"If you interviewed 1,000 politicians and asked about whether the media's too soft or too hard, about 999 would say too hard." -- Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur "Bob" Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is regarded as one of America's preeminent investigative reporters and non-fiction authors. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post. While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Woodward was teamed up with Carl Bernstein; the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, has called the work of Woodward and Bernstein "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time."
"A reporter's ability to keep the bond of confidentiality often enables him to learn the hidden or secret aspects of government.""After Nixon resigned in 1974, he engaged in a very aggressive war with history, attempting to wipe out the Watergate stain and memory. Happily, history won, largely because of Nixon's tapes.""Any suggestion that I'm writing about political operatives because I'm interested in political operatives misses the entire point.""Because of Watergate in part, I am kind of a magnet for calls and information and suggestions.""Certain political figures think when you call them and ask them for a comment; that you are somehow doing something that you shouldn't be doing.""Clinton feels a profound alienation from the Washington culture here, and I happen to agree with him.""Clinton... believes that the Washington Press Corps is so out of touch that it is absolutely inconceivable that reporters would understand the issues that people are really dealing with in their lives.""Deep Throat did serve the public interest by providing the guidance and information to us.""Deep Throat was a very unfortunate name given to the source by the managing editor of The Washington Post.""Deep Throat's information, and in my view, courage, allowed the newspaper to use what he knew and suspected.""Even now there is no evidence that anyone involved in the Nixon operation was going to threaten us.""I believe there's too little patience and context to many of the investigations I read or see on television.""I believe Watergate shows that the system did work. Particularly the Judiciary and the Congress, and ultimately an independent prosecutor working in the Executive Branch.""I deal with first-hand sources. And give the people, even John Sununu, the opportunity to respond to what I've been told by first-hand sources.""I don't think it's useful for somebody to argue with reviews.""I don't think there will ever be a permanent truce, but I believe the media needs to be more careful and be willing to count to 10 before rushing on the air or into print.""I don't think voters give a hoot about the character of their political advisors, except to the extent that character reflects on the candidates.""I gave my word that this source would not be identified unless he changed his mind. He has not.""I give lectures for money, but all the money goes to charity. So, I make no money from it.""I have found people don't want to be told. That they can figure it out.""I have gone on the air and announced my telephone number at the Washington Post. I go into the night, talking to people, looking for things. The great dreaded thing every reporter lives with is what you don't know. The source you didn't go to. The phone call you didn't return.""I have written things that Republicans and Democrats and all kinds of figures have either hated or felt very uncomfortable about. Because in doing these long projects and books, you get close to the bone. And they're not calling me up and asking me for dinner.""I recently did the David Letterman Show about my book. He was very serious and made no jokes and it caught me off guard a little bit. He was much more serious than some of the joke shows that journalists get on.""I recently read some of the transcripts of Nixon's Watergate tapes, and they spent hours trying to figure out who was leaking and providing information to Carl and myself.""I suspect there have been a number of conspiracies that never were described or leaked out. But I suspect none of the magnitude and sweep of Watergate.""I think journalism gets measured by the quality of information it presents, not the drama or the pyrotechnics associated with us.""I think people are smart enough to sort it out. They know when they're watching one of these food fight shows where journalists sit around and yell and scream at each other, versus serious issue reporting.""I think that everyone is kind of confused about the information they get from the media and rightly so. I'm confused about the information I get from the media.""I'm not going to name some of my colleagues who are very well-known for their television presentation, but they wouldn't know new information or how to report a story if it came up and bit them.""If information is true, if it can be verified, and if it's really important, the newspaper needs to be willing to take the risk associated with using unidentified sources.""It was accountability that Nixon feared.""It would seem that the Watergate story from beginning to end could be used as a primer on the American political system.""Lawyers didn't seriously get involved in the Watergate stories until quite late, when we realized we were on to something.""Many people have their reputations as reporters and analysts because they are on television, batting around conventional wisdom. A lot of these people have never reported a story.""Newspapers that are truly independent, like The Washington Post, can still