Katharine Graham - History

Katharine Graham - History

Katharine Graham

1918-2001

Newspaperwoman

A life-long newspaperwoman, Katharine Graham began her career at The San Francisco News, moving to the Washington Post in 1938 and becoming President of the Washington Post Company in 1969.
Her paper came to particular prominence in the era of Watergate, when reporters Woodward and Bernstein investigated the scandal that brought down President Nixon.


Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird is an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early years of the Cold War and attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes.

According to author Deborah Davis, Operation Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network and influenced the operations of front groups. CIA support of front groups was exposed when a 1967 Ramparts magazine article reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. In 1975, Church Committee Congressional investigations revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups.

In 1973 a document referred to as the "Family Jewels" [1] was published by the CIA containing a reference to "Project Mockingbird", which was the name of an operation in 1963 wiretapping two journalist believe to be disseminating classified information. [2] The document does not however, contain references to "Operation Mockingbird".


The Pentagon Papers

In June of 1971, the New York Times began to publish classified defense department documents. Known as the Pentagon Papers, they were a secret history of America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The Times ran these stories for two days until the Nixon administration stepped in to block the paper. As the Times described it , "for the first time in American history, the Government sought&mdashand won&mdasha temporary court order barring a newspaper from publishing a news article."

Spielberg's film centers around the days that followed that court order, when Graham and her executive editor Ben Bradlee (played in the movie by Tom Hanks) wrestled with the decision to pick up where the Times left off, and continue to report on the documents in the Post. At stake were an expensive legal battle, as well as several of the company's lucrative television licenses, which the Graham family would lose if they were convicted under espionage laws.

Eventually they published, a decision about which Graham had final say. "Frightened and tense, I took a big gulp and said, 'Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead. Let's go. Let's publish,'" she would later write.

In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.

Just a few hours after that first story broke, the Post was asked to stop printing classified information by the attorney general's office. Alongside the New York Times, Graham and her paper fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court&mdashand win. The court ruled that the paper's first amendment right to make information public trumped the government's right to keep secrets. "In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do," wrote Justice Hugo L. Black.

Graham and Bradlee's decision had profound and far-reaching consequences&mdashit revealed that the Johnson administration had lied not only to the public but to congress about the scope of the Vietnam War. It also made a powerful statement about the importance of investigative journalism as a check against the government.

But as Streep sees it, Graham and Bradlee were just doing their jobs. They had no idea just how impactful their work would become.

"They had no idea that history was going to shift so profoundly by this,&rdquo Streep told People. "They were just trying to get their deadlines, to solve a mystery. To negotiate where this could fall out personally, how this could personally jeopardize careers. All those little decisions that go into anybody making the right civic decision. The right decision as a citizen. To stand up for something true."

Though Graham that her decision to publish would put her paper in mortal danger, the story ultimately raised the stature of the Washington Post and ensured her legacy. "It was just sort of the graduation of The Post into the highest ranks,'' Bradlee said. ''One of our unspoken goals was to get the world to refer to The Post and New York Times in the same breath, which they previously hadn't done. After the Pentagon Papers, they did."

The publication of the Pentagon Papers also directly led to both the Watergate scandal, and the Post's coverage of it. In response to the confidential leak, President Richard Nixon created a covert group of staffers called the White House Special Investigations Unit or "The Plumbers." Members of that group would go on to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.


Katharine Graham- Personal History: Summary & Review

The author of this autobiography is the former publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, a newspaper with a tremendous spread throughout the United States and beyond. The extensive autobiography titled simply Personal History , tells about the lives of her lineage (grandparents and parents) and how they influenced the outcome of her life. Obviously no outside sources are needed to determine whether or not the late Ms. Graham was qualified to write her own autobiography: therefore I shall defer the opening section to better suit the work I have selected. Was Katharine Graham’s life influential on enough people to make it worth recording and publishing? Yes: these are the memoirs of the first woman publisher of a major media outlet and being the first at anything like this makes your life’s story worthy of record.

