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Tags: 1963, Abraham Zapruder, Amos Euins, Art Simon, Clint Hill, Darwin Payne, Dealey Plaza, Frank DeRonja, George Hickey, Hugh Aynesworth, Jim Garrison, John Connally, John Joe Howlett, Josiah Thompson, Kennedy assassination, Life magazine, Max Holland, November 22, Oliver Stone, Pierce Allman, Richard Stolley, Richard Trask, six seconds in Dallas, Sixth Floor Museum, The Lost Bullet, Warren Commission, Warren Report, Win Lawson, Zapruder film
By Jack Limpert
After a month of voting, readers of The Washingtonian decided that of all the films ever set in Washington, All the President’s Men—Alan Pakula’s 1976 adaptation of the Washington Post’s reporting on the 1972 break-in at the Watergate—is the “most Washington” of them all. The Washingtonian says the movie deserves the honor: Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman gave memorable performances as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and Jason Robards won an Oscar for his portrayal of Post editor Ben Bradlee. And then there was the wonderfully mysterious character Deep Throat, who Woodward said met him in an underground parking garage and helped guide his Watergate reporting.
Back in the early 1970s I was the fairly new editor of The Washingtonian and one of my mentors was Frank Waldrop, editor of the Washington Times-Herald until it was bought and closed by the Washington Post. Frank wrote occasionally for the magazine and I talked often with him, getting advice on how to be an editor. His best advice: “You’re a small town boy from Wisconsin. Keep your sense of astonishment at what you see in Washington.”
In the summer of 1974, after President Richard Nixon resigned and the Woodward and Bernstein book, All the President’s Men, came out, Frank told me that the Deep Throat character may have been Mark Felt, a top official at the FBI. Frank had good FBI connections, and I wrote two pieces that summer speculating that Felt was Deep Throat. Here’s the first one, published in June 1974; it has a link to the second one published two months later.
More than 30 years later, in 2005, Mark Felt confessed. In a Vanity Fair article, John D. O’Connor, an attorney acting on Felt’s behalf, quoted Felt as saying, “I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat.” Woodward and Bernstein confirmed it. Three years later, Felt, the former associate director of the FBI, died.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
In an exclusive story, Variety magazine reported on a new arrangement between Newsweek and Aspire Entertainment, whereby Aspire will take stories published in the magazine and develop them as films, TV series, and other media content.
Aspire vice president Teri Flynn cited “The Truth Was Out There” as an example of the “verve and attitude” evident in the new Newsweek. “This is not your grandmother’s Newsweek,” said Flynn.
To read the Variety article, click here.
By Max Holland
On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson directed the Warren Commission to “evaluate all the facts” in the brutal November 22 murder of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, on a downtown Dallas street in broad daylight. Reduced to its bare essentials, the investigation sought answers to three fundamental questions: Who, why and how?
“Why” was entirely contingent on “who,” and that depended on “how.” Thus, the linchpin of the Warren Report—and every subsequent investigation—has always been precisely how Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. That is the finding from which all the important answers flow; mishandle that question and the credibility of the entire report is undermined. The Warren Commission’s bungling of “how” is a primary reason why there have been so many residual doubts and conspiracy theories over the past 50 years.
In the 1964 Warren Report, just seven pages (of 888) reconstruct the shooting sequence. Three spent cartridges were found in the sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, corroborating the testimony of most ear- and eyewitnesses that three shots were fired. But after 10 months of investigation, the report did not present a compelling explanation of the sequence; instead it offered up three slightly different scenarios. In each, one of the bullets fired by Lee Harvey Oswald fatally hit Kennedy in the head; another struck and passed through the president before hitting Texas Governor John Connally; and the third shot fired by Oswald…well, the commission could not say where that bullet went or even when it was fired. Depending on which of the three scenarios one favored, the total time span of the assassination ranged from as little as 4.8 seconds “to in excess of 7 seconds.”
The story of how the Warren Commission fumbled this pivotal question is long and convoluted, and only the barest outline can be presented here. The saga involved not just the lawyer-dominated commission and staff but also the FBI, the Secret Service and the media, primarily the then-mighty Time Inc. empire. The crucial element, of course, was the most famous movie ever taken by a cameraman, the 26-second-long Zapruder film.
