Wednesday, July 19, 2017

All the President's Men

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It being the 45th anniversary of the break in at the Watergate complex which began the downfall of the Presidency of Richard Nixon, the scandal has been in the news a lot lately. All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein tells the breaking news story from the point of view of the two journalists most responsible for bringing the tale to light. While other journalists had let the story of the break-in slip to non-existence, Woodward and Bernstein continued to research and interview and dig until all the facts had come forward to the public. It was riveting journalism for the time and has set the standard for what the best journalism should like like in the present. 

How much do you know about Watergate and the Post's responsibility for bringing forward all the details of the break-in and subsequent cover-up? Nixon had a love hate relationship with the media. He much preferred to speak directly to his constituents, so he could control the content of the message, and often tried to denounce the Post's coverage as made up bunk. (The fake news of the day.) Most other news outlets had been largely ignoring the Watergate affair, so Nixon put pressure on the Post to quit their coverage including making a private statement that there was never to be another Washington Post journalist in the White House. The book takes us through timelines of events and the facts and missteps along the way which ultimately lead to other news sources beginning to take notice, Nixon resigning, and about 40 people indicted or jailed for the crime and obstructing justice. 

If you're taking part in the Reading Marathon, this book can fit into several categories: true crime, made into a wonderfully riveting movie which stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, and depending on which version you read, the cover has some red on it. I do give you a warning - once I read this book, I wanted to learn more and more and more about Watergate and the twisted tales involved in it. 

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