Personal History spans the early days of her grandfather’s business ventures and the fateful meeting of her father and mother to Graham’s heavy-hearted takeover of the Post and her eventual retirement. It goes into great depth about the Watergate scandal and the role The Washington Post played in uncovering the truth (as well as the Nixon administration’s every attempt to sabotage the paper and Graham’s other assets through legalities). The main scope of the work, however, is of course on Katharine Graham herself and how the people around her shaped her into who she was when she recorded the memoirs.

She began her life as a rich daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Meyer, already millionaires before The Washington Post was conceived. From private school to private school, and later from college to college, Graham had held an interest in journalism. She remarked that early on her father had half-jokingly bantered with her about the possibility of her coming to write for the Post after he had acquired it (which he did for something in the neighborhood of $500,000). After college she moved for a while to the land of her grandparents, San Francisco, and wrote part-time for a small newspaper publication there (something which was nearly unheard of, a woman journalist for something other than Redbook and the like).

When in her mid-20’s, after writing for the newspaper in San Francisco for two years, she was given a genuine offer from her father to return to Washington and “help him run things.” He actually meant write up a column, which she did. While staying in Washington, she mingled with a crowd of well-to-do young people, freshly out of college and on their way to make a difference in the world. At one of the “Hatley Boys’” get-togethers, she met the man who would eventually become her husband: the handsome and intelligent young man, bound for success, Philip Graham.

Sometime after their marriage, it was clear that Eugene Meyer was looking to Philip as a possible “White Knight” for The Washington Post, as Eugene’s only son had shown no interest in going into business and a male was the preferred inheritor. Philip was given stock in the company and after the eventual death of Eugene Philip took over as publisher. He was relatively untrained and over the years had to learn the newspaper business and help the already-struggling Post gain strength and become a major publication.

Years of giving his blood, sweat and tears for the paper took a tremendous psychological toll on Philip. He eventually had an extramarital affair and after a while of bizarre behavior, committed suicide while Katharine was in a nearby room. Philip’s suicide left no one to run the paper but Katharine herself, forcing her to be the first woman to be publisher of such a huge media outlet. She had a lot to learn, and described the difference in watching Philip run the paper and actually doing it like the difference in “watching someone swim and actually swimming.” She was also not immediately how everyone, from her secretaries to print room workers to top-level journalists, was sizing her up. Katharine felt thereafter that she had the job of representing her gender in the corporate world.

If the book were meant to maintain a theme at all it would be the prevalence and resilience of the human spirit. Also, a good theme for the autobiography could be summed up as “big things come in small packages (referring to the author herself).”

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What The Post Gets Right (and Wrong) About Katharine Graham and the Pentagon Papers

The decision to publish the famed Pentagon Papers in The Washington Post ultimately came before its publisher, Katharine Graham. Caught between the caution of her lawyers and the zeal of her hardworking journalists, Graham was under enormous pressure. The estimable New York Times first broke the story about a cache of classified government documents revealing uncomfortable truths about the Vietnam War, but after the Nixon Administration successfully stopped the Times from printing, Graham’s paper had a golden opportunity to pick up the story.

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On one side were her Post reporters and editors, eager to play catch-up while they had the advantage on the Times. On the other, were the lawyers arguing against publishing the study, warning that the court might order an injunction against them as well. The newspaper board’s advisors feared that it would lead the paper, which recently went public, into financial turmoil.

The new movie The Post dramatizes this brief period in 1971, as Graham debates and deliberates the decision. When Graham, as played by Meryl Streep proclaims, “Let’s go. Let’s publish,” it’s a celebration of a woman who forever changed the course of American history and brought her newspaper to the national stage.

Amy Henderson, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s historian emerita and curator of the “One Life: Katharine Graham” exhibit, said in an interview that Streep’s portrayal is mostly faithful. Her main issue with the film is how it plays up Graham’s inexperience for dramatic purposes. By the time she was presented with the Pentagon Papers decision, Henderson pointed out, Graham had been publisher of the paper for eight years, and had a better grasp on her tenure than the movie lets on.

