Somebody Silence Deep Throat

With all due respect, Mr. Felt, you couldn’t have picked a worse time to come out of the closet.

Few secrets are worth taking to the grave, and the identity of “Deep Throat is a mystery the world has debated for more than 30 years. We the People applaud your commitment to exposing the machinations of Watergate (it almost absolves you of your treacherous role in spearheading COINTELPRO) and ushering in an age of cynicism towards government.

Thanks to your actions, the political landscape of the United States has been irrefutably redefined. Because of your efforts, journalism shone brightly as a weapon against corruption and arrogance. You have served well.

That is, unfortunately, precisely why I wish you’d remained in the shadows. Deep Throat was about revealing malfeasance and punishing evil at the highest levels of government. Now it’s just another sad media distraction from the crimes of the Bush administration. That’s a poor end to a fine legacy.

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The identity of Deep Throat is not news. It is both the final piece of a puzzle that ceased to be interesting long ago as well as a veritable cash cow for Mark Felt. It’s even a chance for Nixon loyalists to stew and wax angrily for any pundit willing to put them on television. But real, substantive news? No.

Perhaps I simply place too narrow a definition on newsworthiness. To me news is important, and relevant truth impacts the world. I don’t weigh its value based on positive or negative content; chances are the more negative or criminal the news, the more important it is to know. Shockingly, high-speed car chases do not factor into this category.

That’s why Deep Throat rates as mere curiosity to me. Does this latest revelation impact anything save the pocketbooks of Felt or his publishers? Does Felt’s name lend credence to events that came to their conclusion 30 years ago — or revise the historical record? Watergate and Nixon’s downfall are great stories older than I am; the names of the reporters and the source that brought the scandal to a head are incidental.

But Deep Throat evokes discussion among the talking heads who are paid to decide what we know. It recalls the long-forgotten era of responsible journalism not beholden to corporate interests, an era when men and women of the United States didn’t instinctively disregard what they read and saw as shameless propaganda… or worse. Simply being involved in this story is enough to make anchors and columnists feel like they didn’t waste their lives on a vapid, silly career.

Even better, talking endlessly about Deep Throat gives the mainstream media an illusion they provide a service. Instead of filling 24 hours a day with endless jabber about Michael Jackson or runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks, Deep Throat serves as the perfect media distraction — one steeped in legitimacy, history and significance. And it sells advertising.

Only the topic changes. Instead of nameless throngs of people screaming for the incarceration of the Runaway Bride, G. Gordon Liddy and other Watergate scumbags pontificate on Felt’s cowardice. Did Michael Jackson touch a little boy? Who cares — some nameless author correctly guessed Deep Throat’s identity 15 years ago. Same amount of substance, heightened amounts of trickery. Who cares?

I don’t. I find the whole affair shameful. Much like the around-the-clock coverage of the pope’s decomposition, this media circus serves as a smokescreen to issues the Bush Administration doesn’t want televised. And that’s the irony in using a powerful cautionary tale of one man and the media versus an oppressive government as a means to squash media coverage of another oppressive government. Must Deep Throat be corrupted so?

Of course. Even Americans tire of the bread and circuses flung at them as distraction. New stories are needed constantly; frankly, it’s amazing the amount of energy the government uses to lie against its own people.

But lie they must. Bush would rather fellate Dick Cheney than let his dim-witted plebes know about the Downing Street Memo. It’s been more than a month since the story proving Bush manipulated data and lied to Congress as a pretext to invade Iraq broke in the UK. The story is well-spread outside the United States; indeed, Internet news sources are constantly trumpeting these lies as impeachable and seditious acts. By all accounts, Bush & Co. should be standing on the floor of the Hague for a war crime trial second only to Nuremberg.

Has this story made even a blip on mainstream web sites, in newspapers or on television?

Or AIPAC? You know, the spy scandal from the Israeli lobby (“Israel — an American Value) that served as the conduit of false information from the Likudniks in Tel Aviv to the Office of Special Planning in the Pentagon? Even more shocking than the federally sealed list of charges is that the affair is continually played down — by our own representatives, no less! — as Americans passing secrets to Israel. Uh, no. Try again.

Will these two huge news items ever see the light of day in the mainstream American press? That’s to be seen. John Kerry promised to call for Bush’s impeachment this past Monday based on the content of the Downing Street Memo; we all know that didn’t happen.

But it needs to, and soon. The world is watching the United States. We all know we were lied to. They all know that we know. Remain silent on these issues and we stand exposed as the cowards and simpletons of the 21st century. Remain silent while reveling in the memories of the destruction of the Nixon Administration — Hmm. Someone ought to promote that as a MasterCard campaign.

After all, it’s not just plain hypocritical — it’s priceless.