Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the burglary of the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate office complex. That event on June 17, 1972, would bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.
I remember news of the burglary and the subsequent dripping out of details and the final whole cascade vividly. I was a college student at the time. I realize many of you weren’t even born yet. So I first ask those of you who remember it: What has changed since the Watergate scandal? Did it change the way you view the office of the president or our government or journalists? Did it make you the cynic you are today?
To the rest of you and to anyone, what, to use grandiose language, is the legacy of Watergate? It was uncovered largely by old-fashioned investigative journalism, as well as bipartisan Congressional investigation. Do you think if an event like this happened today, in our media environment of 24-hour news, the internet, and yet cash-strapped newspapers, that it would be that big of a deal? Are we in a state of scandal overload, so that the serious gets lost in the trivial?