Thursday, June 2

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Mark Felts was first "outed" in 1999 in a school term paper written by a teenager.

The student, Chase Culeman Beckman, went to a lot of trouble with his paper. He subjected Woodward and Bernstein's "All The President's Men" to detailed analysis and even noted that the authors identified their source as "My Friend," pointing out that the initials M and F were the initials of Felt's name.

Beckman attached a two-page bibliography to his paper and even went to the trouble of copyrighting it.

And how did a school boy know that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat," you ask?

He had attended camp with Carl Bernstein's son, Jacob. Seems Jacob, showing off as 8-year-olds so often do, claimed that he knew who Deep Throat was -- and it was Mark Felt.

The story hit the papers, of course, and Carl Bernstein lied when asked about it.
When a reporter told him about the paper and asked if it was true that Mark Felt was Deep Throat, Bernstein's first reaction was "Is Mark Felt still alive?" When assured he was, Bernstein said, "I hate to ruin your story, but Jacob Bernstein has not a clue as to the identity of Deep Throat. Bob and I have been wise enough never to tell our wives, and we've certainly never told our children."

Then he trotted out Jacob, who told the press "At no point did my father Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward reveal the identity of Deep Throat."

Even Felt was asked about the story at the time and he answered, ""No, it's not me," he said, adding,"I would have done better. I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

Since Jacob's mother, writer Nora Ephron, had speculated publicly in 1993 that Felt was the man, Bernstein had an "out." All he had to do was claim that Jacob was simply passing along something his mother had mentioned.

Seems to me there's irony here. What kind of person lies, then teaches his child to lie? Isn't that the kind of behavior he judged President Nixon for? Seems to me that Bernstein's lie is worse than Nixon's. Nixon foolishly lied to protect his friends; Bernstein taught his son to lie.

And Chase Culeman Beckman got only a B on his paper.

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