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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-13-12 07:59 AM
Original message
From Watergate to WikiLeaks

Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012 08:00 AM EDT

From Watergate to WikiLeaks

A new book demolishes the myth of Deep Throat -- and the romance of heroic journalism

By Jefferson Morley

In the movie All the Presidents Men, the shadowy high-level source known only as Deep Throat tells Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, Follow the money. The fact that this never happened the words were invented by screenwriter William Goldman detracted little from the scenes power or the movies influence. It encapsulated a romantic myth of journalism: An intrepid reporter finds a wise whistle-blower who schools him in the abuse of power. In the movie and political memory, the top-level source enabled the crusading reporters to bring down a corrupt president.

That myth died in May 2005 when Vanity Fair revealed that Deep Throat was Mark Felt, a former acting deputy director of the FBI, who, it turns out, was quite comfortable with the abuse of power. After the Watergate saga, he was convicted of authorizing illegal break-ins. Now, Max Hollands ingenious new book, Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat, reconstructs how Felt used Woodward and the Post to advance his true agenda, which Holland argues convincingly was not doing justice but becoming director of the FBI.

At its best, this dandy book (critic Jack Shafers word) illuminates an underappreciated reality of Washington: journalisms role in the clash of factions within the U.S. government. Holland sets the Watergate story in the context of what historian Stanley Kutler calls the war of FBI succession. This was the power struggle that erupted after the death of longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in May 1972. When the Watergate burglars were arrested six weeks later, Felt started slipping tidbits of information to Woodward, a 30-year-old reporter in the Post Metro section who, by his own admission, had been sucking up to Felt for close to two years...

During the run-up to the Iraq war, the pro-war faction in the White House and Pentagon leaked closely held (and completely unfounded) information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Their purpose was not rhetorical but practical. Millers scoops were not only intended to influence public opinion; they were also intended to discredit the go-slow faction in the State Department and CIA and justify their case for war in the administrations war councils. Some say Miller fell in love with her sources, though her subsequent move to the conservative think tank suggests that she may have aided the pro-war faction out of conviction... /

Watergate's Lessons for the New media Age
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-20-12 12:29 PM
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1. NYTimes: Robert Redford's "Watergate"

Richard Helms and Robert Redford on the set of Three Days of the Condor

Watergate Reporting, the Second Draft
Robert Redford to Produce a Documentary About Watergate

Published: April 2, 2012

Rarely does reality intersect with role playing the way it did two Sundays ago in Bob Woodwards living room.

Meeting him there were Carl Bernstein, his writing partner at The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s; Ben Bradlee, their top editor at the time; and Robert Redford, the actor who played Mr. Woodward in All the Presidents Men, the 1976 film that dramatized The Posts presidential detective work.

Jokes were cracked about the four decades that had passed since Watergate You guys, were really lucky we recognize each other, Mr. Redford said but the men were together for a serious reason. Mr. Redford was starting work on another project on Watergate, this time as a documentarian.

Commissioned by the Discovery Channel, the project, All the Presidents Men Revisited, will be a two-hour television documentary about the scandal that doomed Richard M. Nixons presidency and will explore its effects on politics and the media in the 40 years since. It will have its premiere in 2013 but will be announced by Discovery this week at its annual presentation for advertisers...

Richard Helms and Richard M. Nixon

Watergate Reporting, the Second Draft
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-24-12 02:19 PM
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2. Why Bradleegate Matters: Woodward and Bernstein's Deception

Why Bradleegate Matters: Woodward and Bernstein's Deception

By James Rosen
The Atlantic
May 22, 2012

The media focused on Ben Bradlee's doubts about Deep Throat, but the real story is the discrepancies between their original reporting and the established history of Watergate

"Please don't use the presently existing literature as established fact," warned H.R. Haldeman, the former White House chief of staff to Richard Nixon, at a symposium on the Nixon presidency convened at Hofstra University in November 1987. "There's an enormous amount of gross inaccuracies in most of the present views regarding the totality and the specific segments of the Nixon presidency."

