Public Trust in Nixon before and after the Watergate Scandal
Old Executive Office Building and Camp David. Nixon said this is the best way to find out what went on in meetings and how decisions were being made. The tapes were stored in the White House basements and monitored by the Secret Service. Very few people knew of the tapings.
This ultimately lead to Nixon’s downfall by having all of his meeting taped in which he resigned the as president on August 9, 1974. As Nixon’s last day in the White House, Nixon offered some insight to cabinet members of his Administration who stood by him to, “Never by petty,” “always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”
During Nixon’s first term, he established himself as a person of character and a world leader. “Prior to Watergate Americans expressed high regard for the moral character of Richard Nixon. Election survey data for 1972 made available by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research indicated that when respondents were asked which of 14 political personalities best reflected high moral standards, Richard Nixon was the model choice (35%), followed by Edward Kennedy (13.2%) and then by George McGovern (12.9%). Furthermore, 74.5% of respondents believed that Nixon could be trusted as president, while only 57.8% felt the same way about McGovern.” President Nixon enjoyed strong public support in 1972. I large factor in that support was his foreign policy work. In May of 1972, he put together the first summit between American and Soviet presidents and it was viewed as a great achievement. Nixon “was an earnest, morally upright character who frequently was listed among the 10 most admired men of his time (Gallup, 1978).”
At the time, Nixon was perceived to have restored order to America – ending the civil rights unrest of the 1960s. He stood tall with meetings with Russia and China. He had earned so much clout in those two areas that Americans weren’t even as mad at him about not ending Vietnam as might have been expected. But underneath that shining exterior was a deeply troubled person steeped in paranoia. That paranoia ultimately would be his downfall.
Impact of Watergate on the public’s trust.
The highly educated voters who are more politically aware voted for Nixon in 1972 but lost trust in him after the Watergate scandal. They looked at the President as their leader. They were more negative after the scandal.
The Watergate scandal was a watershed in American politics. Before that time, most Americans generally trusted the Commander-in-Chief and as long as he presented plausible arguments, they would believe in him. Nixon won the 1972 election by a wide margin as the public believed in him and the job he was doing.
Nixon’s paranoia led him to approve an operation to wiretap (bug) the Democrat offices in the Watergate complex. He did this despite being way ahead in the polls and having little chance of losing the election. Even when the break-in was discovered, the President was not initially in danger of losing the White House.
Opinion polls were taken which views the public opinion regarding the situation and the president. “From the beginning, polls showed that most Americans believed the president was involved in the Watergate affair, but most did not think it constituted a serious problem (Gallup, 1978).”
However, Nixon would be undone by his paranoia. He began to orchestrate a cover-up for the break-in. But his White House taping system recorded all of his actions in the cover-up. Nixon staff began to turn on him and said he was involved in the cover-up. Things got worse when he fired his Prosecutor Archibald Cox. “Public support for impeaching the president grew steadily, from 35% at the end of 1973 to 65% in August 1974 (Gallup, 1978).”
The public is concerned when there is a major scandal going and the president if he is still available to lead us. “During Watergate, Nixon’s paralysis of policy and political activities from the White House damaged the administration’s ability to fend off concerns about the seriousness of Watergate (Woodward 1999).”
The double blow of hearing the President orchestrate criminal activity and lie about it to the American people combined with his paralysis of leadership to end public confidence in him and led to his resignation.
Short Description: Richard Nixon and Vietnam War
Why did Nixon scuttle Johnsons’ plan to end the War in Vietnam and who profited from that decision? Nixon feared that ending the war would hurt his chances for presidency, according to notes found by H.R. Haldeman. In Haldeman’s notes he states that Nixon asked him to “monkey wrench” the Vietnam peace talks in 1968. This benefited Nixon the most because it made the public turn to the Republicans to end the war. Nixon later gave instruction’s to Haldeman that an intermediary should keep “working on” South Vietnamese leaders to persuade them to not agree to a deal before the election. This gave him time to convince the electorate that only the Republicans could end the war.
While sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks and conspiring with a foreigner, Nixon was able to put public favor on his shoulders and win the election for presidency. Nixon had committed many scandals before sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks. Watergate has always been overshadowed by the peace talks. The Watergate scandal happened on June 17, 1972. Several burglars(later named Watergate seven) broke into the Democratic National Committee to wiretap office phones and steal top-secret documents for Nixon. When the wiretapped phones failed to work, five out of the seven burglars prepared to break into the building again. As they were trying to break in a security guard noticed that there was someone who taped over several of the building’s door locks. The security guard called the police and when they arrived, they were able to catch the burglars red handed. At first there was no evidence stating that the burglars were connected to the president. Suspicion raised when detectives found copies of the White House phone number on the burglar’s belongings. When Nixon found out that they were caught he took aggressive actions to cover up the scandal. These actions included giving the burglars hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep them quiet. Later in August Nixon gave a speech in which he stated that his White House staff was not involved in the break-ins.
A large percent of voters believed him which lead him to be reelected in November 1972. As the investigation continued, a White House counsel testified about the crimes Nixon committed. It was also testified that Nixon secretly taped every conversation that was held in the oval office. Prosecutors believed if they were able to get the tapes, they would be able to prove Nixon’s crimes. Executive privilege allowed Nixon to keep the tapes to himself but, Archibald Cox was determined to obtain them. When the Watergate Scandal happened, it led to “The Saturday Night Massacre” which happened on October 20,1973. Cox had taken aggressive steps towards taking the tapes from Nixon. When Nixon realized that Cox would continue to pry him for the tapes, he ordered that he be fired. Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richard and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox, both of them refused which lead to them resigning in protests. The role to fire Cox fell to Solicitor General Robert Bork whom agreed to Nixon’s wishes. Later on, in the day the White House dispatched FBI agents to close off the offices to Elliot and William. With this great injustice that Nixon had done to his own Justice Departments it came with great consequences. These consequences introduced resolutions, this called for Nixon’s impeachment. Nixon’s days as the President of the United States had finally came to an end. An impeachment for Nixon had appeared after he had given up the tapes. The reasons for impeachment included; Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of power, and Contempt of Congress. With the embarrassment of impeachment crowded on his shoulders Nixon decided to announce that he was going to resign on August 9, 1974. He left office with only serving 2 ½ years of his second term remaining, he was the first president in American History to resign. Vice President Gerald R. Ford of Michigan took the oath as the new president to finish the other 2 ½ remaining terms.
A total of 25 officials from his administration, including four cabinet members, were eventually convicted and imprisoned for various crimes. Many years after the resignation of Richard Nixon other crimes he had committed finally came to the surface. A scandal that was released in the newspaper talked about the bombings in Cambodia. The Cambodia bombings happened on March 18, 1969 and lasted until May 26, 1970. Nixon authorized secret bombing raids in Cambodia, a move that escalated opposition to the Vietnam War in Ohio and across the United States. Nixon hoped that bombing Cambodia would weaken the United States enemies. A total of 3,630 flights over Cambodia dropped 110,000 tons of bombs during a 14-month period. It was estimated that 100,000 Cambodians died and an additional 2 million became homeless. When the American troops found out about this hideous crime, they rebelled with air strikes. This convinced Cambodians to overthrow the government, leading to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a communist and despotic government. The bombings were illegal, only the American Constitution reserves the power to declare war.
Analysis of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in the Checkers Speech of Richard Nixon
The checkers speech was done many years ago but still so important as it was then and now. The speech is about California Senator Richard Nixon that was shown on national television. Nixon had been chosen by President Dwight D Eisenhower to be his mate during the Republican National Convention in 1952. A few months had went by and Nixon had been accused of taking illegal gifts and then pressed with charges for 18,000 dollars against his supporters. Nixon’s speech is done by attempting to create a better self-image of himself to the audience as a man, while making emotional and well- grounded claims to his audience through ethos, logos, and pathos.