aggressively investigate anyone or anything with no holds barred.""Nixon had some large achievements in foreign affairs. They will be remembered. But a president probably gets remembered for one thing, and Watergate will head the Nixon list, I suspect.""Nixon's attempts to order subversion of various departments was bound to come out in some form.""Nixon's grand mistake was his failure to understand that Americans are forgiving, and if he had admitted error early and apologized to the country, he would have escaped.""Not a season passes without new disclosures showing Nixon's numerous attempts at criminal use of his presidential powers and in fact the scorn he held for the rule of law.""People like to pigeonhole and say, Well, I'm a Washington insider, and you know, that's quite silly. What does that even mean?""Some newspapers have a hands-off policy on favored politicians. But it's generally very small newspapers or local TV stations.""Suppose Watergate had not been uncovered? I'd still be on the City Desk.""The biggest rap on me is that I don't find a Watergate every couple of years. Well, Watergate was unique. It's not something Carl Bernstein, I, or the Washington Post caused.""The central dilemma in journalism is that you don't know what you don't know.""The cloud of doubt that surrounds political figures tends to remain and never dissipate or be clarified.""The fact of the Watergate cover-up is not nearly as interesting as the step into making the cover-up. And when you understand the step, you understand that Richard Nixon lied. That he was a criminal.""The failure of the system to deal quickly was attributable to Nixon's lying, stonewalling and refusal to come clean. So it took 26 months for the final truth to be known.""The legislator learns that when you talk a lot, you get in trouble. You have to listen a lot to make deals.""The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.""The source known as Deep Throat provided a kind of road map through the scandal. His one consistent message was that the Watergate burglary was just the tip of the iceberg.""The Washington Times wrote a story questioning the authenticity of some of the suggestions made about me in Silent Coup. But as a believer in the First Amendment, I believe they have more than a right to air their views.""There are people who take rumors and embellish them in a way that can be devastating. And this pollution has to be eradicated by people in our business as best we can.""There is a garbage culture out there, where we pour garbage on people. Then the pollsters run around and take a poll and say, do you smell anything?""There may yet be another Watergate book. I have thought a book about the aftermath of Watergate and its impact could be done, perhaps by me or someone else.""There's hostility to lying, and there should be.""Using these unnamed sources, if done properly, carefully and fairly, provides more accountability in government.""Watergate is an immensely complicated scandal with a cast of characters as varied as a Tolstoy novel.""Watergate provides a model case study of the interaction and powers of each of the branches of government. It also is a morality play with a sad and dramatic ending.""Way before Watergate, senior administration officials hid behind anonymity.""We need to police ourselves in the media.""We're not going to have another Watergate in our lifetime. I'm sure.""When you hear in the tape recordings Nixon's own voice saying, We have to stonewall, We have to lie to the Grand Jury, We have to pay burglars a million dollars, it's all too clear the horror of what went on.""When you practice reporting for as long as I have, you keep yourself at a distance from True Believers. Either conservatives or liberals or Democrats or Republicans.""When you see how the President makes political or policy decisions, you see who he is. The essence of the Presidency is decision-making."
Woodward was born to Jane and Alfred Woodward in Geneva, Illinois. He was a resident of Wheaton, Illinois. He enrolled in Yale University with an NROTC scholarship, and studied history and English literature. While at Yale, Woodward joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He received his B.A. degree in 1965, and began a five-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. After being discharged as a lieutenant in August, 1970, Woodward considered attending law school but applied for a job as a reporter for The Washington Post, while taking graduate courses at The George Washington University. Harry M. Rosenfeld, the Post's metropolitan editor, gave him a two-week trial but did not hire him because of his lack of journalistic experience. After a year at the Montgomery Sentinel, a weekly newspaper in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, Woodward was hired as a Post reporter in September, 1971.
Woodward has authored or coauthored 15 non-fiction books in the last 35 years. All 15 have been national bestsellers and 11 of them have been #1 national non-fiction bestsellers — more #1 national non-fiction bestsellers than any contemporary author. He has written multiple #1 national non-fiction bestsellers on a wide range of subjects in each of the four decades he has been active as an author, from 1974 to 2009.
Woodward's work for the Post and his books, which penetrate deeply into various Washington, D.C. institutions and seven presidencies, are often greeted with initial skepticism, criticism, and even denials. But time and time again, after the record, memoirs and various government investigations are completed, his work has proved to be accurate.
