June 29, 2022
[watergate] Woodward and Bernstein’s Forgotten Editor
… Barry Sussman – the man who got written out of Watergate. ‘[A] stripped-down morality tale, mano a mano, doesn’t leave much narrative space for other characters. The Post’s work required not just creative and dogged reporting by Woodward and Bernstein—it required editors, it required news librarians, it required lawyers, it required an owner, all willing to do their part and able to do it skillfully. It required an institution that could both commit the resources and then stand its ground against Nixon’s threats.’
March 4, 2022
[watergate] How G. Gordon Liddy Bungled Watergate With an Office-Supply Request
… An enjoyable profile of G. Gordon Liddy’s
involvement in Watergate. ‘Liddy’s antics worried some in the White House, but rather than shut him down or block his wildest schemes, he was instead foisted on the president’s reelection campaign as 1971 ended, to head up intelligence gathering efforts. There wasn’t a great deal of mystery to Liddy’s new secret mission on the campaign. A few days after he started on the reelection effort, Liddy stopped back at the White House to complain to White House counsel John Dean: The deputy campaign director, Jeb Stuart Magruder, was going around introducing Liddy as the “our man in charge of dirty tricks.” As Liddy said, “Magruder’s an asshole, John, and he’s going to blow my cover.” As Dean later recalled, he, annoyed, called Magruder: If you’ve hired someone to carry out your dirty tricks, it’s best if you don’t advertise that fact.’
February 15, 2014
[politics] Toward a Unified Theory of Scandal-Naming
… on the devaluing of the “-gate” suffix for scandal … ‘Column-inch-limited headline writers in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, and especially the UK have all imported “-gate” for their own homegrown scandals. Many involve sports. Some involve bolognese sauce: The Montreal restaurant community was rocked last year by Pastagate, when Québéc’s language enforcers warned an upscale restaurant to stop using Italian words like “pasta” on its menu instead of the French equivalent. Very few rise near the level of Watergate. We need a new term for these sub-gate scandals.’
February 6, 2014
[watergate] The Red Flag in the Flowerpot
… a writer looking at the personal archives of Ben Bradlee
(Woodward and Bernstein’s editor) exposes doubts about some of the reporting of Watergate …
Later in the interview, Ben talked about Bob’s famous secret source, whom he claimed to have met in an underground garage in rendezvous arranged via signals involving flowerpots and newspapers. “You know I have a little problem with Deep Throat,” Ben told Barbara.
“Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen? … and meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage … There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.”
I read it over a few times to make sure. Did Ben really have doubts about the Deep Throat story, as it had been passed down from newsroom to book to film to history? And if he did, what did that mean?’
June 27, 2012
[watergate] Did the Press Uncover Watergate? [Part 1
| Part 2
] … fascinating look (from 1974) at the myth that it was investigative journalism that uncovered Watergate … ‘In keeping with the mythic view of journalism, however, the book [All the Presidents Men] never describes the “behind-the-scenes” investigations which actually “smashed the Watergate scandal wide open”-namely the investigations conducted by the FBI, the federal prosecutors, the grand jury, and the Congressional committees. The work of almost all those institutions, which unearthed and developed all the actual evidence and disclosures of Watergate, is systematically ignored or minimized by Bernstein and Woodward. Instead, they simply focus on those parts of the prosecutors’ case, the grand-jury investigation, and the FBI reports that were leaked to them’
July 11, 2011
[notw] Murdoch’s Watergate?
… comments from Carl Bernstein on the Murdoch’s Phone Hacking Scandal …
As one of his former top executives—once a close aide—told me, “This scandal and all its implications could not have happened anywhere else. Only in Murdoch’s orbit. The hacking at News of the World was done on an industrial scale. More than anyone, Murdoch invented and established this culture in the newsroom, where you do whatever it takes to get the story, take no prisoners, destroy the competition, and the end will justify the means.”
August 28, 2009
[watergate] Deep Throat: An Institutional Analysis
… a smart investigative essay from 1992 which correctly guesses the identity of Watergate’s Deep Throat
… ‘There has been considerable speculation that Deep Throat never existed, that he must have been either a complete fiction or a composite of several people. My memory of those early months of Watergate is otherwise: that there was a specific individual, from the FBI, and Woodward had special access to him. What seems important, with two decades of hindsight, is that in our national preoccupation with personality and celebrity in the nation’s capital, we have concentrated too much on Deep Throat as an individual and not enough on the underlying bureaucratic forces.’
June 10, 2005
[watergate] Watergate Days
— Seymour Hersh reminisces about Watergate … ‘Many people in government were outraged by the sheer bulk and gravity of the corrupt activities they witnessed in the White House. Reporters were their allies and confidants. Those men, who dealt with the most sensitive national-security issues, had their worst fears confirmed by the revelation, in July, 1973, of the White House’s taping system, which recorded their meetings and conversations with the President. They wondered what else they didn’t know. Some feared that the government might fall, and some talked to reporters about their concern that the President, facing impeachment, might try to hold on to his office by defying the Constitution.’
