On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” fill-in moderator Martha Raddatz asked how journalism has evolved since the time of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s role in the Watergate scandal that resulted in the downfall of then-President Richard Nixon.
Sharyl Attkisson, formerly an investigative reporter with CBS News, where she resigned after becoming disenfranchised with the editorial direction of CBS, suggested that had the Watergate scandal happened today, Nixon might have skated if he employed the tactics President Barack Obama’s is using in handling his controversies.
“I think we have gone backwards since that time where we felt empowered as journalists. And I’d like to think what would happen today during a Nixon-type scandal,” Attkisson said. “Nixon would basically refuse to turn over tapes to Congress. His aides would refuse to testify to Congress or would take the Fifth [Amendment] or lie to Congress with a fair amount of impunity. Woodward and Bernstein would be controversial-ized on social media by special and political interests … then, at the end, Nixon would go on a popular late-night comedy show, during which time, he would humorously refer to his attackers as people that were political witch hunters who believe in Area 51-type of conspiracies.”
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