Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Enemy of the State

My good pal Luci Hague asked me in comments to write on the revelation of Deep Throat's identity. I'm not exactly sure what to say--is there anything new (beyond his name) that has come out because of the story?

So instead of writing my own post, I'll instead kick over to The Moderate Voice, whose thoughts on the subject are must-read material. He goes through the reaction of some of Nixon's old allies to the story. They are not pleased with Mr. Felt. Now that his name is out there, they say he "violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession" (G. Gordon Liddy, and pretty rich coming from the source), "undermine[d] the administration" (Chuck Colson), is a "traitor" (Pat Buchanan), and "made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide" (Ben Stein). All of these are simply absurd (especially the last).

Where were these people in the last 30 years? If they thought that Nixon was the epitome of a great president, they should have been making that argument all throughout the last three decades. That they waited until hearing the name of the source suggests they don't actually believe their arguments, they just want to cause the maximum amount of hurt and pain to someone who they feel brought down one of their heroes. For shame. I thought the rule of law still meant something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think a case for Nixon as a great president is necessary, in order to make a case against Deep Throat as a champion for truth, justice, and the American Way.

Meanwhile, we've done the Nixon controversy to death. All the arguments that could be made, one way or the other, have been made. And to be sure, Nixon wasn't such a great president anyway--Watergate, if nothing else.

But up until yestreday, nobody could properly discuss Deep Throat, as a real individual, at all. The source's background, motives, and the context of his decisions were all a mystery. Until yestreday.

I don't find it at all shocking or hypocritical that politicians who have already said their piece about Nixon and moved on, are now saying their piece about Mark Felt.

The moral they seem to be drawing is that, regardless of whether or not Nixon was a bad man and a bad president, anonymous news sources may have mixed or malicious motives for their actions, and maybe we shouldn't automatically trust, publish, or lionize them.

That said, I think Nixon was definitely a bad president, and that the Woodward and Bernstein were right to investigate and publish the shenanigans he perpetrated.

One concern many people seem to have is that the Watergate scandal put undue sanctity on the anonymous whistleblower, and undue value on the Magical News Story That Can Topple The President. What we are learning about Mark Felt doesn't do anything to allay that concern, it seems. Meanwhile, the mainstream media culture seems to have learned all the wrong lessons from what should have been a very instructive event in our history.