Watergate The history of Watergate and how two journalists brought down a presidency Material property of the AR Dept. of Education Distance Learning Center. It may be used for non-profit, educational use only after contacting the ADE DLC at http://dlc.k12.ar.us ER History In June of 1972, five men were arrested in a burglary at the Watergate Apartments in Washington, D.C. June 17, 1972 During the early morning hours, a security guard notices that an office is being burglarized in the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C. He calls police. Five men are arrested, including a former CIA agent. All five men are wearing suits, ties and rubber gloves. A burglary…so what? What was unusual was that this burglary was at the Democratic National Headquarters. Here’s what made it strange: •It was right before President Richard Nixon, a Republican, ran for re-election. • The men were only after file folders. All of the men had large amounts of cash in their pockets, supposedly as payment for the burglary. The Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were two young reporters at The Washington Post who investigated the story behind the burglary. Bob Woodward • A reporter at the Washington Post. He was known for making a hundred phone calls each day and working on stories for hours and hours. • Woodward graduated from Yale University and started out reporting for a local Maryland newspaper. Bob Woodward • He called the editor of The Washington Post every week until he was hired as a reporter. On his first day of work, Woodward made over 100 phone calls, just looking for a story. • He was an average writer, but better at getting information. Carl Bernstein • A reporter at the Washington Post for ten years when the story broke. He was messy, a chain- smoker and very pushy and obnoxious doing whatever needed to get information for a story. • He was a better writer than he was at getting information. Initial Coverage When the Watergate burglary happened, The Washington Post ran the story on Page One. The New York Times ran it on Page 28. No one took the story seriously except the Post. Initial Coverage The day after the break in, Woodward had worked on the story from nine in the morning until eight at night. Woodward wrote a small story about a former CIA agent being arrested in connection with the burglary. Listening to Answers As part of the story, he called the U.S. Attorney General to ask him if he knew anything about the burglary. He was told, “The burglars were not operating for us or with our consent.” Woodward hadn’t even asked that question. Amount of Research • Because Woodward was suspicious that the burglary was really a cover-up for something else, he began investigating the story. • Woodward realized that he needed someone to do the writing while he did the calling. Amount of Research Woodward found out that Bernstein was also interested in finding out what had happened. He ended up asking Bernstein to help him work on the story. He and Bernstein asked their editors if they could work only on this one story. Sept. 15, 1972 • The five Watergate burglars, plus two members of the White House staff, are found guilty of planning and taking part in the break-in. • In addition to taking files, the men had tried to “bug” the Democratic National Headquarters. • Since two of the men had direct ties to the White House, Woodward and Bernstein tried to find out more. Over the next few months… • Woodward and Bernstein were able to prove that not only was the White House staff involved in the Watergate break-in, but other things as well. • The U.S. Attorney General, John Mitchell, controlled a secret fund for President Nixon to provide money for the break-in and other shady activities. • Some people who worked for Nixon had been threatened with their lives. The After-Math •Woodward and Bernstein worked for months to uncover the entire story of Watergate. •The publication of their stories caused the U.S. Senate to investigate President Richard Nixon. •Nixon chose to resign as president once the truth came out. •Most people in the U.S. said they didn’t trust the president, let alone the government. So What??? • It wasn’t the break-in that was so bad. It was the cover-up of the break-in. • President Nixon went to great lengths to make sure he was not connected to the break-in, when he had actually ordered it. • This called into question the integrity and honesty of the president himself. Where did they get the information? • Woodward and Bernstein had many sources, some unnamed, but their most famous source was called “Deep Throat.” • This was a secret source that had inside information about the president and the Watergate break-in. • They never revealed the man’s name. Deep Throat His identity was one of the longest running journalism secrets. One of the biggest secrets in journalism history • Only three people knew Deep Throat’s identity: Woodward, Bernstein and their editor, Ben Bradlee. When will we know who Deep Throat is? • Many people guessed who Deep Throat was, but Woodward and Bernstein said they wouldn’t reveal the man’s name until after Deep Throat dies. Mark Felt • FBI’s number 2 man • Served as the deputy director of the FBI • 30 year career Mark Felt is Deep Throat • Deep Throat’s identity became known on May 31, 2005 when he stepped forward and identified himself. • He identified himself. The reporter’s only confirmed it once Felt made the announcement The Pulitzer Prize in 1975 • Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, along with the Washington Post, received a Pulitzer Prize for reporting the Watergate scandal. • The Pulitzer Prize is the highest award given yearly in American journalism. The Power of the Press The work of two journalists resulted in changing the history of the United States.
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