New Deep Throat Candidate Emerges

By: Greg Mitchell

After two weeks of growing speculation over the identity of Deep Throat, we have another, if not exactly new, candidate today.

E&P recently held a contest, asking readers to select the most likely candidate, and William H. Rehnquist beat out the usual suspects, such as Fred Fielding and Mark Felt. Then we revealed that John Ehrlichman, before his passing, had told his friend Walter Anderson, CEO and chairman of Parade magazine, that he was certain it was Henry Kissinger.

Now Eric Burns, the Fox News media reporter, has put forth, with at least some sourcing, another candidate: Mr. Know It All, Burns suggests, was actually Mr. No One.

In a discussion with Fox News? Shepard Smith on Friday afternoon, Burns said that the late historian Stephen Ambrose had told him that he once shared a book editor, the legendary Alice Mayhew of Simon & Schuster, with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Burns then repeated the oft-told rumor that the character ?Deep Throat? was not in the original manuscript of the Woodward and Bernstein classic ?All the President?s Men,? but the Fox reporter then added further details, supposedly coming from Ambrose.

In the Burns account, Mayhew ?is supposed to have said two things to these cub reporters who were looking for their first big book advance. First, your book has so many sources in it that it’s a little hard for the reader to keep up. Second, your book is lacking a little something in narrative drive. I mean, it’s like a bunch of newspaper articles. It’s good, it’s important, but I have, Ambrose believes she said, one solution to both problems. Let’s tie all your sources into one source, and let’s make him a mystery man. …

?What I’m saying here is not a suggestion that the information provided by or attributed to Deep Throat was false. Simply that the identity of this person was false. It is exactly the same as saying there are a lot of people who contributed to Deep Throat. And you know, people have done studies, people who know a lot more about this than I do, in which they’ve said it’s very unlikely that the person who gave Woodward and Bernstein this information, was placed in such a way that he or she could [also] have known this. …

?It was a lot of stuff. It’s not just it was a lot of stuff; it was a lot of stuff that was widely varied in source. So the likelihood that it’s more than one person is great. The likelihood that this is an artistic invention is even greater. …

?All right, so it’s more than 30 years, we’re still talking about it. And why? Because Deep Throat has exactly the same characteristics as the great villains or mystery men of fiction. Why does Deep Throat resemble fiction? I think Stephen Ambrose is right. Deep Throat is fiction.

?There’s an ultimate way to know whether I’m right, and I think I am because what Ambrose said makes so much sense, and whether Ambrose is right. Supposedly Woodward at least — I don’t know about Bernstein — but Woodward has said when Deep Throat dies, his identity will be revealed. Well, first of all, that’s an out. If you’re going to attribute something to someone who’s dead, is that person going to come back and say it’s not true?

?Maybe I’m susceptible to the same charge because I am saying that Stephen Ambrose told me this. Ambrose told some other people too. But if he’s going to wait until the person can’t say I’m not Deep Throat, doesn’t that suggest there’s some credibility problems??

This “composite” idea, however, is hardly new. It even drew a few votes in our recent poll. And Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC newsman and something of a student of Watergate, reminds me that in his 2002 book for Salon, John Dean “noted the same thing — even documented where the Deep Throat parts were added (he’s seen the original manuscript). But the assumption that this was a composite is undermined by what isn’t in that original manuscript: those details coming from other sources. They aren’t ‘transferred’ to Throat.

“My analysis is that Woodward originally felt that he should continue to protect Throat utterly, but that the absence of an ‘inside’ story of how he got what he supplied put tremendous factual holes in the narrative,” Olbermann said. “It would’ve been, ironically, like Dean’s original testimony to the prosecutors when he sought immunity: he completely left Nixon out (‘I won’t talk about the ‘P’).”

All this speculation is fun — at least if you are of a certain age ?- but the time has come to put it all behind us. Let?s really get to the bottom of it.

Let?s put a Washington-based investigative journalist with close contacts in Republican circles on the case. It has to be someone who, like Deep Throat, knows what it?s like to be best known by an alias, and to harbor secrets that an administration in power may not want out. The fellow I have in mind is also temporarily out of work with plenty of time on his hands.

Paging Jeff Gannon!

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