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5/31/2005 06:13:00 PM | Timothy

The First Time I Felt Sorry for Wolf Blitzer
I was watched CNN 20 minutes ago or so, and Wolf's guest was Ted Turner. Wolf said he was on to advertise that tomorrow would be the 25th anniversary of CNN, but that first Wolf wanted to ask about the importance of the news that it had been confirmed that Deep Throat was Mark Felt, the #2 person at the F.B.I. under Nixon. Turner said that he did not think it was that important. It was a long time ago, a historical footnote, and that he was much more concerned about present days like nuclear war and peace. Ei. However, most of the cable news channels do not seem to be giving this much coverage: just a few minutes on the front of the hour. I've already heard twice that Mark Felt's motivation might have been that he felt jealous that he didn't get the top FBI job after Hoover died. Watch for that spin, to see if the attempt begins to make Mark Felt seem unpatriotic.

Update: The nightly news programs all lead, I believe, with Deep Throat. I watched NBC mostly (I can't stand that new anchor and the new format on CBS). I think both NBC and ABC mentioned as a motivation that Felt didn't get promoted. When Anderson Cooper 360 began on CNN, I didn't stay to watch "G.Gordon Liddy and others" talk about Deep Throat. Pat Buchanan was so much more interesting on Hardball, calling Felt a snake and saying it was a real act of disloyalty. He led off with saying what Felt's motivation was (see above, the meme floats). Buchanan then snuck in a reference in about how Felt was convicted of something. Buchanan did this under the guise of saying Felt was wrongly convicted of course- Buchanan said he defended him at the time. It was clear (to me) that Buchanan was trying to make Felt out to be a bad guy. Matthews asked what the charge was- it had something to do watching Vietnam protesters without a warrant- Buchanan said Felt was later pardoned by Reagan. At the end, Chris Matthews said of course you think Deep Throat was a bad guy, you guys lost! The Nixon defenders went after Felt by saying that basically that he was responsible for the Holocaust in South Vietnam. Matthews laughed at this and said you guys did Cambodia, and said the burgulers were responsible: blame the perpetrators, not the guys who uncovered it. Buchanan said that the people who brought down Nixon were worse than Nixon (!). Matthews said that was a theory, and said they had to go to a break.

Fox News had some historian/journalist who said that Deep Throat and the Washington Post didn't make a difference: it was prosecutions and investigations. Ben Veniste (former Watergate prosecuter and Clinton defender) said that without two things (the Post stories and the Nixon tapes), Nixon would have served out his full term.

Update 2: Drudge has had a headline up reading "Woodward: Felt himself had hopes he would be next FBI director..." Buchanan was back on MSNBC for Olberman. He immediately brought up the promotion motive, and quickly mentioned Felt's conviction. Before Buchanan, John Dean was on. It was an interesting interview. Basically Dean said that Felt did not quite fit. Dean thought this suggested Deep Throat was a composite, even though Woodward had denied it. He thought Woodward now had a lot to answer for. Olbermann said this all pointed to the idea that Deep Throat was a composite, with Mark Felt as the centerpiece.



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