Harry Rosenfeld’s memoir about his years at The Post, reviewed by Mark Feldstein [“Editor’s perch in Post’s Watergate newsroom,” Outlook, Nov. 24], creates a misleading impression.
Rosenfeld suggests in his book that he lost his job as assistant managing editor for national news in 1975 because he had insisted on aggressively covering revelations about an affair between Ben Bradlee’s former sister-in-law, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and John F. Kennedy. The National Enquirer first broke this story, and Rosenfeld thought The Post should pursue it. This, Rosenfeld writes, provoked “extreme anger” in Bradlee, who was personally close to JFK in the early 1960s. Rosenfeld quotes another Post editor as saying Bradlee would “get even” for his pursuit of the story.
But Bradlee never intervened to block or alter the story, which The Post did pursue and eventually published on its front page, as Rosenfeld acknowledges.
And — as the book makes clear — his brief tenure as assistant managing editor had not gone well. He had lost the confidence of his staff and provoked numerous national reporters to complain to Bradlee about him. I know this because I was one of them. Harry was my pal, but he was woefully miscast as the leader of The Post’s national coverage.
In my experience working for Bradlee for a quarter-century, he never abused his position to protect anyone from this newspaper’s aggressive journalism.
Robert G. Kaiser,
The author has worked for The Post since 1963. He was managing editor from 1991 to 1998.