To read entire article, click here.
Tags: 11 Seconds in Dallas, Amos Euins, Arlen Specter, CBS, Clint Hill, Dealey Plaza, FBI, George Hickey, Glen Bennett, House Select Committee on Assassinations, Jack Ready, James Tague, JFK assassination, Joe Ball, Lee Harvey Oswald, Life magazine, Melvin Eisenberg, Paul Landis, Queen Mary, Secret Service, Six Seconds in Dallas, Warren Commission, Warren Report, Zapruder film
Woodward and Bernstein’s Secret Sources
By Max Holland
In 2005, W. Mark Felt came forward in Vanity Fair to identify himself as journalism’s most famous secret source. The 91-year-old former FBI executive admitted—with a little push from his family—to being Deep Throat, the anonymous source whose information was vital to numerous scoops about the Watergate scandal written by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in 1972-73. A national guessing game that had been played for 31 years seemed over.
Yet the arrival of Deep Throat in the flesh created new complications, as media scholar Matt Carlson observed in 2010. A stroke-afflicted Felt was unable to speak on his own behalf; simultaneously, “Woodstein” (as the reporting duo were known internally at the Post) could no longer dictate the terms for how to think about Deep Throat. Speculation persisted, not only over how Woodward and Bernstein had used sources but also over what Carlson called “the overall accuracy of the Watergate narrative as retold by journalists,” who have a vested interest in a self-glorifying version.
Nothing did more to stoke these doubts than a 2012 biography of Ben Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein’s fabled editor at the Post. In Yours in Truth, author Jeff Himmelman, a former Woodward disciple, described how he found an interview recorded while Bradlee was preparing his autobiography in the early 1990s. In it, the Post editor expressed doubts about Woodstein’s portrayal of Deep Throat in their book on the investigation, All the President’s Men.
“There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight,” Bradlee told the interviewer in 1990. Himmelman also found in Bradlee’s papers a memo from Bernstein that described his clandestine encounter in December 1972 with a source identified only by the code name “Z.” In All the President’s Men, the information provided by “Z” was put on a par with disclosures made by Deep Throat. Himmelman put two and two together and realized “Z” was a member of the grand jury that had issued the original indictments against the Watergate burglars in September 1972—although in their book, Woodstein expressly denied getting information from anyone on the grand jury. One didn’t have to be a skeptic to believe that Woodward and Bernstein were still withholding the full truth about their exploits.
Now a document has surfaced in an unlikely place that sheds sorely needed light on Woodstein’s reporting while providing some perspective on the press’s role in uncovering the scandal.
Oddly enough, the document—a draft of a Woodstein story from January 1973—was buried deep within the papers of Alan J. Pakula, director of the eponymous 1976 Hollywood film based on Woodstein’s best-seller. Pakula, who died in 1998, deeded all his papers to the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—the people who give you the Oscars. The collection includes his copious research for All the President’s Men, and in many respects, Pakula’s papers are more illuminating about the book and the movie than Woodward’s and Bernstein’s own papers, which are housed at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas.
Click here to read the rest of the article in Newsweek.
Tags: Alan Pakula, All the President's Men, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Chuck Colson, Deep Throat, Donald Campbell, E. Howard Hunt, Earl Silbert, Elayne Edlund, Gordon Liddy, Harry S. Flemming, Henry B. Rothblatt, James McCord, Jeb Magruder, Jeff Himmelman, John Dean, John Mitchell, Katharine Graham, L. Patrick Gray, Mark Felt, Matt Carlson, Richard Nixon, Robert F. Bennett, Robert R. Mullen Company, Robert Redford, Seymour Glanzer, Washington Post, Watergate
By Rem Rieder
Call it Joni Mitchell's revenge.
This time they're not paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. They're blowing up the parking lot.
And not just any parking lot. This particular parking lot — well, parking garage, if you want to get technical — is one of the most iconic venues in the history of journalism.