June 3, 2005
[watergate] How Mark Felt Became ‘Deep Throat’
— Bob Woodward describes his friendship with Deep Throat … ‘I took a job at the Montgomery Sentinel, where Rosenfeld said I could learn how to be a reporter. I told my father that law school was off and that I was taking a job, at about $115 a week, as a reporter at a weekly newspaper in Maryland. “You’re crazy,” my father said, in one of the rare judgmental statements he had ever made to me. I also called Mark Felt, who, in a gentler way, indicated that he, too, thought this was crazy. He said he thought newspapers were too shallow and too quick on the draw. Newspapers didn’t do in-depth work and rarely got to the bottom of events. Well, I said, I was elated. Maybe he could help me with stories. He didn’t answer, I recall.’
June 1, 2005
[watergate] After 33 years, Deep Throat, the man who brought down Nixon, Confesses All
… ‘As it turns out, the greatest secret in American political history was blown a long time ago by an eight-year old boy at summer camp on Long Island. Deep Throat, the boy boasted to his friend, was Mark Felt, the number two at the FBI at the time of the Watergate scandal. That boy had some reason to know. He was Jacob Bernstein, the son of Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward broke the Watergate story for the Washington Post.’
[politics] Deep Throat Revealed
— Metafilter discuss Woodward and Bernstein’s whistle-blower outing himself. Orthogonality
: ‘You have to be of an age to remember the times. And the hideous sideburns and the too-wide, too-ugly, too-polyester neckties. The Christmas bombings and the secret bombings (said by Nixon himself to have been inspired by seeing the musical 1776) and his “secret plan to end the war” and then “Vietnamization”. The enemies’ lists and the paranoia about “the Jews”. And “pray with me Henry” and C.R.E.E.P and Dean and Erlichman and Haldeman (each with his sideburns and the god-awful neckties, too). And the jowls. The hatred, rooted in envy, for the Kennedys and for the whole East Coast Establishment. And the V-for-victory salute. And the sweaty face. All the way back, to HUAC and “a little dog named Checkers” and the “good Republican cloth coat” and “you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore” and Eisenhower’s reluctance to endorse his own Vice President’s succession. And finally the “This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office….” The whole long national nightmare…’
June 24, 2002
[history] Inspired by the Finder’s guide to Deep Throat
… Deep Throat was
- …a smoker and he drank Scotch.
- …a composite, if he (or she) existed at all.
- …the shadowy source who haunts the pages and scenes of “All the President’s Men.”
- …presidential adviser Patrick J. Buchanan.
- …Pat Gray, FBI director from May 1972 to April 1973.
- …Earl J. Silbert, an original Watergate prosecutor.
- …some sort of liberal bureaucrat.
- …a spook.
- …in fact, the lead actress in the film of that title.
- …a well-read but occasionally rowdy man.
June 21, 2002
[history] Richard Nixon’s Last Secret
— audio archaeologists go after 18 minutes of conversation deleted (by Nixon?!) from a Watergate Tape …
‘The fact that the tape contained as many as nine separate erasures contradicts any notion that it was caused by an accidental press of the Record button. The culprit was either very anxious to protect the president or was a mechanical klutz. Both descriptions, Watergate scholars have noted, fit Richard Nixon. The 37th president was laughably inept when it came to technology. Haldeman recounts in his now out-of-print book, The Ends of Power, that Nixon struggled with the most basic functions of cassette recorders. The Army Signal Corps supplied Nixon with the simplest recorder available so that the president could dictate memos in the evening. But even then, the various buttons had to be marked so Nixon could use the machine without mixing things up. Put a man like that in front of a reel-to-reel, and it’s easy to see how a simple erasure could turn into a clumsy mess.’
[Related: Nixon Resigns
March 22, 2002
[politics] Just What Was He Smoking?
— The Washington Post takes a look at audio tapes from Richard Nixon’s White House. ‘…he does explain many other things in these drug tapes, including the insidious nexus between drugs, homosexuality, communism and, of course, Jews. The excerpts begin with the Nixon doctrine on why marijuana is much worse than alcohol: It is because people drink “to have fun” but they smoke marijuana “to get high.” This distinction was evidently enormously significant to Nixon, because he repeats it twice.’
[via Scripting News
February 26, 2002
[news] Still hungry after all these Years
— profile of Watergate journalist Bob Woodward … ‘The movie of Woodward and Bernstein’s book — in which they are portrayed by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman — reveals their efforts to reveal that the break-in, and a range of other nefarious incidents, was ordered by Nixon. What it does not make clear is that from the very beginning — when they discovered on the first day that the five burglars kitted out with Playtex rubber gloves were former employees of the CIA — the pair had stumbled unknowingly on to an obviously massive story.’
May 5, 2001
[century] 1974 – Nixon Resigns
… ‘If Mr Nixon had been at his best last night, then he was at his worst this morning. Sometimes one wished that his agonized wife would take this wretched slobbering, spluttering man away by the arm and propel him into some windowless vehicle for transport to obscurity. But Pat Nixon, with Julie and Tricia and their grey-faced husbands beside them, allowed the man to proceed. It would have been worse, perhaps, if they had tried to stop him. “I remember my old man. They would have called him a common man… he was a street car motorman at first… my mother” – at this point he sobbed violently, his tears somehow eluding the gravitational pull and remaining shining in his eyes – “a saint. She will have no books written about her.”‘