Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Somehow we found new ways to dream

Colby Cosh makes an excellent point about the revelation of Deep Throat's identity: Yesterday's disclosure will be Woodstein's last great hurrah before their funerals. But, ironically, it reminds us, and stridently, that Nixon was going down even if the pair had never been born. Even under the naïve assumption that news coverage was the sine qua non of the whole process, Felt would have found someone to leak to even if he hadn't had a friendly ear at the Post. James Mann can perhaps take credit for being the first to cast Richard Nixon in a genuinely new historical light--as the last son-of-a-bitch to be struck down, and from beyond the grave at that, by J. Edgar Hoover. Which is probably why this kind of premise, addressed at Paul Wells' latest piece of too-clever-by-half analysis, is looking for answers in the wrong places: What irony there is in the disclosure of the identity of Deep Throat against this backdrop. Contrast the general level of professionalism and quality of commentary in the Canadian mainstream over the mounting scandals of this government, with the dogged pursuit of Richard Nixon by two rookie reporters at the Washington Post - and tell me why Canadians shouldn't be utterly disgusted with you. He wasn't brought down because of reporters with conscience, drive, gumption, etc etc etc; the spectacular fall of Richard Nixon was due to events set in motion before Woodward or Bernstein lifted a finger, and largely those of his own making, to boot. Dare we hope that there are enough institutional power-brokers left in the Canadian government untainted by Liberal patronage and corruption as to separate and elevate their own organizational political interests above that of the executive, as Mark Felt did from within the FBI? Without compellingly powerful leakers willing to credibly implicate the Liberal government in all aspects of their perfidy - since each newly exposed random one-off of the party's criminal behaviour seems to be easily brushed aside by disinterested centre - what hope do we have that even the fieriest of our crusading journalists (assuming they were even inclined to) could pull a "Woodstein?"

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