PBS: ‘Summer of Judgment: The Watergate Hearings’

PBS

Source:PBS– The Summer of Judgement (1983)

Source:The New Democrat 

“Produced by WETA, Washington DC, and aired on PBS in 1983, the second of the Summer of Judgment series reflects on the events surrounding the Watergate Affair during the summer of 1974 and the work of the House Judiciary Committee — including Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas — during its impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.”

From York Vid

“Produced by WETA, Washington D.C., and originally aired on PBS in 1983, the first in the Summer of Judgment documentary series reflects on the events surrounding the Watergate Affair during the summer of 1973 and the work of the Senate Watergate Committee.

Includes coverage of the testimonies of John Dean, John Mitchell, Bob Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman, and then-present day interviews with Chairman Sen. Sam Ervin, along with Sens. Daniel Inouye and Lowell Weicker, Committee Chief Counsel Sam Dash, and Minority Counsel (and future Senator and Law & Order actor) Fred Thompson.”

Summer of Judgment_ The Watergate Hearings (2015) - Google Search

Source:York Vid– PBS The Summer of Judgment (1983)

From York Vid 

“Watergate began with a burglary in June 1972 and ended with a president’s resignation in August 1974. In between, during the summer of 1973, a special Senate Committee held hearings, co-chaired by Sens. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.) and Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), to investigate the Watergate scandal. Public Television broadcast all 250 hours worth of the hearings, gavel-to-gavel.”

A Look Back at the Senate Watergate Hearings

Source:PBS NewsHour– President Richard M. Nixon’s Chief Counsel John Dean, testifying in front of the Senate Watergate Committee, in 1973.

From the PBS NewsHour 

“The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor[6] based in Arlington, Virginia. PBS is a publicly funded[7] nonprofit organization and the most prominent provider of educational programming to public television stations in the United States, distributing series such as American Experience, America’s Test Kitchen, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Barney & Friends, Between the Lions, Cyberchase, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Downton Abbey, Wild Kratts, Finding Your Roots, Frontline, The Magic School Bus, The Kidsongs Television Show, Masterpiece Theater, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Nature, Nature Cat, Nova, PBS NewsHour, Peg + Cat, Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, Keeping Up Appearances, and This Old House.[8]

PBS is funded by a combination of member station dues, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, pledge drives, and donations from both private foundations and individual citizens. All proposed funding for programming is subject to a set of standards to ensure the program is free of influence from the funding source.[9] PBS has over 350 member television stations, many owned by educational institutions, nonprofit groups both independent or affiliated with one particular local public school district or collegiate educational institution, or entities owned by or related to state government.”

From Wikipedia

I believe the Senate Watergate hearings which brought Congress into this investigation starting in the Senate, was critical in this investigation.

White House Chief Counsel John Dean, who was running the Watergate coverup for President Nixon, becomes famous in these hearings.

We find out about White House taping system, which is what brought down President Nixon. Because everything he said and did about the Watergate coverup at least in the White House was on tape.

The smoking gun where President Nixon tells his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman to instruct the FBI to drop their investigation was on the tapes. So the Senate Watergate hearings were critical in this investigation.

PBS, which was less than ten years old at this point, was critical in these hearings as well. And this was really the start of PBS becoming a major player in the broadcast news business and with them starting their PBS News division. With their nightly newscast, The NewsHour, their newsmagazine show Frontline, their weekly political talk show Washington Week and all of their documentaries.

PBS was the C-SPAN of the 1970s, at least during these Congressional hearings in the Senate. They broadcasted these hearings gavel to gavel live and then replaying these hearings in prime time later that night. Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, became media stars during these hearings. And other news divisions, CBS News, NBC News and ABC News, covered these hearings as well.

I believe that a lot of the people who worked for President Nixon were by in-large good, productive people. Bud Krogh and John Dean, are good examples of that, but they believed in Richard Nixon so much that they would do anything for him and were simply too loyal to this man. And got in over their heads and ending up doing things that they probably wouldn’t have done had they not have met Richard Nixon, or some with those personality traits.

I think you see a lot of that with these people who essentially ended up testifying against their former boss. Of course they did that as part for their plea agreements, but these weren’t career criminals, but people who did bad and illegal things while working for Richard Nixon.

About Rik Schneider

Blogger/writer on a lot of different subjects.
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