The basis of Senator Nixon’s speech is to oppose to the argument that his funds were in fact handed out illegally, while presenting his argument as to why he is correct. In the beginning of his speech he claims that he does not intend to do “the so usual political type thing” which is not to ignore nor deny any charges that come against him, but to tell the whole heartedly truth. From there on out, Nixon shows the basis of his speech, in which he will be telling the truth throughout his argument. When first starting his argument Nixon begins by stating that as a man his integrity and honesty he has been questioned. This introduction shows Ethos by when he talks about his position and problem, and indirectly presents choice over the judgments that have been made to him and whether or not to believe them.
Another example of Nixon portraying Ethos during his speech is when he explains that he never did make one phone call from the agency or about the agency nor gone down to the agency. He adds in that there are records indicating that. He does this to strengths his position and to prove that the statements were incorrect and give a substantial amount of proof to prove they are incorrect.
To continue Nixon bluntly states that it would be morally wrong for any of that $18,000 went to his personal use or to be secretly given or handed. He also mentions that it would wrong had any of the contributors got special favors for the contributions that had been made. In this statement he uses Logos by providing facts on how he did not spend the money. In addition, Nixon explains his financial background. He does that to better his image. Being from a modest family, him and his siblings we’re always working at the family grocery store while growing up. He also gives a little about his college life. He does this so he can relate back to the audience. This provokes Logos, as he shows through his words that he worked for the things he had/ has and were not handed to him.
Nixon also claims some background about him and his wife and after working numerous jobs, they had a substantial amount of money into their personal savings. And that their savings were within Government bonds. With that being said, making comment about him and his wife’s savings goes to show that he did not touch any of the campaign contributions. Finally, Nixon evokes Pathos throughout his speech by making some statements. He goes to mention that there are other expenses that are not covered by the Government, and he could best address those expenses by asking questions. He is blaming the usage of his money to the government, that it doesn’t provide enough money for senators to spend on actual business related issues. He uses Pathos, by talking about the money spent and you saying that it isn’t as easy as it looks. He then goes to spice things up and get some other reaction out of the audience, humor. Nixon says “The first way is to be a rich man. I do not happen to be a rich man so I can’t use that one.”
By humor and emotions he is using Pathos. Although most of all Nixon’s financial situations can relay emotional correlation with the audience, when he uses the reference to his dog Checkers towards the end of his speech he completes his argument that he is like everyone else. He states he never took any contributions other than his dog Checkers. Nixon knew if he would have brought up Checkers that it will give the audience a different view on him, viewing him as a good man. Bringing up his dog did him the favor of changing the opinion on him worldwide. To conclude, with the help of ethos, logos and pathos Nixon delivers a successful positive image for himself through proving the rumors were incorrect. He does so by accordingly being honest, straightforward, and incorporating his personal background.
Nixon’s “Checkers Speech” is sure to get emotions from the audience, thus allowing a change in the audiences view of him.
The Way Nixon’s Personal Image Was Ruined and Never to Recover from the Blow
Tainted Image of Nixon
President Richard Nixon, the 37th president, became one of the first political figures to experience both the positive and negative effects of the media. He was inaugurated in January of 1969 and remained in office until August 9, 1974, when he became the first president to ever resign from presidency. Two major events President Nixon is remembered for are the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. The media coverage experienced by President Nixon throughout his political career led to these events becoming wide spread news. Since the resignation of President Nixon, many movies have recalled the events of Watergate and the presidency in general. The wide spread knowledge of Watergate and President Nixon bled into popular culture. Television shows, such as Saturday Night Live, and movies have recalled the Watergate incident or even reenacted the events and its aftermath. One movie in particular that presented a satirical representation of President Nixon and the events of his administration was “Dick”. “Dick” portrayed President Nixon and his administration as incompetent through the offered explanations and depictions of events that occurred during Nixon’s presidency.