A brilliantly efficient chief of staff -- his communications operations marked a quantum leap over his predecessors' and helped shape the modern presidency -- Haldeman wound up disgraced, serving 18 months at Lompoc Federal Prison in his native California for his role in the Watergate cover-up. Few in the saga were more thoroughly vilified. At Lompoc, this devout Christian Scientist and former J. Walter Thompson executive, a man described by historian Richard Reeves as "a pre-computer organizational genius," toiled as a sewage chemist. Haldeman recalled at Hofstra how he used "the unenviable luxury of substantial time on my hands" to devour, in his cell, the established literature on Nixon and Watergate.

Armed with three highlighter pens of different colors, he underlined in red every statement of fact he knew, "of my own personal and absolutely certain knowledge," to be false. The color blue Haldeman used to highlight sentences he knew, with equal certitude, to be true. And yellow was reserved for those claims that even Haldeman, the White House aide who spent the most time in Nixon's Oval Office, could neither verify nor refute. "It was a fascinating exercise," he said -- and with discernible glee, he would tell you the book with the highest percentage of red lines, the lowest truth quotient: 1974's The Palace Guard by Dan Rather and Gary Paul Gates.

**** /

What about Watergate?

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-25-12 06:38 AM
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3. Ben Bradlee
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-08-12 07:10 AM
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4. Forty years after Watergate, investigative journalism is at risk

Forty years after Watergate, investigative journalism is at risk

About the author: Leonard Downie Jr. is the Weil family professor of journalism at Arizona State Universitys Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and vice president at large of The Washington Post, where he worked for 44 years. He was The Posts executive editor from 1991 to 2008.

(from the June 8 Wash. Post)

Investigative reporting in America did not begin with Watergate. But it became entrenched in American journalism and has been steadily spreading around the world largely because of Watergate.

Now, 40 years after Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote their first stories about the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washingtons Watergate office building, the future of investigative reporting is at risk in the chaotic digital reconstruction of journalism in the United States. Resource-intensive investigative reporting has become a burden for shrunken newspapers struggling to reinvent themselves and survive. Nonprofit start-ups seeking to fill the gap are financially fragile themselves, with their sustainability uncertain.


We continue to live in perilous times, making investigative journalism as essential to our democracy as the Watergate stories were. However, the impact of digital media and dramatic shifts in audience and advertising revenue have undermined the financial model that subsidized so much investigative reporting during the economic golden age of newspapers, the last third of the 20th century. Such reporting remains a high priority at many financially challenged papers, which continue to produce accountability journalism that matters to their communities but they have far fewer staff members and resources to devote to it. Meanwhile, much of the remaining investigative reporting on television stations and networks, which also are struggling to maintain audience and revenue, consists of consumer-protection and crime stories that drive ratings.


Investigative nonprofits are being started all the time. But many of the fledgling sites are struggling to survive. Foundations that provide seed money seldom are interested in helping with long-term sustainability. Fundraising and membership drives must compete with other causes. Some start-ups have already failed. Others have had to cut costs and staff to stay alive.

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-08-12 05:52 PM
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5. Woodward and Bernstein: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought

Woodward and Bernstein: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought

By Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, Friday, June 8, 1:35 PM

As Sen. Sam Ervin completed his 20-year Senate career in 1974 and issued his final report as chairman of the Senate Watergate committee, he posed the question: What was Watergate? ...

Today, much more than when we first covered this story as young Washington Post reporters, an abundant record provides unambiguous answers and evidence about Watergate and its meaning. This record has expanded continuously over the decades with the transcription of hundreds of hours of Nixons secret tapes, adding detail and context to the hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives; the trials and guilty pleas of some 40 Nixon aides and associates who went to jail; and the memoirs of Nixon and his deputies. Such documentation makes it possible to trace the presidents personal dominance over a massive campaign of political espionage, sabotage and other illegal activities against his real or perceived opponents.

In the course of his five-and-a-half-year presidency, beginning in 1969, Nixon launched and managed five successive and overlapping wars against the anti-Vietnam War movement, the news media, the Democrats, the justice system and, finally, against history itself. All reflected a mind-set and a pattern of behavior that were uniquely and pervasively Nixons: a willingness to disregard the law for political advantage, and a quest for dirt and secrets about his opponents as an organizing principle of his presidency.

Long before the Watergate break-in, gumshoeing, burglary, wiretapping and political sabotage had become a way of life in the Nixon White House.

What was Watergate? It was Nixons five wars...

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