With the recent 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation in 1974 about a week ago, there have been a number of articles about Watergate in the media. That’s to be expected.
Predictably, there have also been more “hit piece” articles about Nixon in the media recently – like this one from MSNBC. That’s also to be expected. Nixon and the mainstream media hated each other. The media and the left still hate him with a passion even today, though he’s been dead over 20 years.
One of the typical allegations made by some in the media (and many leftists) is that Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in. It’s strongly implied – but not stated outright – in the MSNBC hit piece linked above.
That allegation has been known to be false for over 40 years. Indeed, proof of that fact is on the famous “smoking gun” tape that sealed Nixon’s fate when it became public on 5 August 1974.
Still, some on the left (like the author of the MSNBC hit piece above) still today refuse to admit the truth about that. They keep trotting out the old canard.
Don’t believe me? Well, decide for yourself. Here’s a link to a transcript of part of that 23 June 1972 conversation between Haldeman and Nixon – from the famous “smoking gun” tape itself.
That conversation clearly shows that Nixon had no clue who ordered the Watergate break-in. Indeed, the title of this article is a direct quote of Nixon’s question to Haldeman asking who had ordered the Watergate break-in. (Other sources give the quotation as “Who was the a**hole who ordered it?”, but after listening to audio from the tape personally I think this source seems more accurate.)
Still don’t believe me? Hell, here’s a link to the audio; listen for yourself. Pay particular attention to the tone of voice in Nixon’s question. It occurs around 4:14 or so in the linked audio.
It seems quite clear to me that the man was incredulous that someone had been so stupid. It also seems clear that he had no prior knowledge of the break-in. YMMV. (It likewise is manifestly obvious that Nixon approved the Watergate cover-up – but for 40+ years that has never been in dispute. It’s also a very different thing than ordering the break-in.)
Nixon had many faults. IMO, he was an unscrupulous bastard and a shameless liar. He clearly conspired with others to obstruct justice. He deserved his fate for attempting to be above the law, and for trying to use the machinery of the Federal government to pervert justice and cover up the Watergate break-in. He was damned lucky to escape prison.
But whatever Nixon’s faults, he was no one’s fool. He certainly wasn’t stupid enough to have ordered Watergate personally – and hard evidence indicates he didn’t. Yet there are some in the media who keep making that false claim.
Sheesh. You’d think that the press could quit lying about the man more than 20 years after his death. The simple truth about Watergate is damning enough.