Since we arrived at an anniversary; forty years since the infamous Watergate Break-In on June 17, 1972, I thought I would run this episode of ABC's Issues & Answers featuring RNC Chairman Sen. Robert Dole and DNC Chairman and Chairman of the McGovern-Shriver Campaign, Lawrence F. O'Brien.
In what started out as an assessment of where the Presidential Campaign of 1972 stood, quickly evaporated into a thirty-minute discussion on the Watergate Break-in and its implications for the Nixon campaign.
Dole was quick to dismiss the allegations, and eager to change the subject. O'Brien and the ABC News reporters weren't, and it turned into a lively exchange that Dole repeatedly attempted to deflect the seriousness of the charge by saying "oh, the Democrats are guilty too".
In hindsight, hearing this exchange, the intense amount of misinformation, smokescreen and outright prevarication is palpable. At the time it seemed like there was more to it, but the amount of denial, with hopes of keeping the lid on until at least the election, kept everything in a state of confusion some three months after the initial break-in.
And perhaps in 1972 it was realized the Press were a far more dangerous commodity than previously realized. The fallout from that no doubt has made mainstream media what it is today.
Here is that complete episode of ABC News Issues & Answers, first broadcast on September 24, 1972.