“On May 31, when Vanity Fair broke the biggest media secret of the past 30 years–that Deep Throat, the confidential source to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during their investigation of the Watergate break-in, was W. Mark Felt, the No. 2 man at the F.B.I. at the time–there was one more thing the wide world didn’t know.
“The Deep Throat futures market had already been constructed and sold.”
So begins a fascinating piece on the financial ramifications of the unmasking of the 92-year-old source by his family in the New York Observer. I never mind people getting rich, but the story nevertheless reminds of us of the crucial role Watergate played in creating a well-heeled press on a social par, if not superior to, their sources:
“Mr. Woodward, who had pledged to keep the identity of his source on the landmark Watergate story a secret until the source died, had already written the manuscript for a sort of memoir about his relationship with Mr. Felt. And the New York media business community–starting with Simon & Schuster, a division of Viacom–was primed to receive it.
“That doesn’t mean anybody knew what was in it, or had any idea of Mr. Felt’s identity. But there was an asset waiting to be well harvested…
“[Robert] Barnett, the lawyer who represents Mr. Woodward in his literary and other endeavors, confirmed that his client ’has written an amazing narrative that takes you through his personal journey that we all know from the outside, but have never before known from the inside.’”