And so it turns out that the two most famous investigative reporters of all time were a pair of stenographers for an FBI hack who was ratting out President Nixon for passing him over as director.
That corrupt cop, Mark Felt, should be named co-winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize given to The Washington Post. For it appears Felt swiped the research for the Post's Watergate stories from FBI files, while Woodward did rewrite and Bernstein was on the coffee-and-Danish run.
The Post was scooped on the outing of "Deep Throat" by Felt's family. Understandably. The Felts resent that Woodward and Bernstein got rich and famous, while 91-year-old Mark, who did the dirty work, is feeding pigeons at the nursing home. The Felts now want their cut of the swag. Deep Throat was right, "Follow the money!"
And so the great mystery, "Who was Deep Throat?" reaches its anticlimax. He turns out to be a toady who oversaw black bag jobs for J. Edgar, violated his oath and, out of malice and spite, leaked the fruits of an honest FBI investigation to the nest of Nixon-haters over on 15th Street, then lied about it for 30 years.
Why did Felt lie? Because Felt knew he had disgraced himself and dishonored everything an FBI agent should stand for. He didn't want his old comrades to know what a snake he had been. Linda Tripp, savaged by the same press lionizing Felt, at least had the moral courage to go public and take the heat when she blew the whistle on Bill Clinton.
But to Bob and Carl and Ben and Sally, Felt is a "hero," a real Medal of Freedom man. And to them, perhaps, he is. For in the 1970s, a hero was any turncoat who would sink teeth into a president who was ending with honor a war into which the Liberal Establishment had plunged this country, and then cut and run when the body bags started coming home and their Ivy League kids started calling them names.
From the time Nixon nailed Golden Boy Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy and ran over all the liberal icons from Helen Gahagan Douglas to Adlai Stevenson, Nixon was the great hate object of the Left, second only to Tailgunner Joe.
In 1960, they thought they buried him in Cook County, when the graveyard wards came in for JFK. They thought they had the casket sealed when he held that "last press conference" after his defeat for governor of California.