It’s true, however, that when Graham initially assumed the position, she was very unsure of her ability to lead, says Henderson. Her father, Eugene Meyer, bought the fledgling Post in 1933 and encouraged his daughter to pursue her interest in journalism. She worked for a time at a paper in San Francisco where, Henderson says, “she was having a really good time, she had never been on her own before and was enjoying life.” When Graham returned to D.C., she worked briefly at the Post before marrying Philip Graham, a Supreme Court law clerk, in 1940.

When it came time to pass the paper’s leadership to the next generation, Meyer overlooked Katharine, his favorite child. He instead chose Graham and gave him the majority of the family’s stock, telling his daughter that “no man should be in the position of working for his wife.” In her Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Personal History, Katharine wrote she thought nothing of it. The decision meant she could continue her life as a wife, mother and socialite, hosting the Washington elite at their Georgetown home. When her husband committed suicide in 1963, she took over as president of the Post. Graham faced a steep learning curve, and intense feelings of self-doubt. Her insecurity was in part a result of difficult relationships with her mother and her husband.

In her memoir, Graham recounts her hesitancy: “‘Me?’ I exclaimed. ‘That's impossible. I couldn’t possibly do it.’”

An acquaintance reassured her: “‘Of course you can do it,’ she maintained. … ‘You’ve got all those genes … You’ve just been pushed down so far you don't recognize what you can do.’”

Her ascension to the Post’s leadership was made all the more arduous by the era’s and industry’s sexism. As shown in the Steven Spielberg-directed film, the men surrounding Graham, specifically the ones who advocate against publishing the Pentagon Papers, doubt her abilities. One board-member praises her late husband who was appointed back in 1946: The fact that Meyer selected him “said something about the guy.” A colleague responds rather, that, “It said something about the time.” It’s gratifying to see Graham assert her authority—as she moves from a timid to a towering figure— who fights for both her voice and the freedom of the press.

Despite Graham’s powerful position, it took some time before she fully embraced the feminist movement conversations with activist and writer Gloria Steinem played a part in changing her thinking. Managing the paper made Graham “more aware of women’s problems in the workplace and of the need to get more women in the workplace,” she wrote. Once a hostess who carefully observed social norms, Graham as publisher pushed against the ingrained sexism of the day. After one dinner party, she notably joined the men discussing politics rather than the ladies discussing household matters.

Today’s readers are used to the ongoing, albeit friendly battle between the Post and New York Times. While it seems that nearly every day under the Trump administration either paper, or both, has a major scoop, it wasn’t always this way. In publishing the Pentagon Papers, Graham helped propel the Washington Post forward as a prominent newspaper that could play on the national stage.

Part of that too was hiring Ben Bradlee, the former Washington bureau chief of Newsweek, who became the Post’s executive editor and is played by Tom Hanks in the film. “With her backing, he forged a staff of reporters and editors and put out a breezy, gutsy paper that investigated government with gusto,” wrote the New York Times.

The groundwork was laid, then, for the Washington Post’s biggest scoop: the Watergate scandal as reported by journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. But anyone watching the Oscar-nominated film that details that story, All the President’s Men, would be hard-pressed to find Graham in it she was left out of the 1976 movie completely, save for one oblique reference.

According to Graham’s Personal History, Robert Redford claimed “that no one understood the role of a publisher, and it was too extraneous to explain.” Graham wrote, “Redford imagined that I would be relieved, which I was, but, to my surprise, my feelings were hurt by being omitted altogether…”

Henderson adds, “it was Katharine Graham who made the ultimate decisions—not Ben Bradlee—that proved so vital to preserving freedom of the press when a president was behaving criminally.” She speculates that “one of the reasons [Graham] wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir was to set the record straight.” The Post not only puts Graham back into her paper’s history, but it puts her back in charge.