In his 1995 memoir A Good Life, former executive editor of the Post Ben Bradlee singled out Woodward in the foreword. "It would be hard to overestimate the contributions to my newspaper and to my time as editor of that extraordinary reporter, Bob Woodward — surely the best of his generation at investigative reporting, the best I've ever seen. ... And Woodward has maintained the same position on top of journalism's ladder ever since Watergate."
David Gergen, who had worked in the White House during the Richard Nixon and three subsequent administrations said in his 2000 memoir Eyewitness to Power, of Woodward's reporting, "I don't accept everything he writes as gospel — he can get details wrong — but generally, his accounts in both his books and in the Post are remarkably reliable and demand serious attention. I am convinced he writes only what he believes to be true or has been reliably told to be true. And he is certainly a force for keeping the government honest."
Woodward made crucial contributions to two Pulitzer Prizes won by The Washington Post. First he and Bernstein were the lead reporters on Watergate and the Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.
Woodward also was the main reporter for the Post's coverage of the September 11 attacks in 2001. Ten stories won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting — "six carrying the familiar byline of Bob Woodward," noted the New York Times article announcing the awards.
He has been a recipient of nearly every other major American journalism award, including the Heywood Broun award (1972), Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting (1972 and 1986), Sigma Delta Chi Award (1973), George Polk Award (1972), William Allen White Medal (2000), and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on the Presidency (2002).
Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard called Woodward "the best pure reporter of his generation, perhaps ever." In 2003, Albert Hunt of The Wall Street Journal called Woodward "the most celebrated journalist of our age." In 2004, Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, "Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time."
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were assigned to report on the June 17, 1972 burglary of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in a Washington, D.C. office building called Watergate. Their work, under editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, became known for being the first to report on a number of political "dirty tricks" used by the Nixon re-election committee during his campaign for reelection. Their book about the scandal, All the President's Men, became a #1 best-seller and was later turned into a movie. The 1976 film, starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein, transformed the reporters into celebrities and inspired a wave of interest in investigative journalism.
The book and movie also led to one of Washington, D.C.'s most famous mysteries: the identity of Woodward's secret Watergate informant known as Deep Throat, a reference to the title of a popular pornographic movie at the time. Woodward said he would protect Deep Throat's identity until the man died or allowed his name to be revealed. For over 30 years, only Woodward, Bernstein, and a handful of others knew the informant's identity until it was claimed by his family to Vanity Fair magazine to be former Federal Bureau of Investigation Associate Director W. Mark Felt in May 2005. Woodward has confirmed this claim and published a book, titled The Secret Man, which detailed his relationship with Felt.
Woodward and Bernstein followed up with a second successful book on Watergate, entitled The Final Days (Simon and Schuster 1976), covering in extensive depth the period from November 1973 until President Nixon resigned in August 1974.
The Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
George W. Bush administration
Woodward spent more time than any other journalist with former President George W. Bush, interviewing him six times for close to eleven hours total. Woodward's four most recent books, Bush at War (2002), Plan of Attack (2004), State of Denial (2006), and A Secret White House History (2008) are detailed accounts of the Bush presidency, including the response to the September 11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.In a series of articles published in January 2002, he and Dan Balz described the events at Camp David in the aftermath of September 11 and discussed the Worldwide Attack Matrix.
Woodward believed the Bush Administration's claims of Iraqi WMDs prior to the war. During an appearance on Larry King Live, he was asked by a telephone caller "Suppose we go to war and go into Iraq and there are no weapons of mass destruction," Woodward responded "I think the chance of that happening is about zero. There's just too much there."
On February 1, 2008, as a part of the Authors @ Google series, Woodward, who was interviewed by Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt, said that he had a fourth book in his Bush at War series in the making. He then added jokingly that his wife told him that she'll kill him if he decides to write a fifth in the series. YouTube — Authors@Google: Bob Woodward
Woodward's fourth book on the Bush administration, A Secret White House History , was released September 8, 2008.
