Legendary Journalist Carl Bernstein to Deliver 40th Annual Tresolini Lecture

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist joins a long line of influential scholars to speak at this annual event.

Story by

Linda Harbrecht

Carl Bernstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and political analyst, will deliver the 40th Annual Tresolini Lecture, slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center. The lecture will be free and open to the public.

Carl Bernstein

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein

The Rocco J. Tresolini Lectureship in Law was established in 1978, in memory of one of Lehigh’s most distinguished teachers and scholars, Rocco Tresolini (1920-1967), who served as professor and chair of the department of government. Bernstein will be the latest in a long line of luminaries to deliver the Tresolini Lecture. These include veteran journalist Bill Moyers, public intellectual Cornel West, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, former Vietnam War-era strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, Presumed Innocent author Scott Turow, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Watergate-era White House Counsel John Dean, Bush v. Gore attorney David Boies and Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck.

Political Science Professor and Chair Brian L. Fife said that the department’s faculty and staff are delighted that Bernstein has agreed to come to Lehigh to present the 40th lecture in the distinguished Tresolini series.

“Citizens in this country are at a critical juncture today, similar to our predecessors in the early 1970s,” Fife said. “In a democracy, our leaders must be accountable to the people. It is up to journalists to provide Americans with the information we need to do our jobs as citizens. Mr. Bernstein has excelled throughout his career as an investigative journalist, and he will reflect on the role that journalists play in democracies by comparing the Nixon and Trump presidencies. It promises to be an engaging evening for Lehigh and for the local community as well.”

One of the Most Influential Journalists of the Century

Bernstein has earned the distinction of being one of the most influential journalists of the 20th centuryprimarily through his role in reporting, along with fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, on the Watergate scandal. Their reporting ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and inspired generations of journalists to take up the craft of investigative reporting. Their work earned the reporters and the Post a Pulitzer Prize, and was heralded by veteran journalist Gene Roberts as “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.”

Since then, Bernstein has continued to write, report and offer commentary on the inner workings of government, politics, and the hidden stories of Washington and its leaders. With Woodward, Bernstein wrote All the President’s Men (made into a movie starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein) about their coverage of the Watergate story, and The Final Days, about the denouement of the Nixon presidency. He continued to build on the theme he and Woodward first explored in the Nixon years—the use and abuse of power in politics, media, finance, culture and religion. Renowned as a prose stylist, he has also written a classic biography of Pope John Paul II, served as the founding editor of the first major political website, and been a rock critic. Bernstein is currently an on-air contributor for CNN and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine. His most recent book is the national best-seller A Woman-In-Charge: The Life of Hillary Clinton

In all, Bernstein authored five best-selling books, and is currently at work on several multi-media projects, including a memoir about growing up at a Washington newspaper, The Evening Star, during the Kennedy era, and a dramatic TV series about the United States Congress for HBO.

Earlier in his career, he crafted a masterful look of his family’s experience in the McCarthy era, titled Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir. From 1977-78, Bernstein spent a year investigating the CIA’s secret relationship with the American press during the Cold War. The resulting 25,000-word article for Rolling Stone, titled “The CIA and the Media,” was the first to examine a subject long- suppressed by both American newspapers and the intelligence community. He also proved to be a prescient critic of his own profession through a now-famous essay, “The Triumph of Idiot Culture,” a 1992 cover story for The New Republic about increasing sensationalism, gossip and manufactured controversy as staples of the American press.

A lesser-known part of Bernstein’s journalistic career is his tenure as a rock-critic at The Washington Post while a metro reporter before Watergate; he continues to occasionally write about rock and classical music. Bernstein was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and began his journalism career at age 16 as a copyboy for The Washington Evening Star, becoming a reporter at 19. 

Story by

Linda Harbrecht

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