In journalism, Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein are celebrities. Together, they exposed the secrets behind the infamous Watergate scandal. Like a pair of journalists turned private-eyes, these two Washington Post reporters hunted down sources and facts that would inextricably link Nixon and his CRP campaign to five burglars who had been arrested at the Watergate Hotel. Woodward and Berstein were persistent, publishing stories that showed connections between the president and the burglary, despite the lack of hard evidence (http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/woodstein/post/). They certainly obtained results, but it could be argued that their methods were not ethically sound. The investigation of Woodward and Bernstein raises the question, at what cost should journalists pursue the truth? Were the illegal methods used to obtain information about the Watergate scandal worth the results of the investigation and the long-term effects on the field of journalism?
According to Rodger Streitmatter, author of Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History, Woodward and Bernstein “begged, lied, badgered sources, and, on occasion, broke the law” to obtain their valuable information about Watergate (http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/618/watergate-and-the-washington-post-questionable-tactics-in-service-to-democracy ). They wiretapped some sources, lied and pretended to be other people and gained access to credit card information during their investigation. If Woodward’s and Bernstein’s suspicions had not been correct and if Nixon’s campaign group had not been linked to the burglary, it is unlikely that the invasions of privacy that the reporters committed would have gone unpunished. Yet, in some ways, regardless of how dubious the methods of gathering facts, it is undeniable that Woodward and Bernstein changed the face of journalism. After the Watergate story was published and Woodward and Bernstein became renowned for their work, investigative reporting became very popular. Journalism became recognized as a true career; it gave way to the hey-day of investigative journalism. (http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2012/06/watergate-burgard/ ) These results may be worth the unsavory methods used to investigate the story, because Woodward and Bernstein not only created one of the most famous stories in investigative journalism, they also increased the popularity of the field as a whole.