It's the place where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward conducted his clandestine meetings with his super-secret source, perhaps the most famous source in history: Deep Throat.
The Arlington County Board in Washington, D.C.'s, Virginia suburbs recently approved a plan to knock down a couple of buildings and replace them with a new residential/commercial complex, The buildings going away are on top of the garage where Woodward and Throat met as the young reporter pursued his investigation of the Watergate break-in.
Today, journalism is an embattled field. The Internet has upended the business model of traditional media, and the search for a bright digital future remains elusive. Journalists themselves don't fare too well in the court of public opinion, where polls find them languishing near the bottom with war criminals and members of Congress.
But Watergate brings to mind a very different time, when journalists were seen as heroic figures waging a lonely battle to uncover the truth and save the republic.
Woodward and fellow Post reporter Carl Bernstein were immortalized in the terrific 1976 movie All the President's Men (Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98% favorable), which was based on their book detailing their efforts to uncover the nefarious ways of one Richard M. Nixon and his henchmen. Among the most memorable scenes were the late night, film noir-drenched meetings in the doomed garage between Woodward (played by Robert Redford) and Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook).
Nixon, of course, was ultimately forced to resign, and the mythology has it that two young reporters took down a president.
There's no doubt that Woodstein did excellent work. The nation is in their debt for their efforts to keep the story alive after five burglars with links to the Committee to Re-elect the President broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex on June 17, 1972.
But as we know now, there's much more to the story, as there often is.
The reporters were hardly the only ones seeking to determine where the bungling Watergate burglars would lead. Federal prosecutors and the FBI were in diligent pursuit. Often, the dynamic duo's scoops were not news to the feds.
Also, Woodward and Bernstein were hardly the only journalists doing distinguished work. Seymour Hersh of The New York Times and Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times, among others, also broke important Watergate stories.
Getting back to the garage, we've learned much more about Deep Throat over the years. For three decades, speculating about the source's identity was a major journalistic parlor game. The mystery ended in 2005 with the revelation that Throat was actually W. Mark Felt, the No. 2 man in the FBI at the time.
We've also learned Felt's motivations were far more layered than his original portrayal as a noble whistle-blower, as Max Holland lays out in his excellent book Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat. Evidence has emerged that Felt was a skilled, not to say Machiavellian, bureaucrat with self-serving motives for helping Woodward. The late Christopher Hitchens once described Felt's/Throat's machinations in The New York Times as "the single most successful use of the news media by an anonymous unelected official with an agenda of his own."
Click here to read entire USA Today article.
Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 11:59 AM UTC
In late 1970, William Davidon, a mild-mannered physics professor at Haverford College, privately asked a few people this question:
“What do you think of burglarizing an FBI office?”
Even in that time of passionate resistance against the war in Vietnam that included break-ins at draft boards, his question was startling. What, besides arrests and lengthy prison sentences, could result from breaking into an FBI office? The bureau and its legendary director, J. Edgar Hoover, had been revered by Americans and considered paragons of integrity for the nearly half century he had been director.
Who would dare to think they could break into an FBI office? Surely the offices of the most powerful law enforcement agency in the country would be as secure as Fort Knox. Just talking about the possibility seemed dangerous.
But Davidon, with great reluctance, had decided that burglarizing an FBI office might be the only way to confront what he considered an emergency: the likelihood that the government, through the FBI, was spying on Americans and suppressing their cherished constitutional right to dissent. If that was true, he thought, it was a crime against democracy—a crime that must be stopped.
The odds were very low that such an act of resistance could possibly succeed against the law enforcement agency headed by this man who held so much power. Nicholas Katzenbach, who as attorney general was Hoover’s boss, had resigned in 1966 because of Hoover’s resentment over being told by Katzenbach to manage the bureau within the law. The director’s power was unique among all national officials, said Katzenbach. He “ruled the FBI with a combination of discipline and fear and was capable of acting in an excessively arbitrary way. No one dared object. … The FBI was a principality with absolutely secure borders, in Hoover’s view.” At the same time, he said, “There was no man better known or more admired by the general public than J. Edgar Hoover.”