“Dick” was released in 1991 and starred Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Will Ferrell, and company. The film highlighted characteristics of Nixon, played by Dan Hedaya, and events that occurred as a result of the administration. “Dick” provided explanations for Nixon’s paranoia and foreign policy regarding the Vietnam War. The film incorporated aspects of life in the 1970s, such as food and clothing, which were prominent in popular culture at this time. There were scenes in the film that showed individuals wearing attire associated with the Hippie Movement, as well as promoting the peace sign that President Nixon sported in his infamous picture. There was also an infatuation with McDonald’s seen in the movie. The movie began at the Watergate incident and tells the story of the administration until the very end of President Nixon’s presidency.
On the night of the infamous Watergate scandal, the two main characters, Betsy Jobs, played by Kirsten Dunst, and Arlene Lorenzo, played by Michelle Williams, were writing a letter to a celebrity, Bobby Sherman, about how much Arlene loved him. The teenagers were portrayed as dense to further add an amusing twist to the happenings of the Nixon administration. In an attempt to send the letter late at night to evade Arlene’s mother, the girls inadvertently alerted the security guard to the scandal and happenings at Watergate. This scene mocked the Nixon administration by demonstrating how ridiculous the attempt to enter the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and wiretap the phone lines appeared. The use of tape on the doors, a trick used by the girls in the film and the burglars in the scandal, presented the idea as simpleminded or dimwitted.
Betsy and Arlene informed the President that war and bombing were not the answers to the events in Vietnam. Further in the film, Betsy’s brother, Larry, gets drafted into the Vietnam War. In an attempt to save her brother, Betsy and Arlene decided to speak to President Nixon in order to convince him to stop the Vietnam War. After what appears to only be hours, President Nixon declared that he would begin pulling soldiers out of Vietnam and ending the war started by the Johnson administration, a fact stressed by the Nixon administration. The film presented President Nixon’s decision to stop the Vietnam War as influenced by Betsy and Arlene and their marijuana cookies.
The film offered a comedic explanation for the paranoia experienced by President Nixon: marijuana. The two girls made cookies, called Hello Dollies, using walnuts mixed with marijuana. This explanation depicts the usage of marijuana in the 1970s by the population, and joked that the President of the United States smoked as well. The first time President Nixon tried the cookies he stammered, “Feeling light headed. These are scrumptious. Well I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t felt this way in a… Whoa Hoe!” This image of President Nixon in popular culture seemed to make him more relatable and less presidential, when in actuality it made him less credible because he was under the influence of the marijuana. The marijuana laced cookies are later used in the movie to settle a disagreement between Russia and the United States. Through the use of marijuana, the movie presented President Nixon as constantly under the influence and further reasoned the incompetence of the administration.
The paranoia experienced by Nixon related to various matters that, as mentioned prior, the film depicted in a humorous manner to appeal to popular culture. As soon as the two girls began speaking about the war to President Nixon, the film showed President Nixon taping the conversation in order to record all that was being said in his office. President Nixon kept tapes of almost every conversation had in the Oval Office during his presidency. The Watergate incident was an extension of the taping issue because President Nixon wanted access to the phone calls that the DNC were receiving. The Watergate issue has become the legacy of President Nixon, as shown in the film by focusing on the Watergate scandal. The Plumbers were created in response to the leak of the Pentagon papers, which were filled with information about the Vietnam War. President Nixon became paranoid that other confidential information, such as secret relations with China, would reach the newspapers and retaliated with his own group that would stop issues as these from becoming prevalent.
During his presidency, Nixon created a group called the Plumbers as his paranoia increased. The Plumbers were created to stop information from the administration leaking into the newspapers. The film depicted President Nixon’s use of this group when, in the film, he had Betsy and Arlene trailed for fear of them informing people about the tapes they had found and listened to within the White House. The Plumbers followed the girls in a big black van that had the words ‘The Plumbers’ written on the side in big bold letters. The Plumbers tailed the girls, who walked home, from a humorously short distance away. The use of the Plumbers, and their horrible tailing technique, portrayed that President Nixon did not know how to properly complete undercover work, as seen in the Watergate scandal. The administration of President Nixon hardly receives any kind remarks by people, which “Dick” emphasized on and used to their advantage.
