Benjamin Bradlee, the legendary editor who directed The Washington Post’s Watergate Scandal which led to the resignation of then U.S. President Richard Nixon, died on Tuesday at the age of 93.
He died at his Washington home of natural causes, The Post reported.
Considered one of the greatest editors of his era, Bradlee led The Post for 26 years since 1965 and helped turn it into one of the world’s leading newspapers from the quintessential metropolitan newspaper that it was in the 60’s.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– The Washington Post”]
His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.
The Post said that the newspaper’s circulation “nearly doubled while he was in-charge of the newsroom — first as managing editor and then as executive editor — as did the size of its newsroom staff. And he gave the paper ambition.”
The most riveting story of Mr. Bradlee’s term as editor was undoubtedly Watergate, a political scandal ignited by The Post’s reporting, eventually leading to the sole resignation of a U.S. president in American history.
But the most crucial decision, The Post said, is the one he made with the newspaper’s publisher, Katharine Graham–the publication of stories based on the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon document detailing the history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon government tried to suppress the publication of the stories by filing a case in a federal court, but the Supreme Court later upheld the decision of the newspaper, along with The New York Times, to publish the stories.
During his leadership, The Post catapulted to one of the nation’s top American newspapers, The New York Times reported.
President Barack Obama honored Bradlee’s legacy and recognized his contribution to the American press, as he was quoted having said:
“For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession — it was a public good vital to our democracy. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told — stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better.”
“The standard he set — a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting — encouraged so many others to enter the profession. And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life.”