Such was the power and reputation of the official whose borders and files Davidon was considering invading. He knew Hoover was very powerful, but he didn’t know—nor could anyone outside the bureau have known— how harshly he ruled it and how he protected the bureau from having its illegal practices exposed. Katzenbach believed that Hoover or one of the director’s top aides had even forged Katzenbach’s signature in order to make it appear that the attorney general had given permission for the FBI to plant an electronic surveillance device, a bug, in civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s New York hotel room. Despite what appeared to be his signature on the memorandum, Katzenbach was certain he never approved such a procedure, which he considered the “worst possible invasion of privacy.”
Hoover’s sensitivity to criticism, Katzenbach said when he testified in December 1975 before the committee then conducting the first congressional investigation of the FBI, “is almost impossible to overestimate. … It went far beyond the bounds of natural resentment. … The most casual statement, the most strained implication, was sufficient cause for Mr. Hoover to write a memorandum to the attorney general complaining about the criticism, explaining why it was unjustified, and impugning the integrity of its author.
“In a very real sense,” Katzenbach testified, “there was no greater crime in Mr. Hoover’s eyes than public criticism of the bureau.”
Click here to read the entire article.
Holland claims that Felt, an F.B.I. official, was basically using Woodward in his quest to ascend to the role as the bureau’s director. “He thought he was the natural heir because effectively [J. Edgar] Hoover was suffering from old age, and Felt, in the last year of Hoover's life, was running the bureau,” Holland says.
But, to his chagrin, after Hoover’s death, Nixon named L. Patrick Gray as acting director. Undeterred, Felt started to give Woodward information about the Watergate break-in, hoping that would make Nixon think Gray was not doing a good job. Holland says his scheme worked at first, as Nixon began to lose faith in Gray . . . but, of course, it all backfired when Felt’s intel soon directly implicated Nixon in the Watergate scandal, and the White House, according to Holland, subsequently learned who was doing the leaking. If this was a fable about animals, now would probably be the spot for a moral about a fox learning that a little ambition can be a good thing, but overzealousness can lead to the entire forest getting destroyed, or something like that.
To read post on VF website click here.
Top Line Power Players
Why did FBI official Mark Felt become Deep Throat?
The popular narrative is that Felt leaked details of the Watergate scandal to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward out of an altruistic motive to expose Richard Nixon’s corrupt presidency.
But Watergate expert Max Holland has a different take.
“Top Line” caught up with Holland in the same spot where Felt and Woodward once met in secret – parking spot 32D of an unassuming garage in Arlington, Va., that is expected to be demolished soon.
“He thought he was the natural heir because effectively [J. Edgar] Hoover was suffering from old age, and Felt, in the last year of Hoover's life, was running the bureau,” said Holland, who details what he believes were Felt’s motives in the book “Leak: Why Felt Became Deep Throat.”
When Hoover died, Nixon named L. Patrick Gray acting director of the FBI instead of Felt. In an attempt to make Nixon lose faith in Gray as director, Holland contends that Felt began leaking the details of the Watergate break-in.
The plan worked initially, Holland said.
“A month or two after the break-in, he [Nixon] decided that Gray wasn't up to the job, and indeed, he thought Felt should be the man,” he said. “Felt didn't know this, so he kept on leaking.”
But then, Holland said, Felt’s plan backfired on Oct. 9, 1972, when he leaked information that linked the Nixon re-election campaign directly to the Watergate break-in, and it became the centerpiece discovery of the Washington Post’s investigation.
“The leak … so infuriated the White House that they found out who was doing the leaking, and they found out it was Mark Felt,” he said. “But they felt, no pun intended, that they couldn't fire him, because he knew too much.
To hear more about Holland’s perspective on the Watergate scandal leaks, and the details of Woodward and Felt’s meetings in the Arlington garage, check out this episode of “Top Line.”
ABC News’ Kyle Blaine, Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Brian Haefeli and Ed Jennings contributed to this episode.
On October 20, 1973, the so-called Saturday Night Massacre propelled the Watergate scandal into a true constitutional crisis. Confronted with an order from President Richard Nixon to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, both Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus ’55 resigned. Although Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox, a public outcry forced Nixon to appoint a new special prosecutor, and the House of Representatives soon began impeachment hearings, which led to Nixon’s resignation. Ruckelshaus is the last surviving participant in that drama.