When running as the Vice Presidential candidate under Eisenhower, Nixon delivered a speech in which he explained and listed all of his financial expenses. He also told of a dog that they had received as a gift. That dog was named Checkers. Checkers played a big role in establishing Nixon’s ethos and relatability to the American people. The film depicted the relationship between President Nixon and Checkers. President Nixon complained that Checkers did not like him. The name of the dog in the film was not named Checkers, nor was he a black and white cocker spaniel. As such, the film conveyed that President Nixon preserved the idea of Checkers throughout his presidency to stay connected to the American people. The popular culture image of Nixon, seen in “Dick”, shows Nixon as concerned about his image, especially in light of the Watergate incident that “Dick” emphasized.
A controversial issue that arose with the Watergate incident involved erasing segments of the tapes. The erasing of big segments of information in the tapes was said to have erased confidential information. However in the film, the reason for erasing sections of the tapes was shown as being connected to Arlene, who professed her love to President Nixon. The film joked that this proclamation became the central reason for the erasing of the tapes that he was forced to hand over to Congress. Arlene’s interest in President Nixon mocked the administrations proclaimed reasoning.
The film also showed two journalists receiving a manuscript of the discussions on the tapes that incriminated President Nixon by Betsy and Arlene, under the alias ‘Deep Throat’. The identity of ‘Deep Throat’ had not yet been revealed when the film was made, allowing the film to create an explanation for the identity of ‘Deep Throat’. The film took a comical view on the events when Betsy and Arlene were made ‘Deep Throat’. Assigning the alias to the two girls continued the theme of the film in mocking the administration. These two girls played the greatest role in connecting Watergate to the White House. The investigation, that had been ongoing, was speed up by the work of the two girls. The use of Betsy and Arlene mocked the intelligence of the administration as the girls were constantly seen as dimwitted, but they were able to outmaneuver the president.
In one scene, the girls walked into the room where Nixon ordered for the mass shredding of evidence that would incriminate him in any way. There was also a suitcase full of money that was going to be used to pay off certain individuals in order to keep their mouths shut. The film later showed President Nixon attempting to pay off Arlene because she made a connection between G. Gordon Liddy and the White House. The attempts to cover the incident by Nixon further showed how he actually was a crook, no matter how many times he insisted that he was not.
The overall presentation of the Nixon administration through “Dick” focused on the administration’s explanations and depictions of various incidents. The film answered prior unanswered questions through humor and demonstrated how the actions taken by President Nixon were rooted behind his paranoia. Many of the situations and tactics used in situations were simple and still simple mistakes were made. For instance, the movie showed Liddy walking with a piece of paper filled with important information on the bottom of his shoe that Betsy and Arlene picked up as a ‘souvenir’.
Popular culture played on the legacy of the Nixon presidency. President Nixon will forever be remembered for Watergate and forgotten for the relationship he created between the United States and China. The Watergate incident, as mentioned previously, was a response to the paranoia that filled President Nixon. Popular culture manufactured this incident by not only making the events relatable to the people, but doing so in a manner that mocked and pocked fun at the events. President Nixon’s portrayal in popular culture is less than ideal. His voice and demeanor are constant sources of entertainment that individuals in comedy and popular culture use to ridicule former President Nixon.
The Iconic Symbolism of President Nixon and Watergate Scandal
Richard Nixon: The Watergate Scandal
Between the years of 1972 and 1974, there was a web of political scandals; these were called the “Watergate Scandal”. The word itself “watergate” refers to the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. Today this word is used to refer to bribery, extortion, conspiracy, obstruction of justice use of political money for private purposes, and illegal use of government agencies, such as the FBI and CIA.The definition of abuse of power is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties.
