Embodying deep throat: Mark felt and the collective memory of Watergate

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10 Scopus citations

Abstract

On May 31, 2005, a long-running journalistic secret came to an end when Vanity Fair revealed Deep Throat, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's famous Watergate unnamed source, to be W. Mark Felt, the associate director of the FBI under President Nixon. While the announcement bought to a close 30 years of speculation and accusations concerning Deep Throat's identity, it created new complications in promoting Watergate as a marker of journalistic success. With stroke-afflicted Felt unable to speak on his own behalf, other speakers came forward to question Felt's character and his motives for surreptitiously working with journalists. In struggling to interpret the past, journalists and critics competed publicly to define acceptable news practices in the present. This paper uses the conceptual framework offered by collective memory to examine public discourse around Felt's revelation to demonstrate how discussions of Deep Throat expanded into a larger competition to define what the correct role of journalism should be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-250
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Studies in Media Communication
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Collective memory
  • Deep throat
  • Journalism
  • Mark felt
  • Watergate

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