On March 12, nearly 900 students, faculty, staff and other guests heard award-winning journalist and author Bob Woodward warn that a government shrouded in secrecy has the potential to undo democracy. Woodward's lecture took place in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium, and concluded Eastern's 2012-13 Arts and Lecture Series' 12th season.
"We overlook reality if the truth comes from people we don't like," said Woodward, who along with Carl Bernstein won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for their book, "All the President's Men." The book helped expose the Watergate scandal and the subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
Woodward, who CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer of CBS News called "the best reporter of our time; maybe the best reporter of all time," reflected back on the Nixon era. "Nixon had microphones everywhere in the Oval Office. The tapes were chilling. Here you had a man who was using the President's Office as a method of personal revenge. His attitude was 'let's screw somebody or remove somebody who was not a supporter. Break into that office! Crack that safe!' All this from a man who called himself the 'law and order' president."
Woodward, who has worked for The Washington Post since 1971, said, "The truth is being drowned out. Unnecessary secrecy by our government, not knowing what's going on, is bad for the country. Business is done in darkness is frightening. Democracies die in darkness. We'll lose our democracy if it's not stopped."
Woodward's most recent book, "The Price of Politics" is an examination of how President Obama and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress tried to restore the American economy and improve the federal government's fiscal condition. Woodward noted that President Obama says the current sequestration, which will result in an automatic $1.2 trillion dollar cuts, was not his idea, even though evidence shows otherwise.
"Washington, DC is dysfunctional today. It's astonishing that Congressman Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, has never even met Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. No wonder there is no communication, and we are having a breakdown in government of untold magnitude," Woodward said.
Woodward said journalists must answer their calling and have the courage to hold people accountable. He said journalists face many challenges. "What's going on in the world -- North Korea, Egypt, North Africa, and Pakistan with 200 nuclear weapons -- is truly dangerous."