A Great Journalistic Mystery Solved
It's over. Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee have confirmed the story. But here's what's funny: Even if Woodward, Bernstein, Bradlee, Sally, Don and Bo, Mark Felt, Felt's daughter, Bernstein's son's best buddy at camp, Norah Ephron's hairdresser, and the handful of other people who have been authorized to know the identity of Deep Throat all said, in unison, without any caveats, that, yes, Mark Felt is Deep Throat, a lot of people, including commenters on this blog, wouldn't believe it.
Just doesn't sound right, they'd say. Kinda fishy. Too neat. Altogether too tidy a story.
D.T. must be a composite. Or Kissinger, PRETENDING to be Felt. Or a woman in drag. Or...well, someone a lot more interesting than the (yawn) number two guy at the FBI.
One of the purposes of this blog is to teach people to think correctly. It is a hopeless task, because incorrect thinking is usually more fun, and because our school system has refused so far to instruct our nation's youth in critical thought. This is why some people think aliens are constantly abducting people and doing elaborate forms of surgery on them aboard interstellar spacecraft, even though that actually happens quite infrequently.
The revelation that Felt is Deep Throat is a rather boring answer to a fabulous riddle. Felt was always a highly plausible Deep Throat, but he was never as interesting a candidate as, say, William Rehnquist. In fact, as this big news settles in, we have to ask ourselves: Why was Deep Throat such an intriguing figure? Because he single-handedly brought down the Nixon White House? Actually, he didn't. He played a key role, but Woodward and Bernstein today played down his importance. There were lots of other sources for their stories. And there were sources for reporters other than Woodstein, including reporters working at other news organizations.
We made a huge fetish about Deep Throat for one reason: We didn't know his name. The most interesting thing about him was his anonymity, and Woodward/Bernstein/Bradlee's adherence to their long-ago promise. Everyone loves a mystery.
Kooks and conspiracy theorists have gone wild over the years, concocting scenarios in which D.T. was a fiction, or a composite character. Woodward, to hear some of these tales, was a master spy (KGB, maybe?). But the case is now closed, and once again, as so often happens, the solution to the riddle is not complicated but head-smackingly simple: Woodward had a highly placed law enforcement source who had all the FBI investigative material handed to him every day. Source helps reporter. Reporter writes stories. Complications ensue.
The only real mystery left is why Felt wanted so badly to take his secret to the grave. He almost made it.
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