Robert Redford: We need more Woodwards & Bernsteins

Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

Top Line

It’s been more than 40 years since Watergate, but the old story—and its characters—made news once again with the Washington premiere of Robert Redford’s new documentary about the scandal. And Top Line snagged red carpet interviews with the big stars of the night: Robert Redford, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein.

Redford’s new documentary All the President’s Men Revisited takes a historical look at the scandal—and the investigative reporting by Woodward and Bernstein—that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Redford, who says “we need a lot of people like Woodward and Bernstein” today, hopes the documentary is a good resource for young aspiring reporters who come to journalism in the age of the Internet.

“The Internet changed everything,” says Redford. “There's so many voices claiming the truth, it's harder and harder to get to it.”

While Redford says it’s up to the audience to decide whether modern technology has altered journalism for the better or worse, Woodward and Bernstein agree that the fast pace set by technology sometimes sacrifices thoroughness and accuracy.

When asked how the Watergate story might have been covered differently in the modern day, Woodward replies: “It might be on Twitter, but you can't get what Watergate was about in 140 characters. 40 years ago, we could work two weeks on a story before it had to be published; now it looks like if you have an advance on the story can we get it on the website in 10 minutes.”

They also agree that thorough investigative reporting is still achievable.

“I think there would be some great reporting and emphasis on same techniques that we used, visiting people at night, and then I think there'd also be an awful lot of people who rush out, come to a conclusion without much information,” says Bernstein.

To hear more about the documentary, which will air on the Discovery Channel on May 4th at 10 AM/EST, and to hear how Woodward says he disappointed many dates in the 70’s by not being Robert Redford, check out this episode of Top Line.

ABC's Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, John Bullard, and Mark Rabin contributed to this episode.