Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Non-Smoking Gun Club

Promoting his theory that the Bushes are the Texas devils of American politics, Russ Baker writes:

One of the fastest ways to raise eyebrows in politically savvy company is to suggest that Richard Nixon was not the villain of Watergate. Everyone knows that Nixon himself set loose the Watergate burglars and then oversaw the attempted cover-up that followed. We know this because the most famous journalists of the last fifty years—Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein—made their careers on that story. I thought I knew it too.

If "everybody knows" RN ordered the Watergate burglary, then everybody's been listening to historians and journalists who have said or implied as much, and without evidence. Here's more detail. Rick Perlstein joined the Non-Smoking Gun Club when, in Nixonland, he misconstrued a secondary source and made it appear as though the President had known in advance about the September 1971 break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

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