Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

"Deep Throat" and the Crisis of Journalism


This piece from Stratfor on the death of "Deep Throat" of Watergate fame is a little repetitive but it does a nice job of showing how the Watergate affair has been misunderstood and, more importantly, how it set the stage for the kind of "death by leak" journalism that prevails today. Here’s an excerpt:

The Felt experience is part of an ongoing story in which journalists’ guarantees of anonymity to sources allow leakers to control the news process. Protecting Deep Throat’s identity kept us from understanding the full dynamic of Watergate. We did not know that Deep Throat was running the FBI, we did not know the FBI was conducting surveillance on the White House, and we did not know that the Watergate scandal emerged not by dint of enterprising journalism, but because Felt had selected Woodward and Bernstein as his vehicle to bring Nixon down. And we did not know that the editor of The Washington Post allowed this to happen. We had a profoundly defective picture of the situation, as defective as the idea that Bob Woodward looks like Robert Redford.

Ouch!

Discussions - 5 Comments

In the first volume of his Reagan biography, Steve Hayward noted the ferocious turf battles that were going on during the Nixon administration. He suggested that it was Nixon's determination to get a runaway bureaucracy under the control of elected officials that ultimately led to the showdown over Watergate. Watergate was but the sword the Democrats used to shield and thus preserve their complete domination of the federal government.

Ever since, no President has ever tried to rein in the various federal bureaucracies and agencies.

And somebody is going to have to.

As for Felt, he was a despicable piece of work, wasn't he.

"Scandal must come, but woe unto him through whom they come........."

Yes, Felt was despicable. Yet wasn't Bradlee also despicable and hypocritical?
Do you suppose this part of the story in a movie? It seems unlikely, but more likely than any president getting our federal bureaucracy under control.

Richard Nixon was flogged for "shredding the Constitution" for inquiring about having the IRS audit his political enemies (the request was declined by the IRS). Bill Clinton, however, was declared an innocent victim of - in Hillary's words because of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" when Clinton succeeded in having the IRS audit his political enemies - another profoundly defective picture of the situation.

If we seek justice and reason in the things politic, we will surely be disappointed.

I wept watching Nixon's funeral. I can't say the same for any other funeral I've attended or watched on TV. I'm not sure why I did, or what it means.

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