Forty years ago this week, Alexander Butterfield told a U.S. Senate select committee investigating the Watergate scandal that President Richard Nixon had installed a secret audiotaping system in his offices.
Butterfield’s disclosure was one of the most decisive moments in the Watergate. It focused the scandal’s multiple investigations into a months-long pursuit of the tapes — one of which clearly revealed Nixon’s role in attempting to cover up the crimes of Watergate. That revelation forced his resignation in August 1974.
How the Post fumbled that story makes for an intriguing sidebar at the anniversary of Butterfield’s stunning disclosure. The newspaper’s lead Watergate reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, described in a book about their reporting…
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The Seattle Times seemed almost apoplectic the other day in deploring “the debasement of reality” in “the age of Trumpism,” declaring that “lies” have become “the new currency of political discourse.”
Journos didn’t do it
What most interested Media Myth Alert was not so much the hyperventilating as the credulous reference to the heroic-journalist myth of Watergate — that reporters brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.
“The American press didn’t have a spotless record in the past,” the Seattle Times article asserted, adding:
“But more often than not, reporters got it right, from uncovering the ghastly conditions in slaughterhouses [presumably a reference to Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle] to forcing a president’s resignation in the Watergate scandal.”
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