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September 29, 2014

American Authentic: Ben Bradlee is 93, ailing and irreplaceable.

You had a lot of Cuban or Spanish-speaking guys in masks and rubber gloves, with walkie-talkies, arrested in the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at 2:00 in the morning. What the hell were they in there for? What were they doing?

--Ben Bradlee

If you read this blog and don't know who Ben Bradlee is, you should, and so we are going pretend that you know anyway. Tons has been written about Bradlee (and will continue to be written about him) due to his colorful management style, years as a reporter, close friendship with President Kennedy and celebrated mentor-editor role in the two years of coverage of the Watergate break-in of June 1972. Patrician yet famously profane and often hilariously bawdy in his language around the newsroom, Bradlee as Managing Editor of the Washington Post (1968-1991) supported reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in their reporting on Watergate which, with Bradlee playing stage manager at the Post, prematurely ended Richard Nixon's presidency. Nixon resigned in August of 1974. There are lots of interesting stories down through the years about Bradlee himself--but lately the news is sad. Based on a recent C-Span interview with Bradlee's wife, soulmate and fellow Post star Sally Quinn, Politico notes that Bradlee, now 93, is suffering from dementia, sleeping most days away in a hospice, and apparently steadily declining. When Bradlee does leave us, there will be no one left in American journalism or letters who is even remotely like him. We will start today rounding up a few of the better stories. Bradlee was a storyteller with a powerful intellect, and he was funny as hell.


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Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee, circa 1971

Posted by JD Hull at September 29, 2014 05:50 AM

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