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Betsy's Trivia: Hollywood Edition

Answer: Meryl Streep in "Heartburn"

"I saw you on Meet the Press."

That was one of Meryl Streep’s famous early lines in the 1986 movie “Heartburn.” The film was written by Norah Ephron and based on her novel of the same name. A few years before she wrote the book, Ephron had ended her marriage with Carl Bernstein, one half of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that exposed the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. "Heartburn," directed by Mike Nichols, chronicled the ups and downs of the marriage of a fictional couple – a thinly veiled account of Ephron’s own relationship --  with Jack Nicholson in the role of the Bernstein stand-in.

Woodward and Bernstein’s first appearance on Meet the Press was on April 18, 1976, just after their book “All the President’s Men” had been made into a movie. But the two faced tough questions from their fellow journalists on the Meet the Press panel on a different work: their new book “The Final Days” – an account of the end of the Nixon administration. The book was controversial because it had few direct quotations from administration members, instead relying mostly on anonymous sources.  Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times told both men that many members of the press were disturbed by the methodology used for the book’s reporting – and questioned whether such “new journalism” was healthy for an already-skeptical public. Both denied the “new journalism” charge, and Bernstein shot back to the MTP panel: “In fact, the real similarity is to be seen in your own stories” – because of Washington journalists’ use of anonymous sources.

The interview ended on a lighter note however, as Bernstein, Woodward, and MTP Moderator Bill Monroe all admitted that it had been very difficult to get the journalists to appear on the receiving end of a Meet the Press interview. Monroe also asked the two men whether it had been a challenge to adapt to the new celebrity status that their involvement in the Watergate scandal had created. Watch Woodward and Bernstein’s reaction to the question – as well as their full exchange with Nelson about “new journalism” – in the clip below.


Every Monday, Betsy Fischer - the Executive Producer of Meet the Press - poses a trivia question on Twitter about the 63 years of history making moments and guests on Meet The Press. Check back every Tuesday for answers and video clips!

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