What if there was no Deep Throat? Here’s Mickey Kaus today on an interesting aspect of the Washington Post under Ben Bradlee at the time of the Watergate scandal:
…something the Post’s editor Ben Bradlee instinctively understood — you keep the story going, with hit after little hit, which gets people talking, which panics sources into coming forward, which gets other papers into the hunt and ultimately brings much more information to light, even if this means you occasionally get something wrong … This virtue of Bradlee’s editorship, it seems to me, is also a virtue of blogging as a form of journalism . The Web really does put a premium on speed and spontaneity over painstaking acccuracy. Bloggers instantly print what they learn, and what they believe to be true. They sometimes — often, actually — get it wrong. But even those errors prompt swift corrections that take the story asymptotically closer to the truth.
What if they were getting it wrong? By that I mean, what if Woodward and Bernstein invented Deep Throat as a way to prod and intimidate sources they wanted to come forward? Just a thought (offered by David Farrell).