The Watergate Scandal

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What was the impact of the Watergate scandal on American politics?

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timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although it may not be significant, the data suggests that Obama has had many more news conferences that Bush did at this time in his presidency.  I understand that he has the power of the Presidency, but that power needs to be checked.  The founding fathers were clear that they wanted no part of a king, or someone with the power of a king.  I have always thought that the opposition should get the same amount of time as the party in power.  After all, isn't this the Fairness Doctrine :)

 

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The president always gets more air time than does the opposition. Tonight it's Obama. For the previous 8 years, it was Bush in prime time on all 3 major networks. The bully pulpit. Being POTUS does have its privileges. At least now the loyal opposition is given some time to follow up after the President speaks, whoever the President happens to be.

I'm not sure cable news has contributed much to intelligent political discourse in the country. Talking heads screaming at each other generate more heat than light. Makes one appreciate the mute button on the remote.

And I also fear that cburr is right about many viewers watching only those programs that tell them what they want to hear. To get the best news coverage, we really need to get our news from a variety of sources, and it's always interesting to listen to the BBC every so often for a really different point of view.

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timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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But it's the conservative media that is under attach via the "fairness doctrine."  I can only suggest that everyone evaluate the "mainstream" media, asking what they're covering, what they're not (the Tea Parties, for example), the time they give each story, and the language they use to describe things, and I think its bias is unmistakable.  The "conservative" media admits its bias; the liberal media denies it.

And I do believe that cburr is correct ... the biggest problem is that we tend to listen to what reenforces our views.  I think the reason for that is that there is so little in the "middle" ... with a choice of extremes, you tend to go with what you agree with.

I am actually in favor of the fairness doctrine, in a comical way.  I think the conservative view would get a LOT more airtime if television media had to be more balanced in their presentation --- presuming that this is what happens to the conservative point of view which is usually expressed on talk radio.

Actually, I believe the whole movement is an attack on the 1st Amendment and we should all fight it.

And a comment on what mshurn observed.  Obama is getting an hour on TV tonight to push the Health Care Plan; is the opposition getting equal time?

This is clearly a very personal opinion, and I certqainly am not out to make converts; I just want to keep a possible alternative view "out there."

 

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cburr eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree with mshurn that the old saw about the press being a liberal bastion does not reflect current reality.  'The press' is a broad array, including plenty of right wing components.  Look and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, not to mention the conservative print media.

The bigger concern, I feel, is that people are more and more tuning in only to commentary that reinforces their own political beliefs.

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Like mrsmonica, I too remember watching the Watergate hearings, spellbound and disbelieving. For whatever reason, I especially remember the testimony involving L. Patrick Gray, director of the FBI, throwing a suitcase full of incriminating documents over the bridge into the river. (I believe my memory is accurate here.) The press didn't pursue Watergate because Nixon happened to be a Republican; it pursued Watergate because the Nixon administration was so very busy shredding the Constitution. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

The Washington press corps in particular has come under some fire recently for becoming "too friendly" with the powers in Washington. This issue first surfaced while Bush was in office. The criticism is rooted in the idea that the press is supposed to be a watchdog. The press, it is now...

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