The Washington Post and Involvement in Watergate
This documentary examining the events leading to the Watergate Scandals during the Nixon Presidency from about 1972 to President Nixon’s eventual resignation from office in 1974. It focuses on the role of the Washington Post during this period and their involvement in exposing the break-in of the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. through an anonymous ally referred to as Deep Throat who offered them information suggesting Federal corruption and abuse of power.
The movie focuses on President Nixon and shows actual footage of appearances he made during and after the discovery of the scandals. It also highlights key players in the Watergate scandals including H.R. Halderman and John Ehrlichman who were two of Nixon’s most influential aids in the White House as well campaign manager of the republican party, Herbert Porter and Nixon’s personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach. Seven more men were indicted for conspiring to cover up the Watergate investigation and numerous more plead guilty in later days for crimes ranging from perjury, lying to the grand jury, conspiracy, mishandling of campaign funds and political espionage and sabotage.
Using actual footage taken by various news agencies during this period and testimony of witnesses involved in the investigation, the documentary pieces together the scandals in an understandable manner to show what happened, the reactions to the discovery of abuse of power in the White House and the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. The collection of footage, recordings and testimonies form a compilation of clips that put together the whole story, complete with uncovering the person behind the nickname Deep Throat. The documentary also interviews key journalists from The Washington Post whose involvement in the Watergate investigation helped to uncover justice.
Focus is given to the Deputy Director of the FBI at the time, William Mark Felt, Sr. who is the man behind the Deep Throat name. His information given to the Post was crucial in catching the illegal break-in into the Democratic National Party Headquarter at the Watergate Hotel Complex although his identity remained a mystery until 2005 for security reasons. The massive coverage by The Washington Post fueled focus on the crimes and investigations and exponentially increased the profile of the crimes as well as the repercussions. This marked a new role for the media in providing unbiased information for the general public and not being influenced by federal regulations or government authorities-the media is thus able to hold the leaders accountable to the people they represent by exposing their actions and prohibiting abuse of power to such an atrocious degree.
The documentary suffers from over-attention to Deputy Felt due to the timing of his identity uncovering. Although focus should be concentrated in the maligned actions of President Nixon and the subsequent repercussions of his actions while acting as President, much focus is drawn to the role of Deep Throat and his relationship in providing information The Washington Post journalists and reporters. However this needs to be taken with a grain of salt-numerous books and documentaries had already been made and the release of this particular documentary was to uncover in an educational and comprehendible manner the role of Deputy Felt. Because of his willingness to participate and provide information available only to him due to his high profile position in the FBI, justice was served and measures have been taken to make certain abuse of this magnitude is not allowed to occur in the White House and with those to whom the American people trust. The documentary does an adequate job in revealing the role of media and the corruption that was uncovered during the Nixon Presidency.
Deep Throat – the Full Story of Watergate. Perf. Tom Brocaw. DVD. Genius Entertainment, 2006.