More recently former senator Bob Dole stayed at the Watergate Hotel. Watergate was once where Monica Lewinsky laid low during the duration President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, which left the media in an uproar. It was also here that the Watergate Burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s National Committee offices on June 17, 1972. If it had not been for the alert actions of Frank Wills, a security guard, the scandal may never have erupted. Years later, one of the burglars, Eugenio Martinez, wrote about Mission Impossible.
Pertaining to the Watergate Burglary, there were five accomplices. The key player in all of this was James W. McCord, a security coordinator for the Republic and National Re-election of the President Committees. McCord was a former CIA and FBI agent. Having a government occupation, he was familiar in terms of the Presidential office. After retiring from the CIA, McCord operated his own security firm called McCord Associates. Another burglar is Virgilio R. Gonzalez, a locksmith from Miami, Florida. Gonzalez was a refugee from Cuba, following Fidel Castro’s takeover. Another aid in this was Frank A. Sturgis, a man from Miami whom also had CIA connections and involvement in anti-Castro activities alongside Gonzalez. The fourth partner, Eugenio R. Martinez, worked with Miami Real Estate and also had CIA connections. Martinez was exiled from Cuba due to an anti-Castro campaign incident. The final colleague was a man named Bernard L. Barker, a realtor from Miami, Florida. Barker was a CIA operative and was said to have been involved in the Bay of Pigs incident, which was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the CIA-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 in 1962. The five men were arrested before taking any action.
On June 17th, 1972 at 1:47am, Frank Wills, a Watergate security guard who had only been there one year prior, was making his nightly rounds when he discovered a piece of adhesive tape covering the latch on a door between the basement stairwell and the parking garage. Wills originally suspected that the cleaning crew had taped over the latch to prevent from it locking. Since the crew had left a while earlier, Wills removed the tape and carried on with his duties. The head of the burglary, James W. McCord had noticed the tape missing and didn’t think twice about it being removed and simply replaced the tape. Wills made another round approximately eight minutes later, to find that the tape had appeared again. Wills urgently called Washington D.C. Police to Watergate office complex. They found five men wearing surgical gloves and carrying bugging equipment in the office of the Democratic Party’s National Committee. If Wills had not performed his security guard duties diligently, there probably would not have been a Watergate scandal.
Wills received recognition for his efforts. He received awards from the Democratic Party and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He played himself in the movie “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman which was written by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. For a while, he was sought after by the Washington press corps. His agent was attorney Dorsey Evans. Reporters were charged as much as $300 for interviews, some paid. Plans were made for him to lecture but were abandoned as his 15 minutes of fame faded.
Richard Milhous Nixon was born January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California. His parents owned a small grocery store in Whittier, California. His father also owned a small lemon farm in their hometown. Nixon had four brothers; Harold Nixon being the oldest, Donald Nixon who was born one year after Richard, Arthur Nixon, and then the youngest, Edward Nixon. Two of the brothers passed away while Richard was at a young age. One of his younger brothers, Arthur Nixon who was born May 28, 1918, had died of Tuberculosis on August 10, 1925. Harold Nixon, a great influence on Richard, born June 1, 1909, died of the same cause on March 7, 1933.
Nixon graduated high school second in his class and was offered a scholarship to Harvard. Instead of Harvard, Nixon attended local Whittier College. Upon graduation from Whittier in 1934, Nixon received a full scholarship to Duke University Law School in Durham, N.C. After graduation, Nixon returned to the town of Whittier to practice law at Kroop & Bewley. A career as a small-town lawyer was not enough for a man with Nixon’s ambition, so in August 1942, he and his wife moved to Washington, D.C.
He soon became disappointed with the New Deal’s big-government programs and bureaucratic red tape, and left the public service realm for the U.S. Navy. Serving as an aviation ground officer in the Pacific, Nixon saw no combat, but he returned to the United States with two service stars and several commendations. He eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant commander before resigning his commission in January 1946.
