Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Nattering Na-blogs of Negativism ...
Almost as interesting as the revelation that a former FBI deputy director, W. Mark Felt, was the legendary "Deep Throat" are the responses to that revelation posted on weblogs
Breaking a silence of 30 years, the revelation came from the source, himself, when Felt stepped forward Tuesday, claiming he was Deep Throat, the secret Washington Post source that helped bring down President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. That claim was later verified by the Post, itself.
Now, we've been assured ... both here, in the Tall City, and elsewhere in the blogosphere ... that this is a non-story, a yawner that no one (except us debauched harlots of the evil MSM empire) are interested in. The blogs poke fun - sometimes in a humorous tone, sometimes in a tone that's downright nasty - at how the mainstream media is blowing the whole thing out of proportion in a pathetic attempt to pat ourselves on the back.
Yet, less that 36 hours after Felt's announcement went out over the newswires, the public seems to be interested. As of Wednesday afternoon, amazon.com reported, All The President's Men, the 1974 book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the Watergate scandal, ranked as the 43th best-selling title. That's quite a jump up from its rank - #400 - the night before. That book formed the basis for the 1976 Oscar-winning movie of the same title. According to netflix.com (an online movie rental outlet), requests for that movie have increased twelve-fold ... again, in less than 36 hours from Felt's announcement.
How big was Watergate? How big IS Watergate? Have you noticed that, to this day, more than thirty years later, just about every scandal - big or little, real or imagined, Republican or Democrat - that blows through our nation's capital has 'gate' attached to the end of it ... especially by opportunists out for someone's blood, seeking the political advantage that could be gained from getting the public to identify their issue with Watergate.
For those interested in the media's perspective on those days, especially from the vantage point of the Washington Post's news desk, I strongly recommend msnbc.com's interview with Ben Bradlee, who was Editor in Chief of the Post when Woodward and Bernstein reported the story. Among other things, Bradlee talks about how the information from Deep Throat was just a starting point ... there was still plenty of slogging around, back-checking and corroborating to do with that information. It was good investigative work, solid writing, and a story - a truly significant story - that galvanized the nation.
For journalists, it was one of the high points of our craft in the 20th-century, and no amount of spewing from the nattering na-blogs of negativism can take that away.
ADDED NOTE: Among the many sites I visited while getting some feel for the blogosphere's take on the "Deep Throat" story is West Texas' own Jessica's Well, a longtime practitioner of the art of nattering.
Posted by Jeff at 8:55 PM