will never find out. and you can't find out what goes on on the supreme court or in the cia. you can't find out -- but you can. and it's between journalism and the final history. >> we are winding down here for the last couple of questions. and we mentioned steve bannon here. here's something we would like to know. if you feel the investigation of carter page was an abuse of power? >> it was one of the -- trump people, i don't know enough about it. the whole russian investigation went off the rails and that's why we didn't see, you know,
the mueller report was kind of a bust. >> yeah. >> and there was a lot of focus on it and a lot of emphasis. >> what do you feel are the unanswered questions of the obama administration? >> oh, yeah. well, i did two books on him and one on afghanistan and one on negotiations on the budget. my critique, which is in the second obama book, which he did not like at all -- obama did not find a way to work his -- and presidents need to find a way to work their will. lyndon johnson is the primary -- lyndon johnson, he found a way
to work his will. and i think it's important that the president is elected to do certain things and we now see biden. where is that going? has he found, with all of his experience and so forth, is that an inhibitor or is that something that is benefiting him? that he has not found a way to work his will? and presidents need to know -- i've been elected for reasons. and let's work those reasons. . >> this has been tremendous. thank you, thank you. thank you so much. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you, david.
for those of you who don't know me, i'm dale gregory, vice president for public programs and we thank you all so much for joining us on zoom and in person. this was very special. thank you for joining us on this occasion, bob woodward, doug brinkley, thanks again. >> the robert caro symposium continues. you will hear from the historian later but next a discussion on history and storytelling. >> great. so, good morning, and welcome once again to the new york historical society and our beautiful robert h. smith auditorium. whether you are joining us here in person or on live stream. we've been joined by robin ella curry and i'd like to thank robin and the other trus
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