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Reply #108: Interesting Helen Thomas piece on Martha Mitchell [View All]

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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #56
108. Interesting Helen Thomas piece on Martha Mitchell
A few excerpts of the book Front Row At The White House - My Life And Times by Helen Thomas

Scribner, 1999


from pages 203-204

"In December 1971 a wire story ran about Vice President Spiro Agnew's gag Christmas gift list. Included on the list were: "For Martha Mitchell, a brand-new Princess phone. For John Mitchell, a padlock for a brand-new Princess phone."
"Why did Martha Mitchell call you?" someone asked me after I filed my first story based on one of her many telephone calls in which she expressed her outraged a few days after the Watergate break-in.
I wasn't the only reporter she called, but I did take her seriously and I wrote about what she told me. Sometimes the stories made it to the wire and sometimes they go spiked. But Martha perhaps put the answer best herself when she told an interviewer, "Helen knows me well enough to know I'm not going to give her a line of bull. We just kind of fell into each other's arms. Several other reporters had been recommended to me, but when I talked to them they were cold fish. They were calculating, and, I thought, unwilling to stick their necks out. Helen Thomas, I knew would print the truth no matter what it cost her personally, and I wanted the truth to be known."(1)
I don't think the dust will ever entirely settle on the Watergate scandal, but I do think Martha deserves more than a footnote in its history. She should be remembered as the woman who tried to blow the whistle on what was going on, but sometimes her stories seemed so out there, it was close to impossible to get anyone to listen. However, I listened and I wrote and I'll let history decide.
I do remember her telling me early on in her time in Washington, "Politics is a dirty business," and I remember equally well a memorable remark her husband made shortly after they arrived: "Watch what we do, not what we say."


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