Press: Newswatch Thomas Griffith Watergate: a Poor Parallel

All those comparisons with Watergate needlessly complicate an understanding of Ronald Reagan's problems. Those who make the comparison usually disavow too specific a parallel (the new scandal involves zealots, not scoundrels, etc.). Yet to invoke Watergate implies the playing out of an old scenario (looking for the smoking gun), which leads to only one result, whereas Reagan's destiny can still take a number of turns. Finally, Watergate revives that memory of a period when the press got hopelessly muddled over whether its role was to be observer or participant. It is not anxious to revive that issue.

In popular memory, the...

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