Friday, January 4, 2013

All The President’s Men: Third Level Inquiry

This post serves as well as my final review for this book. All The President’s Men is a history of political journalism which covered the fall of Richard M. Nixon in one of the most humiliating political scandals in White House. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were two reporters in Washington Post, they were appointed to cover a case of breaking-in and tapping at the Democratic headquarter in Watergate by five people. This soon turned out as extraordinary news, since it involved several men from President Nixon’s Committee for Re-election of The President (CRP) team. Interviews being made, and slowly but surely, Bernstein and Woodward unveiled organized illegal intelligence activities with the aim to win Nixon as a President. Not only both reporters, but Washington Post as a whole institution must suffer a lot in its fight to reveal the truth, but—as we all know—by the help of inside sources and honorable intentions of its crews, Washington Post had helped people of America to finally force its President to resign.

From the series of news published in Washington Post, Bernstein and Woodward then arranged them into this chronologically crafted history book. It becomes sort of political detective story, but the fact that this is a true story, made this book stands out from any other similar themed books. Four stars for All The President’s Men! And following the first and second level of inquiries for my The Well-Educated Mind Project, this is my analysis for the third level inquiry.

Dustin Hoffman & Robert Redford in the movie adaptation

Rhetoric-Stage Reading

What is the purpose of this history?

The main purpose is to show how people of America were proud of and respected honesty and honor in their blood; that when the sacred of White House was corrupted, there are brave people who sacrificed their career—and often their lives too—to reveal the truth. From the fall, this history also teaches us about how the conspiracy had been built.

What does it mean to be human?

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward showed us that we as human have the responsibility to correct the error in all aspects of life; and we must do it with the right and honest ways, with persistence and commitment.

Why do things go wrong?

Greediness and arrogance—I think—that had corrupted the White House at that time. Nixon was in his second period of presidential, he and his men must have thought that because they had put every other institutions—FBI, CIA, Ministry of Justice—under their control, their illegal activities won’t be revealed. Hunt, one of the President’s men, even blackmailed the President because he had some evidence about Watergate. The moral corruption of President and his men had been in the lowest level when they knew they would surely win.

What place does free will have?

In their fight to reveal the truth, both reporters and the Washington Post must face a lot of trials. Bernstein and Woodward were summoned to the court because they have tried to interview the jury. White House had openly attacked Washington Post’s reputation, and the newspaper’s stock had been crashed down to 50% in the stock market. At one time the two reporters were warned that their office and houses might have been tapped, and their lives were in danger. However—from the reporters, the senior redactors, to the owner—Washington Post had persistently kept their intention to supply honest investigations to its readers and to help the nation to know the whole truth; they fought to the end.

What is the end of this history?

When Bernstein and Woodward started their coverage for Watergate case, I believe they never thought where this would have ended; a breaking-in to Watergate was not unusual anyway. However, when they found that a huge amount of fund and someone from the closest circle of CRP were involved, they knew that this would be a delicate case. From then on they always looked at the higher level to see who was actually in control. Both reporters ended this history book when House of Representatives finally opened investigation to impeach President Nixon, and the law process began. Six months after this book first published, Richard M. Nixon resigned from his office after the Republican announced that they had been ready to the verdict against Nixon.

If at first the President and his men still arrogantly challenged their ‘enemies’—Washington Post was their biggest target—at the end President’s men fought each others, raced to reveal evidences, to get a chance to put the blame on the others. Nixon was under his men’s control and forced to sacrifice one of his assistants, and at the end his closest friends fell with him too. In a way Washington Post helped America to clean up their corrupt government by their journalism. The end of this history opened a new hope of a better presidential (Nixon was succeeded by Gerald Ford).


*I read translated version in Bahasa Indonesia by Penerbit Serambi*

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