Did you feel that the cameras inhib-
ited your ability to be candid?
Of course, of course. ;ey would wire me
when I would go into the 9: 30 meeting
[when the day’s news is discussed with
editors in New York], but then I would
take it o; right away because I was literally wearing a wire and I was talking to
my colleagues. ;ey would come down
about once a week, and a little more often
if there was big news breaking, and they
would just park themselves in the bureau
and they would be there for 12 hours.
I was basically always aware they were
there, and yeah, we were better behaved
when they were there. But sometimes I
would just get too busy with the news to
care too much about behaving myself.
So it’s a pretty accurate portrayal of us.
Do people now recognize you from TV?
All of five people have recognized me.
I have been recognized a couple times
outside the bureau, and once on a street
This is a human institution, and you
are in charge. It must be a very dif-
ficult managerial job.
Yes, people are exhausted. But people
also know this is a story of a lifetime. So
there is a lot of adrenaline and energy
going on. The first year, I think we
thought, ‘Well, this can’t possibly last.
;is is not sustainable, this kind of presidency.’ And it turns out it is, right? So we
now know we are in it for the long haul.
You seem to be saying that you’re prepared for at least another two years
of this high-intensity, mercurial presidency. Things haven’t calmed down,
things haven’t gotten more normal.
;is is the new normal. We are fully
expecting to go through 2020. After that,
who knows? n
Steve Roberts spent 25 years at ;e New
York Times, half of them in the Washington bureau. He now teaches journalism
and politics at George Washington University. ;e Bethesda Interview is edited
for clarity and length.
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