As an avid follower of Watergate, I have been consuming megabytes of data about the unmasking of Deep Throat for decades. I can remember following the story in the newspapers (pre-Internet) and listening to the Watergate hearings on the radio. When the movie "All the President's Men" came out in 1976, I was inspired to become a journalist, although my scoops were confined to the technology world. Many times in the past I showed parts of the movie to my news teams as inspiration for fighting the good fight. I have had my own Deep Throats who steered me in the right direction in pursuit of scoops, not of the importance of a Watergate or Irangate, but how about a new laptop from Apple or IBM buying Lotus.
The whole discussion over whether Mark Felt was a traitor or hero, and whether his motives were pure, is beside the point. He helped Woodward and Bernstein unravel the grossly criminal actions of the Nixon administration and bring about much needed reforms. Is it a contradiction for a top FBI official, and Woodward mentor, to help uncover the misdeeds of the Nixon administration and to approve illegal break-ins during the FBI's investigation of the Weather Underground? Perhaps, but how can ferreting out criminals and transparency be bad in the big picture? Isn't that the job of the FBI? All the dissembling and castigation of Felt by Pat Buchanan, John Dean and others who either played a role in the conspiracy or view whistleblowers as disloyal is embarrassing.
If the Web and the blogosphere had been around in the early 1970's, Woodward and Bernstein would have had a lot more help and competition in digging out the truth. As the Washington Post's newly minted blog on Deep Throat (that's how you know that blogging is mainstream) reports, "All the President's Men" (the book) zoomed up the Amazon best seller list (No. 24 as of this writing). The DVD of the movie has gone from nowhere to No. 14. The best result to come out of the identification of Deep Throat after more than 30 years of mystery is that a whole new generation can learn about Watergate and the practice of good journalism.