Sometimes referred to as the country’s “most dangerous editor,” Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee was largely credited with taking down President Richard Nixon in 1974 after the Post broke the Watergate story, exposing the largest political scandal in American history.
Told primarily in his own words, The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee is an intimate portrait of this formidable man, tracing his remarkable ascent from a young Boston boy stricken with polio to the one of the most pioneering and consequential journalistic figures of the 20th century.
Ben Bradlee’s career spanned the most critical moments of the second half of the 20th century. As a foreign correspondent for Newsweek in the ‘50s, Bradlee cut his teeth reporting from the frontlines of wars in the Middle East. In Washington, he befriended young Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy and later gained unprecedented access to the White House. By the ‘70s, he had transformed the Washington Post from an undistinguished local paper into a national powerhouse, publishing the Pentagon Papers, breaking Watergate and challenging the New York Times for supremacy.
Taking on the political establishment and ushering in a new era of investigative journalism, the tough-talking, chain-smoking Bradlee came to epitomize the modern newspaper editor. Today, when the First Amendment and the press are under constant attack, Bradlee’s fortitude in the face of withering criticism has never been more relevant.
The Newspaperman delves into the highs and lows of Bradlee’s personal life and career, and features previously unseen home movies, photographs, archival footage and interviews with a who’s who of American journalism, Washington insiders and family and friends who knew him best, including: Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Quinn Bradlee, Courtland Milloy, David Maraniss, David Remnick, Don Graham, George Vaillant, Henry Kissinger, Ben Bradlee Jr., Jim Hoagland, Jim Lehrer, John Dean, Norman Lear, Richard Cohen, Robert Kaiser, Robert Redford, Sally Bedell Smith, Sally Quinn, Tina Brown and Tom Brokaw.
John Maggio (Looking for Lincoln) directs; Peter Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt and George Kunhardt (HBO’s Emmy-winning Jim: The James Foley Story) produce. In addition to Jim: The James Foley Story, Kunhardt Films’ HBO credits include the Emmy-nominated Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words, the Emmy-nominated Gloria: In Her Own Words and the Emmy-winning Teddy: In His Own Words.
The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee is a co-production of HBO and Kunhardt Films; executive produced by Peter Kunhardt and Richard Cohen; produced by Teddy Kunhardt and George Kunhardt; co-produced by Sophie Goulding & Quinn Bradlee; directed by John Maggio. For HBO: senior producer, Jacqueline Glover; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.