Carl Bernstein, of Watergate reporting fame, addressed the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night to speak about the need for good journalism right now, as President Donald Trump's White House has set its sights on the press, making it out as enemy number one. At the dinner, Bernstein largely stayed clear of direct attacks on the president, rather focusing on how the journalists in the room must work harder than ever to report the truth. But on CNN Sunday, Bernstein opened up about Trump, saying he lies more than any other president has in his lifetime — and obviously, that would include Nixon.
The former Washington Post reporter was on CNN's Reliable Sources speaking about the president's treatment of the media with former Trump campaign official Jason Miller, the one who didn't make the move to the White House when allegations arose of his affair with another transition official. On the show, Bernstein decided to be a little more candid about his views on the current president and his administration:
I wish this president well. He is the duly elected president of the United States and he deserves respect ... That doesn’t mean he deserves not to be called on lying. He has lied as no president of the United States in my lifetime has, day in and day out.
Not exactly beating around the bush, is he? That did relate to one of the points that Bernstein made at the Correspondents' Dinner about lying. He didn't call out Trump on Saturday, but he made clear correlations with the Nixon administration; back before the Watergate scandal came out in the news, Bernstein said Nixon was trying to turn the press into the story. He encouraged journalists to follow the lies, in addition to the money.
"Almost inevitably, unreasonable government secrecy is the enemy and usually the giveaway about what the real story might be," Bernstein said at the dinner. "When lying is combined with secrecy, there is usually a pretty good road map in front of us." He reiterated this on CNN: "Follow the money? Yes, but follow the lies as well," Bernstein said.
This is not the first time Bernstein has made a comparison between Nixon and Trump. "Trump's attacks on the American press as enemies of the American people are more treacherous than Richard Nixon's," the veteran reporter said back in February after Trump upped the frequency of his attacks on the media.
Ultimately, that was what Bernstein criticized the most on Sunday — Trump's demonization of the media. He also stood up for his colleagues:
The media, quote, is engaged in what I called last night the best obtainable version of the truth. We are struggling to cover factually, contextually, with nuance, who this president is, who this individual is, who his family is, who his business relationships are with, what his policies are, and how those working with him are doing.
With a president that is constantly lying, as Bernstein alleges, that work is made all the more difficult. Luckily, there are many of those dedicated to reporting the truth no matter what.