Thursday, June 02, 2005

Deep Throat Should've Kept a Sock In It

It was a good move by the SJ-R to give front page play to Ann Sanner’s piece on the Deep Throat revelation. In doing so, they help illustrate my point when I say that Mr. Mark Felt should have continued to keep his yap shut about the whole thing.

From a historic perspective, nothing has really been gained by knowing the identity of Deep Throat. Justice has already been served in the Watergate case and many of the participants have passed on. The facts remain the same we just now know the identity of one of the many informants, the other of whom have been known all along.

But because of the admission, the investigative reporting class Sanner participated in at the U of I will have to hang up their gumshoes. The shroud of mystery surrounding the Deep Throat story has been stripped of its intrigue, leaving journalism schools without a killer case story to inspire their young to take up the often tenacious task of investigative reporting. The reality - turning to a loose-lipped and possibly vindictive government employee to confirm some facts, just can’t match the perception - clandestine meetings with a shadowy figure who was risking his life for the love of country.

The real loss, however, was to pop culture. Watergate is no longer hip. The cloak and dagger aspect of the story, even it was mostly imagined, has been erased by the light of day. Now Watergate is just another case of corrupt politicians. Sure it took out a president and led to a best selling book and a hit movie, but the anonymous source was the twist that gave the story staying power. We don’t really want to know what was in the briefcase in "Pulp Fiction" or what Billy Murray whispered to Scarlett Johansson in "Lost in Translation." Speculation is almost always more entertaining than revelation.

And when will Chris Britt ever get to depict Nixon in hell again? Okay, I'm sure when G. Gordon Liddy shuffles off this mortal coil Britt will have Dick and the boys ready to welcome him to eternal damnation. But other than that, opportunities for postmortem defamation of the former president are growing thin.

More
The bitterness was palpable even in print when William Gaines, who taught Sanner’s Watergate class, said that Woodward and Bernstein did a better job then he thought in concealing the identity of their source. Perhaps because: WOODSTEIN LIED! Timothy Noah writing for Slate mentions a couple of instances where the duo go beyond concealing their sources identity and actually lie to misdirect those sleuthing the case. It’s not good when a journalist, who dedicates his life to the pursuit of truth, turns around and lies to his brethren.

From the airwaves
WMAY's Jim Leach took issue with the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass for comparing Linda Tripp favorably with Felt. I agree that Monicagate isn’t in the same league with Watergate, but I was disappointed when, after the first couple of callers to Leach's show, the discussion split along party lines. I would suggest this. Neither Nixon or Clinton were representing the ideals of their respective party or their constituents when they committed their acts. Is it any less wrong to talk about Republican corruption or Democrat’s lack of moral values based on these two cases, than it is to say that Marion Barry’s dalliance with a crack pipe is an indictment on all black mayors? Or that Jewish auteurs should not be allowed to adopt Asian children based on the unseemly relationship between Woody Allen and
Soon Yi Previn? No, I say. There are enough unscrupulous individuals all along the political spectrum that it is impossible to not call the kettle black when attempting to attribute their actions to party affiliation. I would also suggest that the first step to bridge the political divide in this country would be for everyone to stop defending their own when one of their own proves to be a louse.

3 comments:

DownLeft said...

I always thought it was funny that people ruled out certain candidates as deep throat based on information like the idea that the person smoked or not. If I was trying to conceal a source that famous the first thing I would do is falsify some insignificant detail like whether or not they smoke.

I don't like it when people treat politics like a sports game either. Conservatives seem to think they win if they can score more points insulting Clinton than Democrats can against them.

Its a little different in this case though because Bush has brought back some of the old crooks who did some of Nixon's dirty work like Rumsfeld and Cheney. That makes it relevant. There are too many parallels.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

"If I was trying to conceal a source that was famous the first thing I would do is falsify some insignificant detail."

I get your point, but a journalist isn't suppose to falsify anything. They can be selective in what they write so as to not give any clues, but to purposely write something that isn't true, even if their intent is merely to hide a source's identity, is against the ethics of journalism. At least as I understand it.

Dan M. said...

The only thing that really came to mind as I read Anne Sanner's article was......"who gives a %&*#"

"My day started off with my usual two mile walk"......WHO CARES! Now go find Bigfoot you geek.