Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:
At one point in the story of how two reporters for the Washington Post covered the Watergate story and broke much new ground in it, the following lines occur: “They had not broken the law… that much seemed certain. But they had sailed around it and exposed others to danger. They had chosen expediency over principle and, caught in their act, their role had been covered up. They had dodged, evaded, misrepresented, suggested, and intimidated, even if they had not lied outright.”
Those sentences do not refer to Richard Nixon or Ron Ziegler. Bernstein and Woodward are referring to themselves. And in those words, and in one additional word, is the secret of their phenomenal success—chutzpah is the additional word.
Chutzpah is defined as that quality which allows a person who has just killed his parents to throw himself on the mercy of the court and ask for leniency as an orphan.
Bernstein and Woodward had it in spades.
It turns out that the notion that no man is above the law’ somehow didn’t apply to judges or prosecutors involved in the cover-up trial. Documents I have uncovered indicate that the efforts to punish the wrongdoings of Watergate led to further wrongdoing by the very officials given the task of bringing the Watergate defendants to justice. . . . The new documents suggest that defendants in the Watergate cover-up trial, held before Judge John Sirica, received anything but a fair trial. Indeed, they suggest prosecutorial and judicial misconduct so serious –- secret meetings, secret documents, secret collusion — that their disclosure at the time either would have prevented Sirica from presiding over the trial or would have resulted in the reversal of the convictions and the cases being remanded for new trials.
— ”The Watergate Cover-Up Trial: Justice Denied? There were real crimes and real criminals. But newly found documents “suggest a denial of due process of law to the defendants, a move that did the Constitution no favors,” by Nixon White House attorney Geoff Shepard in the Atlantic, yesterday. (Via Instapundit.)
And just a reminder — It Didn’t Start With Watergate.