Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
The mainstream media, led by the Washington Post, takes great pride in their “investigative journalism” prowess, which ranges widely from targets in politics to those in business and entertainment. But will the same media even perfunctorily investigate dishonest reporting in their own ranks? That does not appear to be in the cards.
Cosmo Kramer, a character on television’s Seinfeld, once wrote a book on coffee tables, which itself was a coffee table (with legs to be folded out from the book’s cover).
I’ve written an analogous book, called Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism. The book, researched and written over nine years, solidly details, in nonpartisan tones, inconvenient facts about the Watergate scandal about which the Post had apparent knowledge, but instead chose to suppress. In short, the Post knew of CIA undercover infiltration of the White House and its program to tape Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) politicians arranging trysts with escorts, but the paper concealed these explosive facts. It did this in order to destroy Richard Nixon and also to protect its political bedfellow, the DNC.
Unfortunately, the Post has chosen to suppress this recent book’s substantial, well-documented claims, likely as a coverup of its own Watergate misfeasance, far more egregious than the obstruction Richard Nixon so unsuccessfully attempted. Like Kramer’s coffee table book, it turns out that I wrote about a set of inconvenient facts suppressed during Watergate by the Post, which book itself became a set of inconvenient facts suppressed today by the Post. So, unwittingly, I wrote metaphorically a book about coffee tables that became a coffee table.
One would think that these explosive charges of journalistic deceit should at the least be discussed, especially in and by the Post. It may well be that the paper could argue that some of the book’s facts are incorrect or its analysis misguided. After all, the Post has long touted its Watergate reporting as energetic, truthful and significant. If portrayed otherwise by this book, shouldn’t the Post be the first to weigh in, especially if its claims are inaccurate? After all, the masthead of the paper proclaims that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Wouldn’t the shrouding of its own dereliction be an example of inducing such darkness?
As a result of the sensational Watergate journalism of the Post, the public concluded that the Nixon Administration’s clumsy coverup of the Watergate burglary related to apparently unnecessary spying to assist its reelection campaign. Even though President Nixon may not have known about or authorized the burglary in advance, he seemingly obstructed its investigation, which probed allegations of serious abuses of both presidential power and democratic processes. Because of this nexus to important governmental functions, Nixon’s misfeasance, unlike the later criminal misfeasance of President Bill Clinton, was deemed not only criminal but also a clear abuse of power, justifying removal from office. At the time, based upon the Post’s reporting, I, like most citizens, wholeheartedly agreed with the President’s removal.
But, as I document in this book, the only connection of the burglary to the election campaign was its use of campaign funds. Its true purpose was not campaign-related, as the Post knew but concealed. Moreover, although junior Nixon lieutenants were involved in seeking personal dirt at the DNC, unbeknownst to the Oval Office, so too was the CIA, working with them undercover through Howard Hunt and James McCord, both of whom had infiltrated the Nixon Administration. The Post decided that these seemingly key facts should not sully the minds of interested citizens as they considered whether the President should be removed.
Why is this journalistic deceit, noxious as it may have been, relevant today? It was the lauded Watergate reporting that made journalists the powerful political players that they are today, capable of making or breaking any political regime. The distorted, half-truth reporting of Russiagate and Ukrainegate, designed not for truth but for political effect, is but a logical extension of the Post’s Watergate journalism.
But will any member of the mainstream media, whose power depends on the Post’s Watergate journalism, expose the paper’s deliberate deceit in reporting the world-shaking scandal?
We all know the answer. A book proving that the truth about Watergate was suppressed by the media, led by the Post, is itself being suppressed by the Post.
Democracy, it seems, is fast dying in darkness.