The Other Charlotte has already written brilliantly (“Honk If You Really Care Who ‘Deep Throat’ Was”) on the anticlimax of learning the identity of Deep Throat, the most famous confidential source in history.
Like TOC, I was initially disappointed with Mark Felt, the little old man whose family outed him as Deep because they felt there might be some $$$ in it.
But now I’m learning to love Deep Throat. Here’s why:
As the American Spectator notes in a piece headlined “Shattered Myth,” the emergence of Felt, a man with flawed motives, deals a blow to the image of the fearless reporter working with a fearless source to save the republic:
“Deep Throat, in the classic telling, is in a position to know of profound corruption that shocks his conscience. If he speaks up, he will face terrible retaliation from the nefarious forces above him. But he cannot remain silent, and his heroism is matched only by the investigative reporters who follow up on the leads he gives them, get the story out, and take down a cartoon-villain of a President, all while protecting their source’s identity. In this version, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and by extension the generation of journalists influenced by them, are fighting the good fight for the people’s right to know against powerful forces determined to keep terrible secrets. That is why, goes the narrative, the cover-up is worse than the crime.”
The unmasking of Deep Throat–and unmasking is right: his family revealed the secret–changes the narrative.
It’s also fun to watch the press in full-throated praise of itself for something that happened 30 years ago. Here’s the most hilarious instance, in a David Broder column about those who dare to say Throat wasn’t a hero:
“Felt did what whistle-blowers need to do. He took his information to reporters who diligently dug up the evidence to support his well-founded suspicions.
“The republic was saved and the public well served. That [Chuck] Colson and [Pat] Buchanan still don’t get it speaks volumes about them.”
Get a grip, Dave.
If you subscribe to the Weekly Standard, the Parody this week captures the media’s self-congratulation.