Slow Burn: Watergate

Season 1: Episode 2

The Defeat of Wright Patman

The first Watergate hearings didn’t go so well.


Episode Notes

In 1973, the Senate Watergate hearings gripped the nation. But the first congressional hearings on the scandal took place a year earlier—and featured an angry Texan shouting at four empty chairs.

In the second episode of our new podcast about Watergate, Leon Neyfakh discovers the populist congressman Wright Patman, who tried to investigate the scandal—and was thwarted by the White House.

Read the Episode 2 transcript.

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How the Burglary Was Funded

A members-only bonus episode.

Notes on Episode 2


Dean, John. Blind Ambition: The White House Years, Open Road Media, 2016 (originally published 1976).

Emery, Fred. Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard NixonTimes Books, 1994.

Holmes, T. Michael. The Specter of Communism in HawaiiUniversity of Hawaii Press, 1994.

Lang, Gladys Engel and Lang, Kurt. The Battle For Public Opinion: The President, the Press, and the Polls During Watergate. Columbia University Press, 1983.

Lukas, J. Anthony. Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon YearsViking Press, 1976.

Madinger, John. Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators, 3rd ed. CRC Press, 2011.

Perlstein, Rick. The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Sussman, Barry. The Great Cover-Up: Nixon and the Scandal of Watergate, 4th ed., Catapulter Books, 2010 (originally published 1974).

Young, Nancy. Wright Patman: Populism, Liberalism, and the American DreamSouthern Methodist University Press, 2000.

News articles

Alsop, Joseph. “Senate Halts Justice.” The Daily Chronicle. June 8, 1973.

Bernstein, Carl and Woodward, Bob. “Bug Suspects Got Campaign Funds.” The Washington Post, Aug. 1, 1972.

Boyd, Marjorie. “The Watergate Story: Why Congress Didn’t Investigate Until After the Election,” Washington Monthly, April 1973.

Fox, Justin. “Andrew Mellon’s Conflicts, and Trump’s.” Bloomberg View. Jan. 27, 2017

Hersh, Seymour. “The Pardon: Nixon, Ford, Haig, and the transfer of power.” The Atlantic, August 1983.

Schmelzer, Janet. “Wright Patman and the Impeachment of Andrew Mellon.” East Texas Historical Journal: Vol. 23, Issue 1, 1985.

Stoller, Matt. “How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul.” The Atlantic, Oct. 24, 2016.

Werth, Barry. “The Pardon.” Smithsonian, February 2007.

Texan, Texan & Texan.” Time, Monday, Jan. 25, 1932

House Panel Bars Pre-Nov. 7 Inquiry Into Bugging Case.” New York Times, Oct. 4, 1972.

Episode 2 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

NBC Nightly News, Aug. 1, 1972 (courtesy of NBC News Archive)

Longines-Wittauer Chronoscope with Wright Patman, 1953 (courtesy of the National Archives)

NBC Nightly News, Sept. 13, 1972 (courtesy of NBC News Archive)

NBC Nightly News, Oct. 12, 1972 (courtesy of NBC News Archive)

White House Press Conference, Aug. 29, 1972 (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library)

White House Tapes, Sept. 15, 1972 (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library)

NBC Nightly News, Sept. 15, 1972 (courtesy of NBC News Archive)

NBC Nightly News, Oct. 3, 1972 (courtesy of NBC News Archive)

Slow Burn’s theme song is “Back to the Old House” by Niklas Ahlström. Other music in Episode 1 includes “Cloudz” by Jahzzar and “Relent” by Kevin McLeod.

Season one of Slow Burn was produced by Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons. Bonus episodes for the season were produced by Leon Neyfakh and Jeff Friedrich.


About the Show

You think you know the story, or maybe you don’t. But Watergate was stranger, wilder, and more exciting than you can imagine. What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon? Find out on this eight-episode podcast miniseries hosted by Leon Neyfakh. Made possible by Slate Plus members.

Read Leon Neyfakh’s introduction to Season 1.

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