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Still Sleazy After All These Years
on September 15, 2016
I have watched my DVD of the movie more than half a dozen times and, as much as I enjoy it each time, I have always thought that something was missing, some key bits of information needed to tie it all together.
Well, duh! The book has it all. Not in the tidy, linear progression from the morning after the Watergate break-in through the last explosive story clearly implicating Tricky Dick as in the movie, but rather the more realistic slice-of-life, back and forth and all around movements in search of tips, confirmations, just one more corroborating source so that day's story could be written and printed. Here we see the amazing scoops, the missed targets, dead-end ideas, leaps of faith, and more important, the dogged determination to know the larger story in all its awful complexity and sleazy criminality, using methods necessary in those pre-Gooogle days that would exhaust even the most robust investigative reported today.
The authors write like reporters---no purple prose, no unnecessary verbiage, few if any adjectives and adverbs, in a spare style that would please Sergeant Joe Friday and his predilection for "Just the facts, ma'am." The authors share their successes, and there were many, in a restrained manner just this side of "Aw, shucks," and do not shy away from their faults and close brushes with disaster because they made rookie reporter mistakes or tried pushing a particular envelope not only too far but almost off the table.
An excellent tale that, despite the obvious indices of "the way things were back in the day," still resonates today. Perhaps especially today.