Involvement in the Plame scandal
On November 14, 2005, Woodward gave a two-hour deposition to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. He testified that a senior administration official told him in June 2003 that Iraq war critic Joe Wilson’s wife (later identified as Valerie Plame), worked for the CIA. Woodward therefore appears to have been the first reporter to learn about her employment (albeit not her name) from a government source. The deposition was reported in The Washington Post on November 16, 2005, and was the first time Woodward revealed publicly that he had any special knowledge about the case. Woodward testified the information was given to him in a “casual” and “offhand” manner, and said that he does not believe it was part of any coordinated effort to “out” Plame as a CIA employee. Later, Woodward's source identified himself. It was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy and an internal critic of the Iraq War and the White House inner circle.
Woodward said the revelation came at the end of a long, confidential background interview for his 2004 book Plan of Attack. He did not reveal the official’s disclosure at the time because it did not strike him as important. Later, he kept it to himself because it came as part of a confidential conversation with a source.
In his deposition, Woodward also said that he had conversations with Scooter Libby after the June 2003 conversation with his confidential Administration source, and testified that it is possible that he might have asked Libby further questions about Joe Wilson’s wife before her employment at the CIA and her identity were publicly known.
Woodward apologized to Leonard Downie, Jr., the editor of The Washington Post for not informing him earlier of the June 2003 conversation. Downie accepted the apology and said even had the paper known it would not have changed its reporting.
Other professional activities
Woodward has continued to write books and report stories for The Washington Post, and serves as an associate editor at the paper. He focuses on the presidency, intelligence, and Washington institutions such as the U.S. Supreme Court, The Pentagon, and the Federal Reserve. He also wrote the book Wired, about the Hollywood drug culture and the death of comic John Belushi.
Woodward often uses unnamed sources in his reporting for the Post and in his books. Using extensive interviews with firsthand witnesses, documents, meeting notes, diaries, calendars and other documentation, Woodward attempts to construct a seamless narrative of events, most often told through the eyes of the key participants.
Nicholas von Hoffman has made the criticism that "arrestingly irrelevant detail is [often] used," while Michael Massing believes Woodward's books are "filled with long, at times tedious passages with no evident direction." Christopher Hitchens of Salon.com has dismissed him as a "stenographer to the stars."
Joan Didion has leveled the most comprehensive criticism of Woodward, in a lengthy September 1996 essay in The New York Review of Books. Though "Woodward is a widely trusted reporter, even an American icon," she says that he assembles reams of often irrelevant detail, fails to draw conclusions, and make judgments. "Measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent" from his books after Watergate from 1979 to 1996, she said. She said the books are notable for "a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured." She ridicules "fairness" as "a familiar newsroom piety, the excuse in practice for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking." All this focus on what people said and thought — their "decent intentions" — circumscribes "possible discussion or speculation," resulting in what she called "political pornography."
The Post's Richard Harwood defended Woodward in a September 6, 1996 column, arguing that Woodward's method is that of a reporter — "talking to people you write about, checking and cross-checking their versions of contemporary history," and collecting documentary evidence in notes, letters and records."
Criticisms of content
Woodward has been accused of exaggeration and fabrication, most notably regarding "Deep Throat", his famous Watergate informant. Even since W. Mark Felt was announced as the true identity behind Deep Throat, John Dean and Ed Gray, in separate publications, have used Woodward's book All The President's Men and his published notes on his meetings with Deep Throat to show that Deep Throat could not have been only Mark Felt. They argued that Deep Throat was a fictional composite made up of several Woodward sources, only one of whom was Felt. Gray, in his book In Nixon's Web, even goes so far as to publish an e-mail and telephone exchange he had with Donald Santarelli, a Washington lawyer who was a justice department official during Watergate, in which Santarelli confirmed to Gray that he was the source behind statements Woodward recorded in notes he has attributed to Deep Throat.
J. Bradford DeLong has noticed strong inconsistencies between the accounts of the making of Clinton economic policy described both in Woodward's book Maestro and his book The Agenda.
Some of Woodward's critics accuse him of abandoning critical inquiry to maintain his access to high-profile political actors. Anthony Lewis called the style "a trade in which the great grant access in return for glory." Christopher Hitchens accused Woodward of acting as "stenographer to the rich and powerful."
