BERNSTEIN, CARL (1944– ), U.S. investigative reporter. Born in Washington, d.c., Bernstein, with Bob Woodward, succeeded, with their disclosures of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, in helping to end the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, who resigned in disgrace rather than face impeachment.
After attending the University of Maryland from 1961 to 1964, Bernstein worked as a reporter for the Washington Star. He joined the Elizabeth (n.j.) Daily Journal in 1965 and worked until the following year as a reporter and columnist before joining the Washington Post, where he worked as a reporter for ten years, ending in 1976. Bernstein was a reporter for six years before he began work on one of the most important news stories of the 20th century. He covered local county and municipal governments, and liked to write long articles about Washington's people and neighborhoods. Although he was not assigned to the story of the break-in at the Watergate complex headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on June 17, 1972, he wrote an accompanying story about the five burglary suspects to complement Woodward's coverage of the break-in. He then persuaded his editors to let him cover leads that Woodward was not following. After Bernstein traced the origin of a $25,000 payment to the burglars back to the Republican re-election committee, he and Woodward began working together. At first the relationship was testy but they agreed they had to discover more about the story, and began to cooperate. They labeled one anonymous source Deep Throat and vowed not to disclose his/her identity. As the Watergate stories began to implicate high officials in the Nixon administration, White House officials denied the stories vigorously. The pair worked on the story almost alone for a year. In March 1973, a letter from one of the burglars, James McCord, to the judge presiding over a grand jury, implicated highly placed administration officials in perjury and use of political pressure, confirming Woodward and Bernstein's reporting. The reporters wrote All the President's Men, recounting their exhaustive and exclusive reporting, and the account was a huge bestseller. It became a major motion picture, with Robert Redford portraying Woodward and Dustin *Hoffman playing Bernstein.
Within a week of Nixon's resignation, Woodward and Bernstein began writing The Final Days, a chronicle of the last 15 months of Nixon's presidency, culminating in the resignation in August 1974. The book was heavily criticized for its use of "backstairs gossip" and for alleged tastelessness. And some denied their quoted statements, although Bernstein, backing the reporting, said that some of these sources were likely to deny that they had been interviewed. Both books had major sales in the United States and abroad.
His marriage to the writer-turned-film director Nora *Ephron ended in divorce, as did his first marriage. Ephron used the marriage as the basis of her novel Heartburn, which became a film of the same name. Bernstein was portrayed in that movie by Jack Nicholson.
After Bernstein left the Post, he worked for the American Broadcasting Company and wrote for a number of magazines. With Marco Politi he wrote His Holiness: John Paul ii and the Hidden History of Our Time, published in 1996.
[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]