A blog reader asked me to comment on Carl Bernstein's speech last night at the Main Library in Little Rock.
Famous for breaking the Watergate story with Bob Woodward at the Washington Post, Bernstein was in town to deliver the Fred K. Darragh Distingushed Lecture.
He spoke for over an hour, but his most cogent point was that the media has not failed to expose the failings of the current Bush administration. The lies, incompetence and corruption have been catalogued in detail. In fact, Bernstein repeatedly said the reporting today is better than it was when he was writing about Watergate.
The difference is that, during the Nixon administration, Congress and government agencies acted on the information. And it was the congressional Republicans who stood up to Nixon and actively participated in the hearings that led to his resignation. You don't see that happening today.
[image-2]So it's not that we don't know what is going on. It's that the people in power aren't doing anything about it.
Bernstein also struck an optimistic note about the role of the Internet and blogs in journalism. We'll always have the mainstream media, he said. But blogs are giving voice to people who feel marginalized, energizing young people about the political process and contributing important perspectives and information that might not otherwise make it into the news.