Hiller Instinct: \'Deep Throat\'
The Hiller Instinct: Hiller Instinct: 'Deep Throat'
Watergate was a watermark in a revolution of how Americans view their presidents and government.
By 1972, the year of the break-in, the U.S. was already bogged down in Vietnam, the first TV war. Viewers could see the difference between what generals were saying and what was actually happening. The result: a credibility gap and massive doubts about the whether Washington was telling the truth, driven by an aggressive media.
The message of all the protests then was a growing mistrust of government. Watergate and Richard Nixon broke the bond between America and the White House.
"I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and if the cancer was not removed, the president himself would be killed by it," White House attorney John Dean said.
And Dean, of course, was right.
Nixon, ironically, had been re-elected in 1972 after the Watergate break-in, but before the country knew what it meant. As it became clearer, Nixon became increasingly desperate:
"I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well I'm not a crook," Nixon said.
Few doubt it was two reporters from the Washington Post who forced him to quit, or that Watergate defines the most powerful chapter of modern political journalism. But without deep throat, there would be no story.
Now fast-forward thirty years, to today.
Once again, there's a divisive war and a divisive president. Once again, there are skeptics and cynics. And, once again, a president is compelled to insist he's telling it like it is.
"We have an obligation when we find out something, we gotta share it," President Bush said.
Today, if a new ‘Deep Throat’ told a damaging story about the Bush administration, he'd immediately be attacked as a Democrat with an agenda.
And about half of America would buy that.
So some things have changed, but not this: the nation is still divided along the same fault lines opened wide by Watergate.
And that is ‘Deep Throat's’ living legacy.
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