Segments in this Video

"A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures" (03:54)


Benjamin Bradlee began his memoirs in 1994; this video contains quotes from the autobiography and interviews throughout. In October 1940, W.T. Grant began a study to understand the factors that led to intelligent living; Bradlee participated.

Milestones in Bradlee's Life (03:17)

Bradlee contracted polio at the age of 14. On August 8, 1942, he graduated Harvard, married Jean Saltonstall, and was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve; he became Officer of the Deck. Bradlee discovered leadership skills and a lack of fear.

Bradlee's First Newspaper Job (03:11)

In August 1948, Jean gave birth to Benjamin Bradlee Jr. In December, Bradlee got a newspaper job and moved to Washington; he was assigned to municipal court. Hear an excerpt from the Grant Study about Bradlee's psyche and desire to be a foreign correspondent.

Foreign Correspondent (05:18)

In 1953, Bradlee was offered the job of Newsweek European correspondent. He enjoyed living in France and reveled in his sexuality; he had an affair with a friend's wife. In 1954, Bradlee fell in love with Antoinette (Tony) Pinchot Pitmen.

Bradlee Returns to Washington (05:44)

Bradlee and Tony married in 1956 and Bradlee returned to the Newsweek Bureau. He and Tony became close friends with John and Jackie Kennedy. JFK's presidency was an exciting but confusing time for Bradlee.

Assassination of the President (03:50)

In 1962, JFK gave Bradlee the scoop on the story that Francis Gary Powers was traded for Rudolf Abel. The Bradlees and the Kennedys spent a day together a week before the president's trip to Texas. Bradlee struggled with JFK's death.

Mary Pinchot Meyer (04:21)

A few months after JFK's assassination, Bradlee's sister-in-law was murdered. Her diary stated she had an affair with the president; Bradlee did not consider reporting the story. Experts reflect on the president's extra marital activities.

Major News in the U.S. (04:01)

Goldwater called for bombing in Vietnam while crowds in America protested. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, triggering riots; Robert Kennedy was killed three months later. Richard Nixon became president and Bradlee became editor of "The Washington Post; Bradlee invented "Style."

Pentagon Papers (06:53)

In 1971, the "New York Times" released a story about the depth of America's involvement in Vietnam. An injunction halted the "Times'" publication of the papers so "The Washington Post" began publishing installments; the Justice Department obtained another injunction. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the two newspapers.

Fire Bradlee? (02:09)

Katherine Graham received negative letters about Bradlee's involvement with "The Washington Post"; Bradlee wrote return letters. Bradlee had a drive to know the truth and reveal the facts.

Watergate Story (07:07)

In 1972, five people were arrested for breaking into the DNC headquarters. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigated the story and discovered a White House connection; "The Washington Post" was the only newspaper investigating the story.

"The Washington Post" vs. Nixon (05:19)

President Richard Nixon won reelection; he retaliated against the newspaper. Bradlee feared the Watergate story would lose momentum and be forgotten. Top White House aides were fired; Bradlee wanted to expose Nixon as a liar.

Watergate Panel Hearings (04:29)

A Senate committee investigated the Watergate scandal and subpoenaed the White House tapes; Nixon refused and impeachment became a possibility. Bradlee acknowledged that the press would be blamed for something bad happening during the presidency. Nixon resigned the presidency.

"All the President's Men" (05:30)

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford portrayed Woodward and Bernstein in the movie; Jason Robards portrayed Bradlee. Bradlee was skeptical of Hollywood. Sally Quinn and Bradlee fell in love and married in October 1978.

Newspaper Newsroom (02:33)

"All the President's Men" interested people in journalism. Many sought jobs at "The Washington Post;" hear stories from former Post reporters.

"Jimmy's World" (09:01)

Janet Cooke joined "The Washington Post." She wrote an article which won a Pulitzer Prize; the story turned out to be fabricated. Bradlee was severely criticized over Cooke and he asked Bill Green to report the story exactly as it happened.

Bradlee's Introspection (04:41)

At the age of 61, Bradlee became a father again; Quinn was born with velocardiofacial syndrome. In July 1991, Bradlee retired from "The Washington Post."

Bradlee's Legacy (03:55)

In his autobiography, Bradlee recounts his life during significant moments in American history; he died in 2014. Hear Bradlee's lesson for many and his letter to a high school student.

Credits: The Newspaper Man (01:25)

Credits: The Newspaper Man

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The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee

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This feature documentary tells the fascinating story of one of America’s most influential and celebrated newspaper editors, utilizing rare home movies and photos, archival material spanning over 70 years, interview footage with family and colleagues, and voice-overs of passages from Ben Bradlee’s 1995 autobiography A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures, to chart the career and personal life of a man who freely admitted he had been “dealt an awfully good hand.” A Harvard-educated scion of a prominent Boston family, Bradlee found himself at the center of many of the 20th Century’s most seismic storms, including: World War II (he was a Navy officer in the Pacific theater); the ascension and assassination of John F. Kennedy (Bradlee and his wife were extremely close with Jack and Jackie); the First Amendment fight to publish the Pentagon Papers (detailing secret strategies of the U.S. military in Vietnam) in The New York Times and Bradlee’s newspaper, The Washington Post; and the fall of Richard Nixon after the Post’s electrifying Watergate revelations. As a result, Bradlee was cast as the country’s most prominent (and possibly only) celebrity newspaperman, apologist (he had to admit a 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning Post story was bogus), and elder statesman preaching the gospel of good journalism: “not to be loved, but to go after the truth.”

Length: 90 minutes

Item#: FMK145185

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.