Benjamin Bradlee was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1942. He served in the US Naval Reserve during World War II. He first worked for the Washington Post in 1948 as a reporter. He was a reporter in various assignments there until 1961, when he became a senior editor. He maintained that position until 1965 when he was promoted to managing editor.
His lowest professional moment came in 1981. Janet Cooke, a Washington Post reporter, won a Pulitzer Prize for a "Jimmy's World", a profile of an eight year old heroin addict. It turned out to be complete fiction. Ensuring accuracy was the editor's job, and he had failed miserably and publicly.
He published an autobiography in 1995, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures.
In the fall of 2005 Jim Lehrer conducted three, two-hour, interviews with Bradlee on a variety of topics from the responsibilities of the press to the differences between Watergate and the Valerie Plame case.
BenjaminBradlee as a young journalist was at the very heart of the government's effort to order political thinking after the war.
Bradlee went, with Philip Graham's assistance, to the American embassy in Paris, where as a press attache he became part of a covert State Department operation that was integral to America's foreign policy at the beginning of the peace: the production of propaganda against Communism.
Bradlee went to the Rosenberg prosecutors in New York under orders of "the head of the CIA in Paris," as he told an assistant prosecutor, and that from their material he composed his "Operations Memorandum" on the case, which was the basis of all propaganda subsequently sent out to foreign journalists.
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