Did you have any hesitation about resigning?
No, I honestly didn’t. It seemed to me that what the president was asking us to do was fundamentally wrong. I had worked with Cox when I was acting director of the FBI [from April to June 1973], and he could not have been more cooperative.
What I did was mandated by my oath of office. You don’t resign for light and transient reasons. There has to be some fundamental wrong that the president is asking you to commit before you do that. Firing Cox seemed to fit right within that category.
Felt was the No. 2 guy at the FBI when I became acting director. While he was out of the office on vacation, stories began appearing in the Times about wiretaps that [J. Edgar] Hoover had ordered. We checked and records of those wiretaps were missing from the FBI files, so I started an internal investigation to trace them. After several weeks, we eventually found them in John Ehrlichman’s safe at the White House.
Stories about information obtained from the wiretaps continued to appear in the Times, so obviously there was a leak somewhere in the FBI. I received a call from a man who identified himself as a reporter who was writing these stories for the Times. He said, “I suppose you’re wondering where these leaks are coming from. Well, they’re coming from Mark Felt.”
I confronted Felt the next day. He denied being the source of the story, but I told him I had the information on good authority and didn’t believe his denials. He had violated every stricture at the FBI about the sanctity of information in their possession, that you don’t release that to the media, ever. The next morning, Felt had his resignation on my desk, which I took as an admission of guilt. Years later, Max Holland interviewed me for a book he was writing about Felt. Holland told me he didn’t think I had actually been talking to the Times reporter.
Do you see Felt as a hero?
Oh, no. I think Felt was a guy obsessed with taking Hoover’s place as FBI director. He was trying to feather his own nest and undercut his bosses at the FBI.
To what extent is Watergate responsible for our current cynicism about government?
It certainly contributed to it, but I think it started with the Vietnam War. Trust in government spiraled downward during the war, and things like Watergate gave it another shove in that direction.
Click here to read entire article, as published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
Tags: All the President's Men, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Deep Throat, FBI, FBI war of succession, FBI Watergate, J. Edgar Hoover, John Crewdson, Max Holland, New York Times, Richard M. Nixon, W. Mark Felt, Washington Post, Watergate, William Ruckelshaus, William Sullivan
What happened at the garage on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia, was a series of rendezvous between Deep Throat and Bob Woodward (but think Hal Holbrook and Robert Redford) as Woodward and his Washington Post sidekick Carl Bernstein investigated the 1972 Watergate break-in. There's a historical marker there now, and it says this:
Mark Felt, second in command at the FBI, met Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward here in this parking garage to discuss the Watergate scandal. Felt provided Woodward information that exposed the Nixon administration's obstruction of the FBI's Watergate investigation. He chose the garage as an anonymous secure location. They met at this garage six times between October 1972 and November 1973. The Watergate scandal resulted in President Nixon's resignation in 1974. Woodward's managing editor, Howard Simons, gave Felt the code name 'Deep Throat.' Woodward's promise not to reveal his source was kept until Felt announced his role as Deep Throat in 2005.
But the garage's days are numbered. Plans are to clear the area for new office buildings. I got the heads-up on this from Max Holland, the prominent debunker of Deep Throat mythology who a few months ago published Leak, a book casting a skeptical eye on Felt's motives for telling Woodward whatever it was he told him. Introducing Leak to Bleader readers, I wrote that Holland:
believes Felt was not driven by a patriotic passion to expose lawlessness at the highest levels of government. Nor was he determined to focus culpability on the White House in order to protect his FBI from being dragged down by the scandal. And he wasn't avenging himself against Nixon for having passed him over as J. Edgar Hoover's successor by instead naming assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray as acting director of the FBI. Holland argues that Felt still wanted Gray's job, and set out to get it by 'trying to prove to the White House, through anonymous leaks to the media, that Gray was dangerously incompetent and incapable of running the Bureau.'
Click here to read the rest of the article.
