“Follow the money.”
“Goddammit, when is somebody going to go on the record in this story?”
“Nothing’s riding on this except the First Amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad.”
“All non-denials denials.”
“A wife and a family and a dog and a cat. Right, Ken, right, yeah. Uh, Ken, I don’t want to print that you were in Sally’s apartment… I just want to know what you said, in Sally’s apartment.”
All great lines from the movie version of “All the President’s Men.”
But my favorite is one uttered by Jack Warden, the actor who portrayed Harry Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld was the metro editor of the Washington Post who supervised Woodward and Bernstein. He had to fight to keep the story on the metro desk and to let two green local reporters continue to report the story.
I used to say that to reporters on occasion. And now that my students are getting their first full-time jobs as reporters, I send them this clip. A classic.