Ben Bradlee

We went to the ceremony at City University for the award of an honorary degree to a living legend, Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post and of imperishable Watergate fame:  he was the editor who supported and encouraged Woodward and Bernstein in their investigation, resisting intense pressures to call them off, and in so doing brought down a President.  In his encomium the university’s Vice-Chancellor recalled that Bradlee had been portrayed in the film All the President’s Men by Jason Robards.  Bradlee’s performance in his acceptance speech, and in the subsequent panel discussion of media freedom (chaired by the ever loquacious James Naughtie), suggested that he should have been allowed to play himself in the film:  tough, funny, wise, honest, relaxed.  "Ah, did you once see Bradlee plain?", as Browning might have asked.  Yes, we did.