Perhaps the most perplexing mystery in Bernstein and Woodward’s book is why they fail to understand the role of the institutions and investigators who were supplying them and other reporters with leakswrote Edward Jay Epstein as he concluded an essay 31 years ago (thanks to Ashbrook's Peter W. Schramm).
This blind spot, endemic to journalists, proceeds from an unwillingness to see the complexity of bureaucratic in-fighting and of politics within the government itself. If the government is considered monolithic, journalists can report its activities, in simply comprehended and coherent terms, as an adversary out of touch with popular sentiments. On the other hand, if governmental activity is viewed as the product of diverse and competing agencies, all with different bases of power and interests, journalism becomes a much more difficult affair.
In any event, the fact remains that it was not the press, which exposed Watergate; it was agencies of government itself. So long as journalists maintain their blind spot toward the inner conflicts and workings of the institution, of government, they will no doubt continue to speak of Watergate in terms of the David and Goliath myth, with Bernstein and Woodward as David and the government as Goliath.