Watergate Scandal: The Watergate scandal was a major political controversy in the United States that engulfed President Richard Nixon’s administration from 1972 to 1974 and resulted in Nixon’s resignation.
The scandal arose from the Nixon administration’s repeated attempts to conceal its role in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972.
The press and the US Justice Department linked the cash recovered from the five criminals at the time to the Committee for the Re-Election of the President after they were detained.
Following further investigations and revelations made during the burglars’ subsequent trials, the United States House of Representatives granted the United States House Committee on the Judiciary extra investigation authority to look into “some topics within its jurisdiction,” and the United States Senate to form the Watergate Committee of the United States Senate.
The Senate Watergate hearings that followed were televised “gavel-to-gavel” on PBS and sparked widespread interest. Witnesses claimed that Nixon approved plans to hide the administration’s role in the break-in and that the Oval Office had a voice-activated taping device.
The administration obstructed the investigation throughout, resulting in a constitutional crisis.
Later in 1973, after several big disclosures and atrocious presidential actions against the probe, the House began an impeachment process against Nixon. Nixon was ordered by the United States Supreme Court to hand over the Oval Office tapes to government investigators.
The Nixon White House tapes revealed that he conspired to cover up acts that occurred after the break-in and later attempted to derail the investigation by using federal officials.
Nixon was impeached three times by the House Judiciary Committee for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974, with his role in the cover-up made public and his political support entirely undermined.
He is thought to have been impeached by the House and ousted from office by a Senate trial if he had not done so. He is the only president of the United States who has resigned from office. Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him on September 8, 1974.
There were 69 indictments and 48 convictions, many of whom were key Nixon administration officials.
The term “Watergate” came to refer to a number of covert and often illegal activities carried out by Nixon administration officials, including bugging the offices of political opponents and people who Nixon or his officials suspected of wrongdoing, ordering investigations into activist groups and political figures, and using the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service as political weapons.
The suffix -gate following an identifying term has since come to be associated with public controversy, particularly political scandal.
Watergate Scandal and Gaslit Movie: The Enduring Appeal of a 1972 Conspiracy
The Watergate scandal was still resonating throughout politics when “All The President’s Men” erupted onto movie theatres in 1976.
After being tarnished by the scandal, Richard Nixon resigned. Senior members of the US administration were facing accusations of being imprisoned. The democratic process had been called into question.
In the middle of the chaos, director Alan J Pakula had painstakingly produced a film about the two “Washington Post” journalists who broke the story to the public for the first time.
“All The President’s Men” starred Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as two reporters who put their careers, reputations, and even lives on the line to expose the break-in and bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, a scheme aimed at illegally obtaining information from Nixon’s political opponents.
It was a film that made the subtleties of Watergate fully accessible to the public for the first time, and it marked the start of a cascade of books, podcasts, movies, and television shows that have tried to investigate Watergate in the same way, even now, 50 years after it first made headlines.
The most recent example is “Gaslit,” an eight-part Stan series that explores the narrative of one of the scandal’s most crucial individuals but whose story has not received the attention it deserves until now.
Martha Mitchell, the wife of then-US Attorney-General John Mitchell, is the individual in question.
John Mitchell was a crucial orchestrator of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee HQ, as depicted in films like “All The President’s Men.” What they didn’t say was that it was his wife Martha who was the one who undid him.
Martha became one of the primary Watergate whistleblowers after eavesdropping on phone calls, listening to backdoor talks, and sifting through her husband’s files. Despite immense pressure to keep it zipped, she not only sounded the alarm on her husband but on the entire Nixon government.
She was abandoned by most of her family and labeled as insane for striving to uncover the truth.
Martha was so badly deceived that her name was subsequently coined as a metaphor for being manipulated. A condition known as “The Martha Mitchell Effect” occurs when a psychologist incorrectly identifies a patient as delusional.
It’s easy to understand where the moniker “Gaslit” for this new Martha series comes from.
Julia Roberts portrays Mitchell in a role that has the potential to sweep the awards season. She’ll be joined by an A-list cast as the officials who tried everything they could to stop her from bringing Watergate into the spotlight, no matter how futile it was.
“There would have been no Watergate if it hadn’t been for Martha Mitchell,” Nixon is reported as saying.
It’s based on a popular play, and Michael Sheen and Frank Langella star as the interviewer and former president, respectively, and deliver outstanding performances.
It’s fascinating that the attraction of Watergate endures half a century after the crisis originally occurred, thanks to films like “Frost/Nixon,” “Gaslit,” and “All The President’s Men.” What is the reason for this?
Perhaps the fact that the incident so vividly revealed how changeable political systems can be explains why it has cast such a long shadow.
Watergate may have been the most foresighted warning of the need to keep a watchful eye on modern government.