Veteran reporter Carl Bernstein on Sunday questioned whether he and colleague Bob Woodward would have been fired in today's media climate for a mistake in their coverage of the Watergate scandal.
"We said that the principal assistant of the president of the United States had been implicated in grand jury testimony. In fact, he had not been implicated in grand jury testimony. Today, I wonder if we would have been fired for that mistake instead of continuing on the story,” Bernstein said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
“We are in a hot house ... and attacking the press is the basic element that too many demagogues in our culture have used to whip up this cold civil war and especially to appeal to the base of the president of the United States,” he continued.
His comments follow calls from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE for specific reporters to be fired for recent errors.
Trump on Saturday called for The Washington Post to fire one of its reporters, Dave Weigel, after he apologized for posting a misleading photo from the president’s Friday rally in Florida.
At the rally, Trump said ABC News should have fired correspondent Brian Ross after the network had to correct Ross’s report that Trump directed former national security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the campaign. The story was corrected to say that Flynn was ordered to make contact after the election. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling.
Ross has been suspended for four weeks without pay.
Trump has frequently labeled outlets such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post “fake news.”
Bernstein said Sunday that despite recent mistakes from mainstream media outlets, the press has largely done a good job accurately covering Trump.
“Reporters, journalists make mistakes. Our record as journalists in covering this Trump story and the Russian story is pretty good. Especially compared to the record of Donald Trump and his serial lying,” Bernstein said.