Watergate Thesis Essay, Research Paper
Table of Contents
Table of Contents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pg. 1
Thesis and Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pg. 2-10
Appendix A (Definitions). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pg. 11
List of Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pg. 12
The Bugs at Watergate
?Five men wearing fingerprint concealing gloves, with an assortment of cameras, tools and intricate electronic bugging gear along with six thousand five hundred dollars in crisp new bills (most from the Democratic National Committee) were arrested on the early morning of June 17,1972. During a burglary attempt in the Democratic National Headquarters office building, which is located in Watergate in Washington D.C.?(TIME pg1) This was just one of the breaking articles from the many news sources that marked the beginning of a new episode in American history: Watergate. Watergate developed a great competition between media corporations which eventually changed the way Americans viewed both politics and media.
It started out with the break-in. The Post, a newspaper from Washington D.C. received leaks such as those from the White House suggesting that the bugging might have been the result of a right wing Cuban conspiracy. Which turned out to be attempts to steer away from the true story. (Sussman, Barry Pg. 176)
The true story was that Nixon was stonewalling (see a- in appendix A) the break-in as well as a cover up. Receiving leaks such as this one The Post?s reporters: Woodward and Bernstien, began to ?piece the puzzle? of the cover up.
These two reporters (Bernstein and Woodward) spent night and day breaking news. They spent long days with each other weather it was looking through old files at the White House Library (because the librarian changed a previous story to the reporters: believed to have been threatened as everyone else), or weather it was traveling from town to town on their on their escapade trying to speak with all personnel on the C. R. P. (see b- in appendix A) list which they obtained from one of their co.-workers: Kay Eddie whom formally went with a guy that worked with the C. R. P. (Warner Bros.)
The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Berstien began ?piecing the puzzle?.
? Many have questions about the process and challenge of reporting the Watergate story. At the time both you (Bob Woodward) and Carl Bernstein were young (late twenties) and relatively inexperienced yet about to break the biggest story of the century. At what point in the investigation did you realize what you were on to? Did you ever feel you were in over your heads??
Bob Woodward replies:
?The story was incremental and we wrote hundreds of different stories that were all pieces of a puzzle. It?s like getting in a bathtub and turning the water on hotter and hotter and you don?t feel it and it?s possible to scald yourself to death. But we focused on individual pieces. When we made some serious mistakes, as we did, we definitely felt we were in over our heads.?
Through persistence as well as imaginative questioning Bernstien and Woodward pieced together a case before special investigators. Which were later referred to as the Plumbers(see c- in Appendix A). The investigators then would confirm their findings so they were able to print their stories. (Sussman, Barry Pg1 76) Because of the fear that their findings weren?t facts, the investigators would allow the evidence of truth to be told. Along with the special investigators came lawyers. Any information that was printed was very, very heavily edited.
Bob Woodward from the Washington Post wrote?
? The articles were very, very heavily edited and reviewed, not as much for language as the authority of the sources. Lawyers became seriously involved in the Watergate stories towards the end, when the Post realized they where on to something.? (WashingtonPost.com)
Editing with a lawyer present was very important. The papers never wanted to miss quote a source. Although sources for Watergate were very limited everyone was afraid to be quoted with the fear that ?They? were watching. So most information obtained was from an anonymous source.
Among the number of anonymous sources was a man refereed to as Deep Throat. Deep Throat lead Bob Woodward to many of the stories which he uncovered.
Bob Woodward states:
?The source known as Deep Throat ( a very unfortunate name given to the source by the managing editor of The Washington Post) provided a kind road map through the scandal. Deep Throat served the publics interests by providing the guidance and information to us. He was and to this day is not willing to come forward publicly, but his information, and in my view courage, allowed the newspaper to use what he knew and suspected?. (WashingtonPost.com Pg3 and 4)
The importance of the security of Deep Throat?s identity was a promise made by Woodward. Deep Throat felt the importance of the information being told. Because of Deep Throat, Americans were not left in the dark about Nixon and he also made it possible for Nixon to be brought to justice.(WashingtonPost.com Pg3)
Through their hard work and dedication Woodward and Berstien along with The Post was awarded the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for community service (their articles from 1972) (Sussman, Barry Pg. 180) on the fourteenth of April. After all Woodward and Berstien were the first two reporters to reveal to the public how deeply involved in the scandal the White House was. (Owens, Annie Pg22)
On Saturday April fourteenth, The Post?s Pulitzer Prize was officially announced. Thirty employees from The Post attended the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents? Association, for this was a principal social event for journalists in the Washington D.C. area. At the event there were two thousand, five hundred attendees. (Sussman, Barry Pg180)
In the beginning The Post was in the forefront of those reporting the scandal. After some of their (The Post) stories had been confirmed to be true, such as when McCord began to implicate others in the bugging.(Sussman, Barry pg175) On March of 1973, after Judge Sirica (the judge in charge of the burglars case) received a letter from James McCord which implicated that others alleged a cover-up by the White House.(Owens, Annie pg29) According to the letter during the trial the defendants were politically pressured to plead guilty and remain silent.(Owens, Annie pg30) McCord also alleged in the letter that the counsel attorney General John Mitchell had instructed the defendants to commit pre-jury.(Owens, Annie pg31) Events such as this one eventually started a symbolic ?Rabbit Chase? between the Washington Press Corporations.
