Plenty has been said about the “war” between the media and President Donald Trump.
While conversations about “fake news,” Russian collusion, and impeachment seem to make headlines almost daily, one of the most oft-repeated discussions has become the comparison between the Trump presidency and the Watergate scandal.
In fact, as Mediaite noted Wednesday, the term “Watergate” has been mentioned no less than “a combined 710 times in the past two weeks on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.”
For all those comparisons, however, some of the most steadfast objections to the media's treatment of the Trump administration have emerged from a man who was on the very front lines of the Watergate scandal: Washington Post editor and reporter Bob Woodward.
Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal alongside Carl Bernstein in 1973, sat down with Axios's Mike Allen on Wednesday to talk about the current media climate.
When Allen asked the famed reporter to reflect on a comment he made during the White House Correspondents' Dinner — specifically when he told the media that “this is no time for self-satisfaction or smugness” — Woodward replied:
"Yes, I think that's a giant problem.
On television particularly, you will see a White House correspondent deliver a report and then 'the Trump White House said...' and then there's a kind of smug smile — which is the correspondent undermining what the White House says.
There may be grounds for that, but it should be reported, it should be straight."
Woodward went on to relay a story from his Watergate investigation when he and Bernstein realized that then-President Richard Nixon was likely on a road to impeachment.
Nonetheless, the duo agreed that they “can never use that word in this newsroom because they will think we're on a crusade.”
For what it's worth, it's not the first time that Woodward has lashed out at what he calls the media's “hyperventilation” over Trump, warning his colleagues to stop “binge drinking the anti-Trump Kool-Aid.”
In the end, Woodward says he worries about what will happen to the media if they continue down this road of having a perceived bias, saying:
“I worry, I worry for the business, for the perception of the business, not just Trump supporters, they see that smugness … I think you can ride both horses, intensive inquiry, investigation, not letting up … at the same time, realize that it's not our job to do an editorial on this.”
As Woodward says, the media need to stop viewing the new administration as a “try out,” adding that Trump is “probably going to be president for a full term, four years, maybe even more.”