Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

cashing in on watergate

The news that "Deep Throat" has been identified has re-energized the old hate-Nixon crowd -- a group that surely thinks fondly of the days when the Democratic party had an almost complete lock on power in Washington (except when they ran candidates for President who were unelectable). Deep Throat, now identified as Mark Felt, was their hero, the man who brought down Nixon.

In the glare of reality, Mark Felt does not seem to be quite so much the hero. His initial motivations appear to have stemmed more from the fact that he was unhappy at being passed over for promotion as anything else. Now that it is safe for him to come out, the statute of limitations for any criminal conduct associated with the leaks being long passed, it appears that Mr. Felt (and his family) would like at least a piece of the huge amount of money that was made over the years by the franchise spawned by the whole "Deep Throat" operation.

In From the New York Times

"On Wednesday, word came that the family of Mr. Felt, the ailing, 91-year-old former No. 2 official of the F.B.I., had sought payment in vain for his story after failing to reach a collaborative agreement with Mr. Woodward - not only from Vanity Fair, but also from People magazine and HarperCollins Books. They are apparently still determined to claim their share of the story that helped make Mr. Woodward a famous millionaire. "

It is not clear to me why Woodward would not be willing to find some way to pass along a bit of money to Felt and his family. The value of Felt to Woodward would have to be measured in the 10s of millions of dollars if not more (and the value to the Washington Post operation would be many times more). Without Felt there would have been no Deep Throat franchise and without that franchise where would Bob Woodward be? But while Woodward had apparently made plans to make one final windfall from Deep Throat (upon Felt's death), he has perhaps forgotten that without Felt he would not have had the opportunity to write and promote all of his other works.


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