Slow Burn: Watergate

Season 1: Episode 5

True Believers

Why did so many people stand with Richard Nixon for so long?

Illustration depicting a female with a microphone

Listen longer

Slate Plus members get ad-free versions of all Slate podcasts, plus extra segments, bonus episodes, and more. Try it today for just $1.

Join Slate Plus
Advertisement

Episode Notes

From the bars of Queens to the Senate office buildings, Nixon’s supporters stood with him long after it was clear his hands were dirty. How did they rationalize their position? And what, finally, made them waver?

In the fifth episode of Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh looks at the diehards who stuck with Nixon to the very end.

Read the Episode 5 transcript.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

Did Woodward and Bernstein Really Save the Republic?

A members-only bonus episode.

Notes on Episode 5

Books

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

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

Dean, John. The Nixon Defense, Viking, 2014.

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

Ervin, Sam. The Whole Truth: The Watergate Conspiracy, Random House, 1980.

Hemmer, Nicole. Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

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. Harvest Books, 1974.

Olson, Keith. Watergate: The Presidential Scandal That Shook America, University Press of Kansas, 2003.

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

Thompson, Fred. At That Point in Time: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee, Quadrangle, 1975.

Weiner, Tim. Enemies: A History of the FBI, Random House, 2012.

Articles

Buchwald, Art. “Response List For Nixon Backers,” Orlando Sentinel Star, July 12, 1973.

Crouse, Timothy. “Senators, Sandbaggers and Soap Operas,” Rolling Stone, Nov. 22, 1973.

Glass, Andrew. “When the GOP Torpedoed Nixon,” Politico, Feb. 2, 2007.

Kovach, Bill. “Southern G.O.P. and Goldwater Critical of Nixon on Watergate,” May 17, 1973.

Latham, Aaron. “There Is Tape In the Oval Office,” New York, June 17, 1974.

Nevin, Mark. “Nixon Loyalists, Barry Goldwater, and Republican Support for President Nixon during Watergate,” Journal of Policy History, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2017.

O’Keefe, Garrett Jr., and Mendelsohn, Harold. “Voter Selectivity, Partisanship, and the Challenge of Watergate,” Communication Research, Vol. 1, No. 4, October 1974.

Rosenbaum, David. “Watergate Unit Suspends Investigator Over a Leak,” New York Times, Nov. 20, 1973

Sheehy, Gail. “Watching Watergate in Archie Bunker Country,” New York, Nov. 5, 1973.

Sheehy, Gail. “Archie Bunker Country Revisited,” New York, Nov. 5, 1973.

Transcription of 2012 Chapman Law Review Symposium: “The 40th Anniversary of Watergate: A Commemoration of the Rule of Law,” Jan. 27, 2012.

“Watergate as Softener,” National Review, Aug. 3, 1973.

Episode 5 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

NBC Nightly News, Dec. 9, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, Aug. 16, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, Dec. 9, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

The Manion Forum, Sept. 9, 1973 (courtesy of the Hillsdale College Library and Archives)

NBC Nightly News, May 2, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

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

Sen. Edward Gurney, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Chief minority counsel Fred Thompson, questioning Alexander Butterfield before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

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

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

NBC Nightly News, July 18, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

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

Richard Nixon, speech to the American public, 8/15/73 (courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

NBC Nightly News, Aug. 21, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

NBC Nightly News, July 19, 1973 (courtesy of the NBC news archive)

Slow Burn’s theme song is “Back to the Old House” by Niklas Ahlström. Other music in Episode 5 includes “Silver” by Jahzzar.

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.

Advertisement

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.

All episodes

Host