The title of Robert Redford’s new documentary, which aired on the Discovery Channel last night, is All the President’s Men Revisited. At times, it seems more like All the President’s Men Repeated. Though created to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Watergate, the first half of the film contains little that could not be found in Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 political thriller starring Redford and Dustin Hoffman. You know the story: A pair of scrappy young reporters named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein stick to their guns when nobody else will, and their reporting helps to bring down a president.
This is, to be sure, a terrific story. No matter how many times you’ve heard it before, there is something gripping about watching Nixon’s slow, painful descent into national disgrace. Redford’s film hits all the highlights: Nixon’s press secretary Ron Ziegler dismissing the original break-in as a “third-rate burglary”; Woodward and Bernstein scrambling to “follow the money” all the way to the White House; Nixon aide Alexander Butterfield admitting to Congress that his boss maintained a voice-activated taping system; Nixon’s restrained farewell address to the nation, then his devastating, heartfelt goodbye to the White House staff.
As far as it goes, the film is a reasonably adequate primer on Watergate mythology, and it’s certainly fun to watch. But it is also a missed opportunity for historical reflection—and one that, given the age of most Watergate participants, is unlikely to come around again. Forty years out, we know most of the basic facts about Watergate. The real challenge is figuring out what they all meant.
The film begins with footage of Nixon mugging for cameramen (awkwardly, as always) just before his August 1974 resignation speech. Redford then cuts back to June 1972, when the neophyte reporter Woodward received an assignment involving some sort of botched break-in at DNC headquarters. There is no hint of the controversies that have dogged Woodward in recent years, such as the accusation that his reporting (then and now) relies too heavily on anonymous inside sources. Redford sticks to the script first introduced in Woodward and Bernstein’s 1974 book All the President’s Men, then repeated in the 1976 film, laying out how the “good guys” in the media got the bad guy in the White House.
We now know, however, that Watergate was more complicated than that. Woodward and Bernstein did perform heroic work in the early months after the break-in. But the Watergate story didn’t capture national attention until 1973, well after Nixon had been re-elected to office. In those early months, some of the Post’s best information came straight from government investigators, already conducting their own troubled but expansive inquiries largely outside of public view. By far the most famous of these was Deep Throat—now largely accepted to have been W. Mark Felt, the FBI’s No. 2 man, who died in 2008. The film shows an aged Felt waving at reporters from behind his walker in 2005, when he revealed his identity to Vanity Fair. But Redford barely explores the implications of this revelation: Was Felt using Woodward for his own ends, and if so why?
Read the entire Slate article here.
Tags: Alan Pakula, Alexander Butterfield, All the President's Men, All the President's Men Revisited, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Deep Throat, Dustin Hoffman, FBI, Hugh Sloan, John Dean, L. Patrick Gray, Richard Nixon, Robert Redford, W. Mark Felt, war of succession, Washington Post, Watergate, Watergate, William Goldman
In Newsweek, Max Holland asks: Why is this man an American icon?
For the past week Washington has found itself debating Bob Woodward. The occasion: his very public argument with White House senior official Gene Sperling, in which Woodward left the impression that Sperling had somehow tried to intimidate him—only to see this accusation undermined by the release of an email exchange in which the pair sounded rather conciliatory.
Bob Woodward at his home in Georgetown. (Andrew Cutraro/Redux)
Almost all the commentary about this flap fits neatly under the heading, “What the Hell Happened to Bob Woodward?” But posing that question, as New York magazine did last week, implies a transformation that never occurred. Woodward is the same now as he ever was. His misrepresentation of his interaction with Sperling is only the latest in a long string of questionable journalistic episodes.
To understand how this started, one has to begin near the beginning: Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s book about their Watergate exploits, All the President’s Men. The authors enjoyed titanic-sized credibility when the book appeared in the spring of 1974; not too many reporters could point to having received a public apology attesting to the veracity of their work from a press secretary to the president of the United States. (“I would apologize to the Post, and I would apologize to Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein,” Ron Ziegler had said on May 1, 1973, retracting his earlier criticism of the newspaper’s articles on Watergate.) The natural assumption was that Woodstein’s book would meet that same high standard. Why would their nonfiction for The Washington Post differ from nonfiction written for Simon and Schuster?