Watching The Post, one is struck by how relevant and timely the events remain. The script was sold just a week before the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton’s victory was widely assumed. Producer Amy Pascal said the film spoke to her because “it was the story of a woman finding her voice, and an entire country finding its voice.” But in the election’s aftermath, The Post has taken on an additional meaning as a bulwark against unsubstantiated calls of “fake news,” and as a reminder of the hard and vital work needed to protect a free press. 

About Anna Diamond

Anna Diamond is the former assistant editor for Smithsonian magazine.


Frank Beacham's Journal

Katharine Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, was born 104 years ago today.

Publishers are normally not the creative people that I celebrate on these pages, but Graham was special and unique. In early 1974, I went to work as an investigative reporter for Post-Newsweek Television, which was owned by the Washington Post.

This was the period during the Watergate scandal, in which Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had an integral role in bringing about the resignation of President Richard Nixon that summer. Unlike newspapers and other news outlets today, Graham supported real, hard hitting reporting.

When Woodward and Bernstein brought the Watergate story to Post editor, Ben Bradlee, Graham supported their investigative reporting and Bradlee ran stories about Watergate when few other news outlets would touch the story. As a result, Graham was the subject of one of the best-known threats in American journalistic history.

It occurred in 1972, when Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, warned reporter Carl Bernstein about a forthcoming article: "Katie Graham's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published." As an act of intimidation, the Nixon administration also set its Federal Communications Commission onto the Post’s broadcast properties. Graham was under severe pressure in those years and she rose to that pressure.

On my first day at work at the Post’s WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, I was surprised to get a personal phone call from Katherine Graham. She welcomed me and acknowledged the pressure we were under at the time.

But her real message was clear. “If you receive pressure from anyone — anyone at all — not to do your job, I want you to call me directly,” she said. “That’s very important.” She made me promise to call and gave me her direct number.

I never did call, though the next year at Post-Newsweek I was threatened, sued and publicly called every name in the book. The station defended every lawsuit and we won them all. We worked hard and got it right. It was the era of good, tough journalism — long gone today.

It was always comforting to know in those days that I was backed by the real iron lady, Katherine Graham.

In the above photo, Katharine Graham, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, managing editor Howard Simons and executive editor Ben Bradlee at the Washington Post in 1973.

Tags: Katharine Graham, Washington Post, Watergate

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Katharine Graham — A Personal Remembrance

Katharine Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, was born 104 years ago today.

Publishers are normally not the creative people that I celebrate on these pages, but Graham was special and unique. In early 1974, I went to work as an investigative reporter for Post-Newsweek Television, which was owned by the Washington Post.

This was the period during the Watergate scandal, in which Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had an integral role in bringing about the resignation of President Richard Nixon that summer. Unlike newspapers and other news outlets today, Graham supported real, hard hitting reporting.

When Woodward and Bernstein brought the Watergate story to Post editor, Ben Bradlee, Graham supported their investigative reporting and Bradlee ran stories about Watergate when few other news outlets would touch the story. As a result, Graham was the subject of one of the best-known threats in American journalistic history.

It occurred in 1972, when Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, warned reporter Carl Bernstein about a forthcoming article: "Katie Graham's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published." As an act of intimidation, the Nixon administration also set its Federal Communications Commission onto the Post’s broadcast properties. Graham was under severe pressure in those years and she rose to that pressure.

On my first day at work at the Post’s WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, I was surprised to get a personal phone call from Katherine Graham. She welcomed me and acknowledged the pressure we were under at the time.

But her real message was clear. “If you receive pressure from anyone — anyone at all — not to do your job, I want you to call me directly,” she said. “That’s very important.” She made me promise to call and gave me her direct number.

I never did call, though the next year at Post-Newsweek I was threatened, sued and publicly called every name in the book. The station defended every lawsuit and we won them all. We worked hard and got it right. It was the era of good, tough journalism — long gone today.

It was always comforting to know in those days that I was backed by the real iron lady, Katherine Graham.

