Official Review: Postgate by John O’Connor

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Brendan Donaghy
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Official Review: Postgate by John O’Connor

Post by Brendan Donaghy »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Postgate" by John O’Connor.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism is written by lawyer John O’Connor. It takes the accepted view of the Watergate scandal and shreds it. In the process, it rips apart the heroic status of the ‘Washington Post’ and its legendary reporters Woodward and Bernstein. Thought you knew the whole story about Watergate? Think again.

When news broke in June 1972 that five men had been arrested breaking into the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C., John O’Connor was a young lawyer starting his career in San Francisco. Like millions of others, he watched in fascination as the Watergate story unfolded over the next few years. The ‘Washington Post’ was central to this story. Its role in uncovering White House involvement in both the burglary itself and the subsequent cover-up led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. The Post was instrumental in fashioning what was to become the accepted narrative of Watergate, that the burglary was an attempt by some in the Nixon administration to get political intelligence on their Democratic rivals.

The Post’s star reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, became household names around the world, immortalized in the 1976 movie ‘All The President’s Men’ which featured Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. The movie was based on the book that Woodward and Bernstein themselves had published in 1974. Woodward was particularly prominent. He alone had access to the secret source who fed the duo much of their information and who brought a hint of undercover drama to their tale. He was the man who became known as ‘Deep Throat’. In this book, O’Connor argues that the ‘Washington Post’ and its reporters not only got the whole Watergate story wrong but that they did so knowingly for political reasons. In so doing, in O’Connor’s view, they buried the more shocking truth that Watergate was actually a bungled CIA operation.

O’Connor sets out the purpose of this book on page xv of his introduction: ‘I hope to set the Watergate/Deep Throat record straight through this book, but not to slay any victim, whether the ‘Washington Post’, Woodward, or Bernstein.’ Take that last bit with a pinch of salt. While the author’s tone throughout the book is analytical and dispassionate, there can be no concealing the fact that he goes after Bob Woodward and The Post. It’s no coincidence, surely, that he imitates the paper’s distinctive masthead font in his chapter headings, almost in mockery of the paper’s vaunted reputation for truth and integrity.

Much of this can be put down to a lawyer’s determination to put the record straight. There is also a personal element in it too, as O’Connor and The Post have history. O’Connor’s own role in the Watergate story includes acting as Mark Felt’s lawyer and being instrumental in persuading him to reveal himself as Deep Throat in 2005. Following on from that, the pair co-authored a book in 2006, a book O’Connor believes was deliberately sabotaged by The Post and its allies to stop the paper’s reputation from being tarnished by the publication of O’Connor’s version of the Watergate story.

Being something of a political nerd, there is nothing about this book that I disliked. That is not to say that it is an easy read. O’Connor lays out his arguments in meticulous detail. Every point he makes is rigorously sourced in footnotes. There is also a cast of characters and an index to help the reader pick a way through the claims and counterclaims, but it still requires concentration to keep hold of the various threads. It is good to note that the author is generous in acknowledging the debt he owes to other investigators, writers such as Jim Hougan and Len Colodny who were first to highlight that there could well be a different narrative to explain Watergate.

I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It will appeal to students of modern history and political science. It should also interest anyone with a genuine interest in the US government and the actions of state agents such as the CIA. It contains no profanities or sexually explicit material and is exceptionally well-edited.

******
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Laurina_Olowo
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Post by Laurina_Olowo »

A while of drama I must confess. I actually know nothing about this. But you wrote this review so cleverly. Are sure you were not there then? Awesome review

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Adanna Inya
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Post by Adanna Inya »

Politics isn't my thing, but this is a whole call out on Washington Post. I'll have to look at it to really grasp what's going on. Thanks for a great review.

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Post by Jajachris »

Normally, I would drop a book that borders on politics but this could be worth the read.

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Post by Nath_chuks »

Your review is detailed. But considering the fact I'm not into politics and history, I'll pass. Thanks for the review

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Post by Ediomis_Enwongo01 »

I love your detailed review. One thing this has done for me is to arouse my curiosity about the Watergate saga I've been hearing. I really feel this would be an opportunity to know more about the Watergate and get the history straight.

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Post by Nujudee »

Well explicit and detailed review.
But I'm not really a fan of politics.
So I'll rather skip

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Post by saxobob »

I'm in the UK and saw a few online stories from the Washington Post and was tempted to try a 1 month subscription. Although I'm on the left of politics I was amazed at the partisan nature - even though I agreed with much of the view suggested it is incredibly one sided in its choice of stories and doesn't seem to give opposing voices a space. I then watched some Fox and some MSN - I left thinking that america really needs a media with a firmer grasp of impartiality, at least as far as news reporting goes. Op-ed can be opinionated but the USA media is so biased either one way or the other when selectively reporting *news*, judging by these three examples, I am sorry for you.

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Laurina_Olowo wrote:
09 May 2020, 11:34
A while of drama I must confess. I actually know nothing about this. But you wrote this review so cleverly. Are sure you were not there then? Awesome review
Thanks so much for your comments!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Adanna Inya wrote:
09 May 2020, 13:31
Politics isn't my thing, but this is a whole call out on Washington Post. I'll have to look at it to really grasp what's going on. Thanks for a great review.
Thank you for commenting!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Jajachris wrote:
09 May 2020, 14:28
Normally, I would drop a book that borders on politics but this could be worth the read.
It certainly is - thank you for commenting!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Nath_chuks wrote:
10 May 2020, 04:18
Your review is detailed. But considering the fact I'm not into politics and history, I'll pass. Thanks for the review
It's not everyone's thing - thanks for commenting!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Ediomis_Enwongo01 wrote:
10 May 2020, 21:30
I love your detailed review. One thing this has done for me is to arouse my curiosity about the Watergate saga I've been hearing. I really feel this would be an opportunity to know more about the Watergate and get the history straight.
Go for it! Thanks for commenting!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

Nujudee wrote:
11 May 2020, 13:31
Well explicit and detailed review.
But I'm not really a fan of politics.
So I'll rather skip
No problem, thanks for your comments!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy »

saxobob wrote:
15 May 2020, 18:32
I'm in the UK and saw a few online stories from the Washington Post and was tempted to try a 1 month subscription. Although I'm on the left of politics I was amazed at the partisan nature - even though I agreed with much of the view suggested it is incredibly one sided in its choice of stories and doesn't seem to give opposing voices a space. I then watched some Fox and some MSN - I left thinking that america really needs a media with a firmer grasp of impartiality, at least as far as news reporting goes. Op-ed can be opinionated but the USA media is so biased either one way or the other when selectively reporting *news*, judging by these three examples, I am sorry for you.
I'm in the UK too! :D Thanks for commenting!

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