Read the entire article here.
Tags: All the President's Men, Barry Sussman, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Deep Throat, FBI, Jeff Himmelman, John Mitchell, Judy Hoback, Leak, Max Holland, Richard Nixon, The Secret Man, W. Mark Felt, Washington Post, Watergate, Woodstein, Yours in Truth
David Warsh on All the President's Men
I like movies as much as the next guy, maybe more, but I was sorry to learn that Michelle Obama had announced the Oscar for the best picture last Sunday. She made the announcement via video feed from the White House. Presidential participation in the Academy Awards gives Hollywood story-telling a legitimacy that it does not deserve. Feature films entertain, inspire, illuminate, amuse. But truth-telling, as it is understood by acolytes of science, history and news, is pretty far down on their list.
Some cases in point this year: Canadians are annoyed because their involvement in the caper depicted in “Argo” was significantly underplayed. “Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner and director Steven Spielberg needed to build the drama in their climactic scene, so they invented two Connecticut congressmen to vote “No” as the roll was called on the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery. “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, ran into trouble in Congress because of the value (the film-makers were purposefully vague) ascribed to information produced by torture.
But the best example of Hollywood’s tendency to embroider to the point of fabrication is nearly forty years old. (I should say that I am leaving director Oliver Stone out of the discussion altogether.) That is the spin that director Alan Pakula and screenwriter William Goldman put on the motivation of the anonymous source known as “Deep Throat,” in their 1976 film version of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s Watergate best-seller, All the President’s Men.
To read entire article click here.
Tags: Alan Pakula, All the President's Men, Barry Sussman, Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Deep Throat, FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, L. Patrick Gray, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Richard Nixon, W. Mark Felt, Washington Post, Watergate, William Goldman
In a two-part review, Craig Henry writes, “Max Holland’s Leak might have been the most important book published in 2012. Combining painstaking research with a dogged determination to separate fact from myth, Leak is a careful examination of Mark Felt and his role in Watergate.”
Part 1: Felt’s Game
Part 2: The Problem with Sources
The press’ role was important in unearthing the scandal, but it wasn’t nearly as overarching as earlier assessments suggested.
By Max Holland
Max Holland is the author of Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat
(University Press of Kansas, 2012).
It has taken all of the 40 years since the June 1972 break-in at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., to arrive at a proper understanding of the media's role in the scandal that broke a presidency. Even then, it is not the sheer passage of time that permits a balanced accounting. Rather, it is time plus some key disclosures and documents, including information gleaned from recordings surreptitiously made by President Richard M. Nixon; recent releases by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act; the 2007 opening of critical portions from the Woodward and Bernstein Papers at the University of Texas's Ransom Center; and finally, confirmation, in 2005, that the über-secret source known as Deep Throat was in actuality W. Mark Felt, the bureau's No. 2 man in 1972-73.
Integrating all this information results in an understanding that diverges markedly from the first draft of history presented in Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's 1974 book, "All the President's Men," and two years later, glorified in the eponymous movie. To be sure, the press played an instrumental, possibly irreplaceable, role. Yet contrary to the legend fomented by the book and film, the media did not save the day with truth its only weapon.
The linchpin in this mythic version, of course, has always been Deep Throat, or more precisely, the widespread public perception of his role. Regardless of whether one believed Woodward's initial 1974 rendering (Felt as principled whistle blower, trying to save the office of the presidency), or the more nuanced 2005 version presented in "The Secret Man" (Felt as savvy bureaucrat, trying to protect the bureau from Nixon's clutches), the fable hinged on the clandestine-minded Deep Throat and his "deep background" arrangement with Woodward. The late Christopher Hitchens noted as much when he observed, in his New York Times review of "The Secret Man," that Watergate ranked "as the single most successful use of the news media by an anonymous unelected official with an agenda of his own."
So long as there was no consensus about Felt's true design, there was a gaping hole at the center of the narrative. The new documentation fills that void, and fractures the fairy tale at the same time.Read the entire article here.