In the above photo, Katharine Graham, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, managing editor Howard Simons and executive editor Ben Bradlee at the Washington Post in 1973.


Katharine Graham Personal History

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Personal History

Personal History is the 1997 autobiography of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. It won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, and received widespread critical acclaim for its candour in dealing with her husband's mental illness and the challenges she faced in a male-dominated working environment.

The main themes of the book include:

  • Graham's complex and often difficult relationship with her mother
  • her family's involvement with The Washington Post from 1933 onwards
  • her relationship with her husband Philip Graham
  • Graham and Phil’s relationships with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, especially Johnson’s appointment as Kennedy's running-mate
  • Phil’s mental illness and eventual suicide
  • Graham’s evolution from a housewife to the chairman of a major publishing company
  • her growing awareness of feminist issues
  • the legal battle over the Pentagon Papers
  • The Post’s coverage of Watergate and
  • her relationship to the labor movement, first as an activist, then as a reporter, then with the strikes at the Post, most notably the 1975–1976 pressmen's strike.

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Personal History PDF Details

Author: Katharine Graham
Book Format: ebook
Original Title: Personal History
Number Of Pages: 688 pages
First Published in: 1997
Latest Edition: February 9th 2011
Language: English
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (1998)
Generes: Biography, Non Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir, History, Biography, Autobiography, Biography Memoir, Politics, Writing, Journalism, Business, Womens,
Main Characters: Katharine Graham
Formats: audible mp3, ePUB(Android), kindle, and audiobook.

The book can be easily translated to readable Russian, English, Hindi, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Malaysian, French, Portuguese, Indonesian, German, Arabic, Japanese and many others.

Please note that the characters, names or techniques listed in Personal History is a work of fiction and is meant for entertainment purposes only, except for biography and other cases. we do not intend to hurt the sentiments of any community, individual, sect or religion

DMCA and Copyright: Dear all, most of the website is community built, users are uploading hundred of books everyday, which makes really hard for us to identify copyrighted material, please contact us if you want any material removed.


Final years

In 1979 Graham turned the title of publisher over to her son Donald. But she remained active in all areas of the business, from advising on editorial policy (opinions the paper would stand behind) to making plans for not only the Post and Newsweek, but also the Trenton Times, four television stations, and 49 percent interest in a paper company. In Washington she was an impressive presence. Heads of state, politicians, and leaders in journalism and the arts gathered at her Georgetown home and for weekends at her farm in northern Virginia.

Under Graham's leadership the Washington Post grew in influence until it was judged as one of the two best newspapers in the country. It was read and consulted by presidents and prime ministers in this country and abroad and had a powerful influence on political life. At the same time the Post, which boasts a circulation (the number of copies sold or delivered) of 725,000, serves as a hometown paper for a general audience who enjoyed the features, cartoons, and advice columns.

Graham also became an award-winning author in her later years. In 1997 she published her memoirs, Personal History, which earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1998.

Katharine Graham was described as a "working publisher." Determined to preserve the family character of the business, she took up the reins after the death of her husband and worked hard not only to build but to improve her publishing empire. A forceful and courageous publisher, she knew when to rely on the expert advice of professionals and allowed her editors maximum responsibility. At the same time she strengthened her publications through her willingness to spend money to attract top talent in journalism and management.

On July 17, 2001, Katharine Graham died in Boise, Idaho, leaving the nation grieving for one of its best-loved female publishers. Katharine's impact on America was evident in the televised National Cathedral funeral watched by American citizens far and wide. She was eulogized (remembered after death) by a large array of public figures, ranging from former first lady Nancy Reagan (1921–) and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger (1923–) to Noor Al Hussein (1951–), queen of Jordan. The one quality that each highlighted in Katharine's life was her ability to maintain friendships despite holding a different viewpoint. Katharine Graham had a personal style that is rare in political circles.


Watch the video: Living Self-Portrait: Katharine Graham - National Portrait Gallery