The All the President’s Men quotes were worth sharing were few and far between, but these standout quotes give the main story behind the Watergate scandal. The scandal was about the importance of Freedom of the Press, the fear of unchecked political power, and the difficulty in being David against Goliath.
The Truth in Whistleblowing
Deep Throat stamped his foot. “A conspiracy like this … a conspiracy investigation … the rope has to tighten slowly around everyone’s neck. You build convincingly from the outer edges in, you get ten times the evidence you need against the Hunts and Liddys. They feel hopelessly finished–they may not talk right away, but the grip is on them. Then you move up and do the same thing at the next level. If you shoot too high and miss, then everybody feels more secure. Lawyers work this way. I’m sure smart reporters must, too.”
The abiding characteristic of this administration is that it lies.
On evenings such as those, Deep Throat had talked about how politics had infiltrated every corner of government — a strong-arm takeover of the agencies by the Nixon White House. Junior White House aides were giving orders on the highest levels of the bureaucracy. He had once called it the “switchblade mentality” — and had referred to the willingness of the President’s men to fight dirty and for keeps, regardless of what effect the slashing might have on the government and the nation.
Where the Buck Stops
Basic strategy that goes all the way to the top. The phrase unnerved Bernstein. For the first time, he considered the possibility that the President of the United States was the head ratfucker.
The White House vs The Press
So the White House wants to eat the Washington Post, so what? It will be wearing on you, but the end is in sight. It’s building and they see it and they know that they can’t stop the real story from coming out. That’s why they’re so desperate. Just be careful, yourselves and the paper, and wait them out, don’t jump too fast. Be careful and don’t be too anxious.
The White House had decided that the conduct of the press, not the conduct of the President’s men, was the issue.
In a tape from the Oval Office on February 22, 1971, Nixon said, “In the short run, it would be so much easier, wouldn’t it, to run this war in a dictatorial way, kill all the reporters and carry on the war.” “The press is your enemy,” Nixon explained five days later in a meeting with Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to another tape. “Enemies. Understand that? … Now, never act that way … give them a drink, you know, treat them nice, you just love it, you’re trying to be helpful. But don’t help the bastards. Ever. Because they’re trying to stick the knife right in our groin.”
So…do you understand the story behind the Watergate scandal through these All the President’s Men quotes? Are you taking the White House or the Press in the fight? Let us know in the comments! |RL
P.S. Want more All the President’s Men? Check out the book review!