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Friday, May 29, 2009


In a recently published memoir, a New York Times Washington-Bureau editor makes a shocking revelation: the Times had a scoop about the Watergate story months before Woodward and Bernstein. Amazingly, and mysteriously, the Times never followed up on the tip. Robert M. Smith, the Times reporter who received the tip says that until the memoir was published, he had protected his source for 37 years.

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Comments [4]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I like Mr. Wallach's take on it and I find nothing surprising that information on the issue might be missing from the Times' Washington bureau. One huge embarrassment was swept under that rug.

More importantly, Mr. Gray hasn't learned the lesson I have had to, discovering that their are secrets fathers don't neccesarily share with their sons which they will acknowledge to another. I suspect Director Gray was silently seeing into the future of the investigation and baring his concerns. That the Attorney General being discussed was not named is a point not worth quibbling over. Both conversants knew of whom the were speaking.

Jun. 03 2009 09:58 PM
Glenn Wallach from Bronx, New York

There may be less mystery to this than it might seem at first. It's a cardinal rule of reporting that you need confirmation for even the best tip. Perhaps Times reporters tried but couldn't confirm the revelations. Media scholars have long observed that because the Post's reporters weren't part of the sometimes cozy relationships between reporters and officials, they were better able to follow the story. The administration wasn't going to provide the everyday leaks and "background" briefings that so much Washington journalism depends on to this day. One study, in fact, found that except for the Post, most newspapers' Watergate coverage relied on the most accessible kinds of official sources. The Times may not have dropped the ball; they maybe just couldn't find someone authoritative to confirm what they had.

May. 31 2009 11:31 AM
Ed Gray from Lyme, New Hampshire

It would have been shocking had it been true. It was not. Simply taking Smith's word for this "revelation" without at least Googling the story prevented OTM from discovering my rebuttal of his claim. See http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=4764

For more, see http://lpatrickgrayiii.com

May. 29 2009 11:01 PM
Matt W. from Arlington, Virginia

I guess we will have to wait the same amount of time for the connection between Obama and ACORN's illegal election activity to come out. What does that say about the Editors at the Times and the supposed institutional watchdogs such as OTM?

May. 29 2009 07:25 PM

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