Accuracy in Media

One of the main culprits of the Watergate scandal, John Dean, who spent 4 months in prison, surfaced as a media hero. He has also surfaced as an expert on the alleged scandalous behavior of the Bush Administration. He wrote the book, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush.  But the facts, which have survived several challenges in court, indicate that Dean had a much bigger role in Watergate than reported by Woodward and Bernstein. The book Silent Coup argues that the Watergate break-ins were really meant to cover up embarrassing information about a call-girl ring whose “Madame” was a roommate of John Dean’s wife, and that John Dean ordered the break-ins. Watergate, as Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy maintains, was “a Dean Operation.”

To the credit of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, he had Liddy on his June 1 show to comment on the naming of Mark Felt as Deep Throat. Liddy said it didn’t add up. Liddy explained, “One, Woodward wrote about how Deep Throat, he had a long friendship with Deep Throat.  There’s no evidence that he ever had any kind of friendship with Mark Felt.  Secondly, why would the number two man at the FBI choose to confide in a young metro reporter for ‘The Washington Post’ who had only been there for nine months? Three, Deep Throat is given credit by Woodward with the story of the destruction of the tape.  How would Mark Felt have known about that?  On the other side of the coin, Mark Felt would have known about the FBI’s investigation into the call girl ring that was being run out of the Columbia Plaza apartment.  And that, of course, was the connection and that is what was being spied upon.  Why wouldn’t he have told Woodward and why wouldn’t Woodward have reported it?”

Liddy went on to say, “I was recruited for the operation by John Dean. As a matter of fact, when I sent my material forward, you know, the get from the wiretaps, I gave it to Mitchell, whom I was told was supposed to be getting it.  And it would come back to me with notations on it and the initials J.D., for John Dean.”

Alluding to how the Silent Coup version of Watergate has been shunted aside or dismissed by the major media, Liddy told Matthews: “?they have got it all wrong in the history books as to what was going on and why.”  The media version of events is the one told by Dean-that the Watergate break-ins were designed to gather political intelligence on the Democrats. 

History Professor Joan Hoff adds her voice to this debate, saying, “Why do mainstream journalists and scholars continue to insist that the desire for political intelligence produced the Watergate break-ins on May 28 and June 17, 1972? FBI evidence has long existed showing that the office of the head of the DNC, Larry O’Brien, which should have been the logical target of a political espionage operation, had not been the target of either break-in. Instead, the burglars concentrated both times on the office of R. Spencer Oliver, the national president of the Young Democrats and executive director of the State Democratic Chairmen, and of his secretary Ida Maxwell (“Maxie”) Wells. While Oliver was seldom at DNC headquarters, Wells worked every day there.”

“One of the burglars, Eugenio Rolando Martinez, had a key to Wells’s desk, but when Liddy announced on his radio program some 20 years later that her desk was the target because it contained information about a prostitution ring supposedly operating out of the DNC, she unsuccessfully sued him for defamation in Federal District Court?A judge in one decision cited material from the 1991 book, Silent Coup: The Removal of a President by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin saying that there was credible evidence backing Liddy’s statements about call girl arrangements being made over her phone. Then, of course, there was the key to her desk, which after being photographed as evidence, had been ‘lost’ by the FBI.”

The Post has said that, “? we do know what happened at Watergate-and it had nothing to do with prostitutes.” The paper called the Silent Coup and Liddy versions of Watergate a “conspiracy theory.” Of course, Watergate was a conspiracy, too.

The Post has its own version of Watergate, one that now fingers former FBI official Mark Felt as Deep Throat. But one person who could verify that story, Mark Felt, can’t speak for himself because of a stroke and dementia. All he can say is that he wants to make a lot of money.

Tragically, the conservative bloggers who have done so much to keep the Big Media honest on so many issues have failed to challenge the conventional wisdom about Watergate and Deep Throat. My associate Sherrie Gossett surveyed a number of them, including Little Green Footbals, Instapundit, Powerline, PowerPundit, and OutsideTheBeltway, and could find nothing challenging the “Mark Felt is Deep Throat” story line.

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