The people connected to the Nixon administration employ a broken-record tactic of saying "no comment" over and over again. Their strategy is to keep doing this until the reports either give up or go crazy.
ROSENFELD: Howard, they're hungry. You remember when you were hungry?
Older reporters who feels secure in their careers aren't as determined as younger reporters, who know they have to claw their way to the top. The promise of success and promotion keeps Woodward and Bernstein going.
[Montage of door slamming.]
The doors slamming is a similar alternative to "no comment." Why even waste two words on the reporters when none will do just fine? No one likes to feel like a door-to-door salesman being rejected, so this is extra humiliating.
WOODWARD: These are the notes?
BERSTEIN: I've got stuff on napkins, matchbooks…I'm writing in the bathroom while she's getting coffee. I'm a walking litter basket.
Once again, we see the younger reporters being scrappy to get their story. And we mean "scrappy" literally, as Bernstein writes on any scrap of paper he can get, determined to have hard notes to back up his story.
WOODWARD: We have got to go back there and try to get her to say it.
Eventually, the reporters can't take no for an answer. Between them and their anonymous sources, it's a clash to see who will cave first, and it isn't going to be our boys at the Post.