Redford shared this anecdote at a Q&A session at the Newseum on Thursday night after the screening of his new documentary, Discovery Channel’s “All the President’s Men Revisited,” which delves into the making of the 1976 movie and the continuing cultural impact. He was joined by Woodward, Bernstein, National Journal’s Tom DeFrank and Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, along with moderator Ed Henry, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, a co-sponsor of the event.
The Q&A gradually turned into a gripe-fest about modern journalism in a social media world. It took just 10 minutes for someone to mention this week’s cable news channel reporting gaffes about the marathon bombing. These days, people are climbing all over each other to get a story, and get too far ahead of themselves, Redford said, resulting in “having to pull back, like we’ve just seen with Boston.”
Before the audience went into the lobby for a reception (featuring signature drinks like “Off the Record Rum” — Bacardi and Coke, a Richard Nixon favorite), Redford brought up his personal Nixon story. Growing up in Los Angeles, he once came face-to-face with the man, then the senator from California, who visited Redford’s school to hand out awards to students. The future movie star, then 13, accepted one from the future president, and the experience has haunted him ever since.
“I just got a bad vibe,” Redford said.