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Watergate: The Scandal That Changed America

1008 words - 4 pages

During Richard Nixon’s presidency, there were multiple events that changed politics, the presidency, and the media forever. The Watergate Scandal was one of the biggest political events in history. Five men broke into an office building that stored thousands of confidential documents containing plans for the Democratic side of the upcoming election. This caused one of the most explosive media outbreaks in American history, and certainly changed investigative journalism and the presidency forever.
Nixon is noted as one of the worst presidents the United States has ever encountered; however, most of his flaws were hidden and his actions were never questioned until the media investigated him (Feldstein 62). Nixon was associated with more than just the Watergate Scandal, but most of his disgraceful actions were uncovered after his presidency ended. The Watergate Scandal, however, would prove to be Nixon’s downfall: he was the first president to resign from office and the first president to be caught betraying the American people (63).
Watergate was an integral part of a bigger scheme that gathered information from multiple parties, and the operation began long before the burglars were caught. After the arrests, Nixon was not a suspect until the Federal Bureau of Investigation linked the “hush-money” (money given to keep a criminal quiet about a certain action) the burglars received to his campaign fund (64). The burglars were caught breaking into the Watergate Complex to fix the “bugs” they planted in a previous break in (Holland 43). Immediately after the break in, Nixon began to cover up Watergate and his involvement. He gave a speech stating that himself, along with his committee, was not involved in the break in (42). Nixon even attempted to stop the investigation with his power. This proved to be a bigger crime than Watergate itself. After the cover up began to fail, the media began questioning everything Nixon's administration did. The burglars were convicted and gave away info relating to the administrations involvement. Most of the White House’s staff had to pledge under oath that they were not involved; soon after seven of Nixon’s aides pled guilty. After the tapes were discovered in the Oval Office, they were claimed as evidence and the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to give them up (43). Most of Nixon’s staff was fired to keep Nixon in office and the tapes from investigators. Nixon began to abuse his power and America wasn't going to accept it. He implored the Central Intelligence Agency to impede the Federal Bureau of Investigation's work on the scandal (42). Nixon’s presidency was coming to an end. After Congress began the impeachment process, Nixon started planning to resign. Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 (Feldstein 62). After Nixon’s resignation Gerald Ford, the president that took Nixon’s place, pardoned him for all crimes committed while in office.
Many believe that the media’s role in the Watergate scandal...

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