Slow Burn: Watergate

Season 1: Episode 4

Lie Detectors

How Watergate became the greatest show on earth.

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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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Episode Notes

In 1973, a folksy segregationist senator, a team of young investigators, and a few whistleblowers staged the hearings that made Watergate must-see TV.

In the fourth episode of Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh discusses the Senate Watergate Committee’s hearings and explains how the country came to catch Watergate fever.

Read the Episode 4 transcript.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

Uncle Sam’s Fan Club

A members-only bonus episode.

Notes on Episode 4

Books

Campbell, Karl. Senator Sam Ervin: Last of the Founding FathersUniversity of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Clancy, Paul. Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam ErvinIndiana University Press, 1974.

Dash, Samuel. Chief Counsel: Inside the Ervin Committee—The Untold Story of Watergate, Random House, 1976.

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

Drew, Elizabeth. Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall. Overlook Press, 2014.

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

Kutler, Stanley. The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon. W.W. Norton, 1992.

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.

McCarthy, Mary. The Mask of State: Watergate PortraitsHarvest Books, 1974.

McCord, James. A Piece of Tape: The Watergate Story—Fact and Fiction. Washington Media Services, 1974.

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

Scott, Katherine. Reining in the State: Civil Society and Congress in the Vietnam and Watergate Era, University Press of Kansas, 2013.

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

News articles

Alsop, Joseph. “Senate halts justice,” The Daily Chronicle, June 8, 1973.

Cimons, Marlene. “A Case For The Watergate Woozies,” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 2, 1973.

“Dean’s Case Against the President,” Time, July 9, 1973.

The Gospel According to Senator Sam,” D.C. Gazette, December 1973.

Meyer, Lawrence. “Last Two Guilty in Watergate Plot,” Washington Post, Jan. 31, 1973.

Perry, Charles. “Sermon on the Hill: A Sam Ervin Sampler,” Rolling Stone, Sept. 13, 1973.

“Uncle Sam,” The Nation, Sept. 17, 1973.

Watergate’s TV Beneficiaries,” Time, Aug. 20, 1973.

Film and television

Dickerson, Nancy and Carpenter, William. 784 Days That Changed America, Television Corporation of America, 1982.

Gold, Mick. Watergate. BBC, 1994.

McDowell, Charles. Summer of Judgment: The Watergate Hearings. WETA-TV and PBS.

Scheinfeld, John. Dick Cavett’s Watergate. Thirteen Productions, 2014.

Episode 4 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

NBC Nightly News, March 23, 1973 (courtesy of NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, April 17, 1973 (courtesy of NBC news archive)

James McCord, testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

John Dean, testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Jeb Stuart Magruder, testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Bernard Barker, testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Senator Sam Dash, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Senator Lowell Weicker questioning John Mitchell before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

NBC Nightly News, June 25, 1973 (courtesy of NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, May 17, 1973 (courtesy of NBC news archive)

Senator Sam Ervin, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Senator Sam Dash questioning Maurice Stans before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Anthony Ulasewicz,testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

NBC Nightly News, May 23, 1973  (courtesy of NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, April 17, 1973  (courtesy of NBC news archive)

The Dick Cavett Show, Aug. 1, 1973 (courtesy of Daphne Productions)

Senator Howard Baker, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

NBC Nightly News, June 26, 1973  (courtesy of NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, June 24, 1973  (courtesy of NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, July 16, 1973  (courtesy of NBC news archive)

Slow Burn’s theme song is “Back to the Old House” by Niklas Ahlström.

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.