Would America have been better off never learning about Watergate?

No it made journalists want to be crusaders instead of reporters, because the myth is that they brought down Nixon it brought a lot of people into the profession because they wanted to influence politics.

I think there are two different types of government distrust. T and the right distrust formed by Regan and Gingrich, (with a little bit of McCarthyism thrown in).

he left distrust informed by Watergate and Vietnam, isn’t actually that opposed to big government but want to make sure that it is transparent, uncorrupt, and not overly influenced by rich and powerful business people. They also mistrust nationalism and view the United States as a flawed in many ways. They also have a general dislike for nationalism as they see many flaws in the current system. These are represented by such groups as the Occupy Wallstreet, Wikileaks, Annonymous, and 9/11 conspirators.

The right distrust of government distrust formed by Regan and Gingrich, (with a little bit of McCarthyism thrown in). It is opposed to government meddling in their lives. But has a strong sense of a strong sense of nationalism, such that they view 'True Americans" as being superior to the rest of the world. They want lower taxes, the ability to discriminate as they choose, and punishment for those they deem as unworthy. Ever since St. Ron was elected they view themselves as the true voice of America and whenever they lose the presidency they freak out in the next election since they view the liberals as basically unamerican. The Tea Party is from this branch form of mind. I doubt that it was influenced at all by Watergate, and probably think that we shouldn’t have quit so easily in Vietnam.

Crusading journalism is a good thing.

Crusading journalism is a good thing when there’s a cause worth crusading for. But too many journalists are just crusading to advance their own careers. They’re going after politicians just because they’re in office rather than because they’ve done anything significantly wrong.

Eh. I’m usually on the side of people who kick over rocks. If the politicians don’t want people to see them doing sordid things, whether those involve sex or corruption, they shouldn’t be doing those things while in office instead of trying to make sure the rock-kickers get punished instead of lauded.

I loved it when crusading journalist Geraldo Rivera went after the evil Al Capone’s vault.

And more recently, he’s warned us all of the deadly dangers of hoodies. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you are confusing “crusading” journalism with “going medieval” journalism. :slight_smile:

Right! And that ignoble circumstance keeps a constant (if not too heavy) pressure to be honest on all of the politicians all of the time! Isn’t that how it should be?! Look at the results – America don’t score too bad on the Corruption Perceptions Index. (Imagine if they’d had that in Boss Tweed’s time . . .)

Do you feel the Monica Lewinsky scandal made American government better? Because that’s the kind of crusading most journalists prefer; cheap and sensational.

Except President Gerald Ford still had the power to determine that Reagan wasn’t subject to the law.

I’m sure there have been distortions of the general concept, but cocaine did arrive in the US on CIA planes.

Edit: Oh and I don’t promote ignorance as a solution in essentially any scenario. Foregoing knowledge of Watergate wouldn’t change the government’s involvement in COINTELPRO, for example.

Not necessarily. But I DO think Clinton was an idiot for not keeping it in his pants knowing the Republicans were beating the bushes like the world’s most motivated pack of Elmer Fudds hunting wabbits with his name on them. And I think Rep. Weiner was an idiot. And Gov. Spitzer. And John Edwards. And Gary Hart.

No, none of them did anything to break the public trust, as far as that goes, but they were all stupid for inviting the possibility of public embarrassment on both them and their party.

I’m not sure, but Watergate was a meal ticket for Woodward and Bernstein-these guys seem to have done nothing but work it since 1976.
Its part of history-how many people remember the “XYZ Affair”? or the Yazoo River Fraud-or Credit Mobilier…or Teapot Dome.
As long as humans are human, there will be corruption.

Put another way: The America where those politicians got caught in their peccadilloes is better than an America where they got away with them clean (because in 1972 the janitor in the Watergate Hotel never spotted the taped-open lock on the DNC office).

A nitpick, but Frank Wills was a security guard not a janitor.

Watergate was a different kind of corruption than the other examples you listed. They were all politicians making money off their office - which is certainly a bad thing. But Watergate was a politician trying to subvert the election process and that’s a much worse thing. A politician stealing power is much more dangerous than a politician stealing money.

Everybody who used The American Pageant as their HS U.S. history text, I should hope.

Not me! I had “The American Spectacle”-by Krok and Loon (“Smock, smock”)!:smiley: