The Power of the Pen

The Power of the Pen

Walter Pincus

10.15.2006

Walter Pincus

Walter Pincus is a writer for the national news staff of the Washington Post. He has written about a variety of national news subjects including nuclear weapons and arms control, political campaigns, the American hostages in Iran, and investigations of Congress and the Executive Branch. He covered the Iran-contra affair for six years. He has been awarded numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, which he shared with others for stories written about Osama bin Laden. He was awarded the first Stewart Alsop Award for national security and intelligence reporting by the Association of Foreign Intelligence Officers; The George Polk Award for stories appearing in The Post that exposed the neutron warhead, the Page One Award for magazine reporting, and a television Emmy.

Walter Pincus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer from the Washington Post, argues in a public speech at the Clinton School that journalists today need to become more involved in the political process. Pincus provides a historical account of the idea that the press serves as the “Fourth Estate of Government,” first notarized by 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke. Pincus wants more opinion in today’s press, calling for “more partisan political papers of old.” He also discusses the lack of courage exemplified by modern White House correspondents. Pincus says, “Journalistic courage should also include the decision not to publish in a newspaper or carry on a television or radio news show any statements made by government officials that are designed solely as a public-relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public.”