On Sunday, I vowed to myself to spend lots of time in bed and/or on the couch, just relaxing, and doing a little bit of cleaning out my DVR. This included watching one of the best journalistic thrillers ever: “All the President’s Men”!
“All the President’s Men” is based on the true story of Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and their investigation into the Watergate scandal in the early 70’s.
I saw this movie for the first time at Columbus North High School (Go Bulldogs!) during my very first journalism class. Oh, the memories! While I enjoyed watching the movie then, I didn’t cherish the details of what I saw when I watched it on Sunday: the typewriters, the newsroom with landlines and rotary phones, reporters in ties and jackets, and the mere fact that to reach a deadline, you physically had to be present in the room to drop the typed draft into the editor’s basket. That is some classy shit.
The Watergate scandal started with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in DC, and it was later discovered that the Nixon administration was involved – after lots and lots of attempts to cover it up, naturally.
Part of this coverup meant the Nixon administration went to great lengths to figure out who was on to them, including bugging offices of their opponents, and anyone who seemed suspicious. The administration also used the FBI and the CIA to investigate activists and political figures. Hmm… sound familiar?
All of this drama from Nixon was actually a violation of the constitution, which lead to impeachment, and eventually, his resignation. And Bernstein and Woodward had a lot to do with uncovering all of the coverups, basically following the money that was given to the “robbers” back to the Nixon campaign.
We’ve been hearing a lot of references to Watergate lately, especially with President Trump’s blind accusation of former President Obama of wire tapping Trump Tower. Why? How? Really? Nothing has come out yet, and if I had to guess, it won’t.
But what I do know is that there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in the Trump administration – a lot of tricks to get the opposition to look one way, while there’s a shit storm in the other direction, and frankly, it’s creepy.
The thing is, Woodward and Bernstein used two very old-school journalism tactics to get the information they needed: charm and trust. They were able to get solid sources, and their sources handed over valuable information without fear of being named and getting caught.
This is one reason why Trump’s “Fake News” is the most terrifying thing out of his mouth, perhaps ever. Because he’s already insinuating that when (not if) the news reports something dangerously true (RUSSIA), then, well, it’s simply “fake”.
We’re what, two months into the Trump presidency, and shit is already super questionable, so I’m certain these comparisons to Watergate won’t stop anytime soon. The cool thing is, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward are still around to comment on it, like the bad asses in chinos they once were.
“Trump’s attacks on the American press as ‘enemies of the American people’ are more treacherous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press,” former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. You can read the full story here, and you should probably go ahead and watch “All the President’s Men”, at least for the indoor cigarettes and parking lot shots of Deep Throat.
“Nothing’s riding on this except the first amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of this country.” -All the President’s Men