- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Among the members of the Beltway “chattering class” attending Monday night’s VIP screening of “Frost/Nixon,” the new Ron Howard film, was journalism legend Ben Bradlee, a key figure in The Washington Post’s exposure of the Watergate scandal.

In 1977, Sir David Frost dueled President Nixon in a series of highly rated interviews that made television history. Mr. Nixon admitted making mistakes while in office and handing his enemies “the sword” they needed to run him through — but the debate continues about whether Mr. Nixon ever admitted criminal wrongdoing or sincerely apologized.

In dramatizing the interviews, the film portrays Mr. Frost, the British television host and bon vivant, as putting the disgraced former president on “trial” for his Watergate actions and maneuvering him into a corner where he was forced to accept responsibility for the scandal and apologize for having let down the American people.

Related article: Fox’s Wallace defends Bush at screening

Mr. Bradlee, who appeared grim-faced during the film, was having none of it. “They [the filmmakers] never should have let him apologize in the film,” he said tersely after the screening. “Nixon never was sorry for what he did.”

Mr. Bradlee, of course, was executive editor of The Washington Post in the 1970s and managed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s reporting of the Watergate break-in and cover-up, the scandal that culminated when Mr. Nixon resigned from office in August 1974 rather than face almost certain impeachment and conviction in Congress.

For more, check out the blog entry from ‘Out of Context’: “Bradlee hits ‘Frost/Nixon’ for Nixon apology.”

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