Woodward believed the Bush Administration's claims of Iraqi WMDs prior to the war, and the publication of the book My Years at the CIA by former DCI George Tenet led Woodward to engage in a rather tortuous account of the extent of his pre-war conversations with Tenet in an article in The New Yorker Magazine in which he also chastised New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd for being critical of him. Letter From Washington: Woodward vs. Tenet: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker
Woodward's dual role as journalist and author has opened him up to occasional criticism for sitting on information for publication in a book, rather than presenting it sooner when it might affect the events at hand. In The Commanders (1991), for instance, he indicated that Colin Powell had opposed Operation Desert Storm, yet Woodward did not publish this information before Congress voted on a war resolution. And in Veil, he indicates that former CIA Director William J. Casey personally knew of arms sales to the Contras, but he did not reveal this until after the Congressional investigation.
Martin Dardis, the chief investigator for the Dade County State Attorney, who in 1972 discovered that the money found on the Watergate burglars came from the Committee to Re-elect the President, has complained that All the President's Men misrepresented him.
A review by Anthony Lewis in The New York Review of Books challenged the claim in The Brethren (written by Woodward and Scott Armstrong) that Supreme Court Justice William Brennan once voted in a way he thought was wrong to avoid hurting the feelings of Justice Blackmun. Woodward and Armstrong insisted they had one of Brennan's clerks confirm the story on the record; Lewis interviewed everyone who clerked that term; all found the story false or implausible. Woodward showed the notes he'd taken on the subject to a third-party; the notes themselves were unclear but Lewis located the source of the notes who insisted that Woodward misrepresented him.
Woodward was also accused of fabricating his deathbed interview with Casey, as described in Veil; critics say the interview simply could not have taken place as written in the book. Following Casey's death, President Ronald Reagan wrote: "[Woodward]'s a liar and he lied about what Casey is supposed to have thought of me." However, the CIA's own internal report found that Casey spoke to Woodward 43 times, sometimes alone at Casey's home, and his deputy Bob Gates wrote in his own book that he was able to communicate with Casey at that same time and quoted Casey making short statements similar to those reported by Woodward. The author Ronald Kessler reported similar findings in his book on the CIA.
Commentator David Frum has said, perhaps partly tongue-in-cheek, that Washington officials can learn something about the way Washington works from Woodward's books: "From his books, you can draw a composite profile of the powerful Washington player. That person is highly circumspect, highly risk averse, eschews new ideas, flatters his colleagues to their face (while trashing them to Woodward behind their backs), and is always careful to avoid career-threatening confrontation. We all admire heroes, but Woodward's books teach us that those who rise to leadership are precisely those who take care to abjure heroism for themselves."
Despite these criticisms and challenges, Woodward has been praised as an authoritative and balanced journalist. The New York Times Book Review said in 2004 that "No reporter has more talent for getting Washington’s inside story and telling it cogently."
Bob Woodward regularly gives speeches to industry lobbying groups, such as the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Bob Woodward’s Moonlighting — By Ken Silverstein (Harper's Magazine) Woodward commands speaking fees "rang[ing] from $15,000 to $60,000" and donates them to his personal foundation, the Woodward Walsh Foundation, which donates to charities including Sidwell Friends School. David Broder’s and Bob Woodward’s Lame Alibis — By Ken Silverstein (Harper's Magazine) Washington Post policy prohibits "speaking engagements without permission from department heads" but Woodward insists that the policy is "fuzzy and ambiguous".
Woodward now lives in the Georgetown section of Washington. He is married to Elsa Walsh, a writer for The New Yorker and the author of Divided Lives: The Public and Private Struggles of Three American Women. He has two daughters.
Woodward still maintains a listed number in the Washington, D.C. phone directory. He says this is because he wants any potential news source to be able to reach him.