Media corporations now found reason to cover the break in as well as any thing that arose in the scandal, and follow where ever it was leading up to. Of course the lack of coverage in the beginning may not have been lack of public interest in the topic, but because the head of the media cooperation?s were afraid their reporters wouldn?t get the correct information,. With faulty information there was a possibility of law suits, and none of the papers wanted that. But then facts started coming about.
The late Stewart Alsop likened the Washington Press Corps. To beagles hunting rabbits?
??each beagle yelping like mad in order to convince the on lookers that he was really the first to pick up the scent. Sometimes the scent is actually that of a rabbit, but quite often the beagles, as they chase each other around in circles, giving tongue lustily, are simply smelling each other.?(Sussman, Barry Pg175)
This would refer to the fact that the reporters basically became caught up in a competition between themselves expanding more space on Watergate than any other single subject. Breaking normal procedures of release on big EXCLUSIVE topics on the regular release date of: Sunday, magazines began releasing Watergate news on Saturday in order to have their stories/reporters included in the Sunday issue of the newspaper. Eight, ten, twelve page sections on the scandal would appear in magazine issues. Yet the media just ended up reprinting the same stories as each other with different text until new stories came about. (Sussman, Barry Pg. 176)
During the development of the ?Rabbit Chase? (The reporters being the hunting beagles and the president being the chased rabbit.) television networks began stationing camera crews at the homes of people like McCord , Dean, and then Ehrlichman and Haldman. (All big sources from Watergate) Pictures of their wives in their pajamas opening their doors to grab the morning news paper were being flashed and published. (Sussman, Barry Pg176)
For days on end masses of reporters waited in the corridors of the United States district courthouse during the trials. Although most of the information obtained were meaningless statements. The hard-core information was obtained from employees from the White House.
Media was sure to spread all known information. This was what the public wanted, so the competition of information was great. Media uncovered many clues which eventually lead to the resignation of President Nixon.(Owens, Annie)
Watergate began a new outlook on Media. This was the peoples way of finding out how politics really worked. By exposing the Watergate Scandal, Woodward and Bernstein launched a chain of political reforms as well as attitude changes in the United States.(watimp.htm Pg. 1)The events uncovered which involved the Watergate case, allowed the Americans to realize the political system in America, and view it with more skepticism. (watimp.htm Pg. 1)
The impact of media didn?t just effect the Nixon and his men. After Watergate people did not just accept what high commanders, A.K.A. the President, spoke of. Egil Grogh (see e- in Appendix A) said?
?My work as official Government action,?struck at the heart of what the Government was established to protect, which is the rights of each individual. In a word Americans have come to believe the worst about government, politics and politicians. ?It didn?t start with Watergate, but Watergate turned an erosion of public confidence into a collapse. The purpose of the break-ins and the subsequent cover-up, threatened the rights of every American.? (watimp.htm Pg1)
Media had raised political awareness in the public. By exposing the Watergate Scandal to the Americans, media had allowed the governed to witness the fact that an American President could abuse his power. (watimp.htm Pg. 1) Watergate above all else rose suspicion about our government and how it was run.
? In the aftermath of Watergate law making emerged as a strong force in trying to limit the abuses of power in politics.? (watimp.htm Pg. 1)
As for the media, Watergate developed a whole new outlook on journalism. It is to be believed that the Post is now in fact resting on their Watergate fame and not breaking stories. (WashingtonPost.com Pg5) Or some others believe that the fame of Woodward and Berstien have bread the new day ?gotcha? journalist. (WashingtonPost.com Pg2) All in all Watergate developed a great competition between media corporations which eventually changed the way Americans viewed both politics and media.
(In order of appearance)
a- Stone walling- Denying the truth.
b- C.R.P.- Committee to reelect the President
c- Plumbers-Name given to the special investigators in the White house.
d- Egil Grogh- one of the men whom engineered an illegal break-in for Nixon.
mywater.htm at www.wfu.edu
updated date unknown
?Chronology of Events?
The Great Cover-up
Seven Locks Press
All the Presidents Men
Robert Redford / Alan J. Pakula
Wildwood Enterprise / Warner Bros.
?Forum With Bob Woodward?