As our current state of affairs unfold like the convoluted and sinister plot in a straight-to-video b-movie, the historic importance of our present moments offer a reminder of another time, when events were uncovered. motives were investigated and the highest office in the land came under scrutiny.
Watergate, the site of a seemingly unimportant and bungled attempt at breaking into the Campaign headquarters of the DNC during the 1972 Presidential campaign probably would have gone unnoticed had it not been for questions and curiosity by a team of investigative journalists covering an otherwise routine arraignment of suspects in court.
As a series of dots became connected, a bigger and darker picture emerged into what became probably the biggest scandal of the 20th Century – one that brought down the Nixon White House and forever put into question the trust of public officials and the motives behind our political system.
When you think about it, and look at the scandals which had gone on before this, Watergate was the defining moment of our change in the Public trust. We never quite looked at our elected officials the same way again. Maybe our cynicism in the 60s spilled over to become our question of values in the 70s – and the events of Watergate and the efforts of President Nixon to obscure the truth, brought into question what Washington was ultimately about; a place of hypocrisy and twisted values. That pedestal we had placed the Presidency on was now in danger of crumbling – and the trauma we had undergone during those months of investigations and weeks of hearings have often been referred to as “America‘s Great National Nervous Breakdown”. Where each day we sat glued to the TV or radio, listening to confessions unfold and crimes uncovered – shattering our beliefs and turning us numb in the process.
Watergate has been pored over and dissected to the point where every piece of uncovered Political corruption now has Gate attached to its name. And the flurry of charges and countercharges we’re experiencing now, all go back to a time when it happened first.
So as a reminder of the events 45 years ago and the reporters at the center of the controversy as well as the eye of the political hurricane, here is an interview with Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the occasion of the release of their follow-up to All The Presidents Men, The Final Days, in this interview for the NPR program Options, from April 23, 1976.