Follow the Money

Perhaps the most famous piece of advice Deep Throat gave Post reporter Bob Woodward during the Watergate investigation was to "follow the money" to find out who was behind the Watergate break-in.

So, it's not entirely surprising that pundits are asking what role money may have played in the identification of Mark Felt -- and in the financial consequences of yesterday's disclosure for Woodward.

Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara questions the motives of the Felt family in confirming to Vanity Fair's John D. O'Conner that Felt was Deep Throat. She also criticizes Felt's role in approving illegal break-ins as part of the FBI's investigation of the Weather Underground. "Felt's commitment to the Bill of Rights in 1973 was as selective as his family's motives in 2005 are self-serving," writes McNamara.

In O'Conner's Vanity Fair piece, Felt's daughter Joan recalls discussing money with her father. "Bob Woodward's gonna get all the glory for this, but we could make at least enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the kids' education," Joan recalls saying. "Let's do it for the family."

Newsday columnist Ellis Henican notes somewhat gleefully that Bob Woodward's income will probably suffer because of his decision not to reveal his source's name. "...a big pile of money just went flying from the legendary reporter's bank account," Henican writes. "No one wants to buy a book from the second guys to tell you who Deep Throat is."

-- Hal Straus

By washingtonpost.com |  June 1, 2005; 9:39 AM ET  | Category:  Bob Woodward , Carl Bernstein , W. Mark Felt
Previous: Redford Weighs In | Next: Deep Throat Abroad

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ellis who?

Posted by: scott reese | June 1, 2005 11:10 AM

I agree-ellis who?? all the others will be jealous of and have been of Woodward and Bernstein. I don't think they are "sweating" for any money. They continued on to be good reporters and haven't sold this country down the drain like most of the scum journalists that exist now.

Posted by: gary | June 1, 2005 12:05 PM

Is there any truth to the rumor that Delino DeShields, NOT this impostor Felt is actually "Deep Throat?"

Posted by: DB | June 1, 2005 12:45 PM

Are you sure "follow the money" is in the book? I thought it was a line added for the movie, no?

Posted by: praktike | June 1, 2005 12:50 PM

Hw long has this Blog existed .. and why are you keeping it secret?

Posted by: Scott Connolly | June 1, 2005 01:11 PM

In any organization individuals fall fairly well into two categories: those strictly out for themselves and their career, and those who have some degree of committment toward the "customers" (those who buy the product, citizens, etc.).

The orientation of the individual is based on his/her depth of character, and moral and ethical grounding.

An good example of someone with little or no ethical grounding is the "kiss up and kick down" individual recently in the news.

Felt was apparently one of those who DID have enough ethical grounding to act in the interests of his "customers" - the American people.

A. Sons

Posted by: A. Sons | June 1, 2005 01:20 PM

Forward to Mr. Ellis:

Woodward will probably make even more money with this revelation and I (and I'm sure I'm not alone) will wait for the accounts as related by Mr. Woodward eagerly.

Posted by: GJC | June 1, 2005 01:22 PM

If you listen closely instead of with selective hearing her comment was she told her father it would help with the kids education as a way to pressure him into finally reveiling himself and being proud of being a true American. WHY didn't all the other so called admirable people in the Nixon White House do the same?????????

Posted by: JAM | June 1, 2005 02:11 PM

Just as the record of Richard Nixon's "conservatism" appears "liberal" in our modern age of food-fight ideology that counts as news and debate, the "crimes" of Watergate too seem mild against the transgressions of the Bush administration. Waging war on false pretenses should be considered an impeachable offense. Nixon abused his power to punish his "enemies" by bugging their phones and by bullying them with the IRS. But Bush has abused his power by rewarding his wealthy friends and business interests by invading a small, troubling country and by sacrificing the good men and women who choose to serve the country in the most profound way. A vast amount of uncounted Iraqi civilians have been killed under the same set of false pretenses. Yet Clinton was impeached for his sexual behavior and Bush gets to "spend" his "political capital" that he thinks he earned in two twisted elections. In '72, the "watchdog press" muckraked Nixon's corruption, but today's "mainstream media" blew all of the hot air for Bush. I am nostalgic for Richard Nixon and for "Woodstein" when they were making their way up.

Posted by: M | June 1, 2005 02:17 PM

When you are dodging a bullet from a wild gun slinger, ya take cover lil darlin. I remember the night Nixon fired everyone he could get his gun sights on. I remember very well what Ike called him when he had to leave him in as vice president for the second term. I don't have a problem with the disclosure to Vanity Fair and the Felt family benefitting from the disclosure. Enough money has been made by various parties regarding this saga. Does anyone remember Martha Mitchell at all? She was conveniently put away as a mental case. Yeah!

Posted by: Granny | June 1, 2005 02:21 PM

The phrase,"Follow the money," was in the movie but was not in the book. See the Daniel Schorr article, Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1997, "Following 'Follow the Money.'" He writes, "I had three researchers read the book--and they confirmed it wasn't there." "When I called Woodward, at first he said it was simply impossible that Deep Throat's most famous line was not in the book. But gradually he realized it was not, and said this was 'inexplicable.' "

Posted by: Butterfield 8 | June 1, 2005 04:54 PM

The year was Watergate, the age was young, 30 years since, my grade school days of the Nixon era and Watergate - I had always suspected the Woodstein pack and crew were on the top!

Good reporting, good sources, but my number one pick was actually Howard Hunt, Colson, Mark Felt was actually somewhere in the pack between 1 and 5 - well, okay, I'll admit it, he was my third pick on the lineup!

If Felt had been appointed the top brass job of the FBI, the bureau wouldn't be like it is today in the Bush Administration's mess!

I seriously think, Felt did by the book, but hated the way the Nixon Clan was running the "WH" & trying to run the FBI. Nixon, tried to run the country like Bush is now running the country.

Reporters today, learned the secrets of sources play in the roles they do in uncovering the truth's beyond the story, Bob and Carl did just that.

30 years of a highly kept secret - they followed the money and broke the story. Today, they remain the hero's along with Mark Felt of Watergate and Nixon's downfall.

Posted by: Newton | June 2, 2005 03:02 PM

571457: Hey, does anyone know where I can find a list of gas stations with low prices in my area?

Posted by: Debra Riley | October 17, 2005 06:17 PM

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