First Line Reports – John Dean Testimony – Watergate Coverup hearings – June 29, 1973 – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Hard to imagine (to some of us) that it was fifty years ago this week that John Dean dropped one of several bombs on the Watergate coverup hearings to an astonished America, who were watching and listening with riveted interest.
John Dean’s inside knowledge on how the bungled burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters on June 17, 1972, ultimately revealed an organized-crime-type mind-set within the Nixon administration. It would ultimately bring the Nixon White House down and cause Richard Nixon to resign before a live television and radio audience.
But early on in John Dean’s testimony, it was clear that Nixon was holding his one-time subordinate in utter contempt, in effect saying the entire Watergate affair was all John Dean’s doing. Everything associated with it and all the repercussions were laid directly at John Dean’s feet.
It was a strategy that ultimately didn’t work – too many fingers pointing at John Dean were pointing right back at Richard Nixon, and for each vehement denial came photo-op proof that Nixon was, in fact, the ONE.
It made for good TV and Radio and the hearings were broadcast, from start to finish for the entire period of the hearings. It made for stimulating conversation with friends and colleagues, but also screaming matches for those family members on opposite sides of the political spectrum. You might say Watergate was the beginning of creating a divisive country.
This episode of Firstline Reports, via CBS Radio usually delivered first thing in the morning before the day’s news started rolling in – and during the months the ongoing circus of Watergate hearings was often the place you got recaps and reactions from the previous day’s testimony. Although the scandal and the players were appearing so fast it was hard to keep up, it offered no end to the fascination with the World According To Capitol Hill.
Here’s one of the reasons from July 29, 1973.