Woodward has co-authored or authored twelve #1 national best-selling non-fiction books, They are:
All the President's Men — about the Watergate scandal; (1974) ISBN 0-671-21781-X, 25th Anniversary issue in (1999) ISBN 0-684-86355-3; written with Carl Bernstein
The Final Days — about Nixon's resignation; (1976) ISBN 0-671-22298-8; written with Carl Bernstein
The Brethren — about the Supreme Court in the Warren E. Burger years; (1979) ISBN 0-671-24110-9; written with Scott Armstrong
Wired — on the death of John Belushi and the Hollywood drug culture; (1984) ISBN 0-671-47320-4
Veil — about the CIA's "secret wars" during the reign of William J. Casey; (1987) ISBN 0-671-60117-2
The Commanders — on The Pentagon, the first Bush administration and the Gulf War; (1991) ISBN 0-671-41367-8
The Agenda — about Bill Clinton's first term; (1994) ISBN 0-7432-7407-5
Shadow — on the legacy of Watergate and the scandals that faced later Presidential administrations; (1999) ISBN 0-684-85262-4
Bush at War — about the path to war with Afghanistan following September 11; (2002) ISBN 0-7432-0473-5
Plan of Attack — about how and why President George W. Bush decided to go to war with Iraq; (2004) ISBN 0-7432-5547-X
Bush at War, Part III — which revealed some interesting information about the Bush administration and the War in Iraq. Highly controversial, it appeared on the Today show just before its release; (2006) ISBN 0-7432-7223-4
A Secret White House History — (2008) ISBN 1-4165-5897-7
Obama's Wars — about the Obama administration's handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; (2010)
Other books, which have also been best-sellers but not #1, are:
The Choice — about Clinton's re-election bid; (1996) ISBN 0-684-81308-4
Maestro — about Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan; (2000) ISBN 0-7432-0412-3
The Secret Man — about Mark Felt's disclosure, after more than thirty years, that he was Deep Throat. The book was written before Felt admitted his title, as he was sickly and Bob expected that someway or another, it would come out; (2005) ISBN 0-7432-8715-0
Newsweek has excerpted five of Woodward's books in cover stories; 60 Minutes has done segments on five; and three have been made into movies.
Criticism of Bob Woodward
Rich, Frank. "All the President's Flacks," The New York Times. (December 4, 2005)
On The Simpsons episode "Whacking Day", Bart reads a book called The Truth About Whacking Day, written by Bob Woodward.
In the movie The Skulls, the character Will Beckford tries to compare himself to Woodward while reading his column in the school newspaper.
In the movie Dick, which is about Watergate, Woodward is played by actor/comedian Will Ferrell. Woodward and Bernstein are depicted as two bickering, childish near-incompetents, small-mindedly competitive with each other.
In the movie Wired, adapted from Woodward's book Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, Woodward is portrayed onscreen by J. T. Walsh.
The graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore is set in a version of 1985 where Nixon is a fifth-term president. A throwaway line reveals that a pair of unknown journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, were found murdered in a garage in the early 1970s. This same scenario is used as a dystopian detail in Back to the Future 2.In the episodic video game The End is Nigh, telling about events before the graphic novel, Rorschach and Nite Owl II find Woodward and Bernstein dead in the crime lord Underboss' car's trunk.
Woodward scripted the "Der Roachenkavalier" episode of Hill Street Blues that aired on February 3, 1987.
In one Bloom County series, Woodward writes a fictional expose about the late Bill the Cat's "ugly, sordid private life", based entirely on information he got out of Opus the Penguin (although Mickey Mouse and Charlie Brown also appear to have something to do with it). A three-Sunday strip-long mockumenatry based on the Woodward book was used later to explain how Bill came back to life after dying in a car crash.
In "The Long Lead Story", episode 5 of the NBC television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Matthew Perry's character Matt Albie is talking to reporter Martha O'Dell, played by Christine Lahti. She points to his show board and says, "The Lobster sketch isn't funny yet," to which he replies, "Tell me something else I don't know, Woodward"; a sarcastic jab at O'Dell's decision to report on a sketch-comedy show despite being a Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter.
In The Wire episode "React Quotes", a borderline-incompetent journalist is referred to as "not exactly Bob Woodward."
In multiple episodes of Gilmore Girls they refer to Woodward, Ben Bradlee, Bernstein, and All the President's Men.
In the film Watchmen, The Comedian states while shooting at a riot saying " Ain't had this much fun since Woodward & Bernstein."
In the film Assassination of a High School President, main character Bobby Funke's style is in inspiration of Woodward & Bernstein