After returning from the war, Nixon decided to run for congress. Nixon ran against five-term liberal Democrat, Jerry Voorhis, Nixon took this challenge head-on. Nixon’s campaign exploited conception about Voorhis’ being an alleged communist sympathizer, a tactic that would recur throughout his political life. It worked, helping Nixon win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1946. He was a member from 1948 to 1950
In 1960 Nixon ran against Massachusetts Senator, John F. Kennedy. Nixon narrowly lost to the young John F. Kennedy in the closest election ever in U.S. History. Nixon decided to run again in 1969 against Hubert Humphrey and independent candidate George Wallace. Nixon won that election by nearly 500,000 votes. Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969.
As one of the many results of Watergate, on August 9, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon decided to resign from office due to being heavily accused of continuing series of revelations about the Watergate scandal. The scandal escalated, costing Nixon most of his political support. Nixon believed this was a better alternative than being impeached and removed from office.
“I have never been a quitter,” he told the nation in a 15-minute-long televised speech. “To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.”
“To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home,” he continued. “Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.”, President Nixon stated in his official resignation speech, at 9:01pm in the Oval Office. Nixon was the first President ever in American history to resign from office.
Due to the Watergate scandal, the media became more confident and aggressive. Watergate was unraveled by the Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Their work led to the development of teams of “investigative” reporters on newspapers around the world. “Deep Throat” became an everyday term, referring to the anonymous official who leaked information to Woodward and Bernstein.
Bob Woodward was born in Geneva, Illinois on March 26, 1943. He enrolled in Yale University with an NROTC scholarship, and studied History and English. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1965, and began a five-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. After being discharged as a lieutenant in August, 1970, Woodward considered attending law school but applied for a job as a reporter for The Washington Post. He was given a two-week trial but was not hired due to his lack of journalistic experience. In 1974, Woodward partnered up with Bernstein and wrote his first book titled “All The President’s Men”, which went on to be a #1 bestseller the spring before Nixon resigned. The movie inspired a wave of interest in investigative reporting as a career and journalism in general. It is frequently cited as the best movie about the practice of journalism. Woodward had worked for The Washington Post since 1971. He has won nearly every American journalism award, and the Post won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for his work with Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal. Woodward had also won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 2003. Wooward’s most recent publication “The Last of the President’s Men” is the final part to his bestseller referring the Richard Nixon and Watergate.
Carl Bernstein is an American investigative journalist and author who was born February 14, 1944 in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Having dropped out of the University of Maryland, he was unable to formally become a reporter because the paper requires a college degree and he had no desire to finish his coursework. In 1966, Bernstein was hired at the Washington Post on it’s metro staff. Ten years later, Bernstein left his journalism job to become a senior correspondent for ABC News in New York that mainly focused on national security matters. In his first story for “20/20,” Bernstein reveals a U.S. secret alliance with China, Pakistan and Egypt, which supplied arms to Afghanistan’s fight against the Soviet Union. Bernstein shared a Pulitzer Prize with Bob Woodward for his coverage of Watergate for The Washington Post. His most recent book is the acclaimed biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The overall effect of Watergate is seen as having a cleansing effect on the nation’s political process. Many laws and acts were successfully passed after the scandal. One being the Ethics in Government Act which is a U.S. federal law that created public disclosure of financial and employment history of public officials. Another being the Amendment of the Freedom of Information Act. Congress wanted to amend the FOIA to create a more open government but President Ford vetoed that act. Congress then voted to override his veto. A third was the Passing of the National Emergencies Act, a U.S. federal law that was passed in 1976 to stop open-ended states of emergency and formalize the power of Congress to put checks and balances on the emergency power of the President. A few benefits of Watergate were not possible without the journalistic duo of Bernstein and Woodward. Investigative reporting and political journalism were on the highrise and soon become the “cool” thing to do. Many more high school students wanted to further their education to become a writer. The major downfall of Watergate is that the nation’s trust in politicians became scarce. It will be a long time before politics in the United States is the same again.