The 1973 Watergate hearings changed popular opinion after Richard Nixon’s landslide win. Here’s what is — and isn’t — different today.
by Stephen Engelberg
…The Watergate hearings changed the nation’s perception of President Richard Nixon, laying the groundwork for his impeachment.
The hearings, and the role played by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in exposing the Nixon administration’s corruption, inspired a generation of young people to become investigative journalists. I was one of them…
Many commentators have argued that given the current fractured political and media culture, Nixon would not have left office had the crimes of 1972 and 1973 taken place today; he could have been confident that 34 senators of his own party would stand by him, regardless of the evidence.
I’m not so sure. It’s certainly true that the major television networks broadcast gavel-to-gavel coverage on what amounted to nearly all channels available in that pre-cable period of our nation’s history. It would be decades before the creation of a network that would deliver an alternate reality in which an event like the Jan. 6 hearings could go mostly uncovered.
RTFA. Draw your own conclusions. That ticking clock will catch up with history and these hearings…sooner or later. And we’ll all learn who has it right.