All the President’s Men

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All the President’s Men Questions
Directions – Answer the following questions on your own paper. Some contain more than one question, so be sure to answer all of them. Be thoughtful and answer the questions thoroughly. Following each question, the point value is indicated. These questions are worth a total of 75 points.

  1. What is the role of the anonymous source in American society and governance? (5)

  1. The government has taken the position that reporters must disclose their confidential sources when called to testify in a grand jury or criminal proceeding. The Courts have upheld this position. If Bob Woodward had been subpoenaed to disclose the identity of his sources early in the Watergate investigation, what would have happened to the story? (5)

  1. Should a reporter disclose his source in this situation: The investigation relates to a murder. The source agrees to talk to the journalist only on deep background with a solemn promise from the reporter that the source will never be identified. In the course of the conversation, the reporter becomes convinced that the source is the killer and is trying to use the reporter to spread disinformation to deflect suspicion from the source. What should the reporter do? Does it make a difference if the crime is not as serious as murder? (5)

  1. Is there a difference between Mr. Felt's actions in leaking information about criminal activities in the government and the leak in the following situation: An experienced diplomat is dispatched to a foreign country to evaluate claims that another country was trying to purchase uranium to make atomic bombs. The White House has publicly taken the position that this has occurred. The investigator reports that the White House is wrong and this is very embarrassing to the president. Someone in the government, seeking to punish the investigator, leaks the fact that the investigator's wife is an undercover CIA operative. The journalist to whom the leak was made publishes the story. It is a crime to publish the name of a CIA undercover operative? Should the reporter disclose the name of the CIA operative? Should the reporter be required to divulge the name of the source? (10)

  1. A government official with very high security clearances discloses a history of the government's involvement in an unpopular war showing that the government lied to the public about the origins of the war and its actions relating to the war. The information is classified and the source, by disclosing it to a reporter, was committing a crime but he was not acting as an agent of the government seeking to punish someone for disagreeing with the White House. Should the reporter be required to disclose his source? Should the source go to jail for his or her actions? (10)

  1. Why did the reporters require that they get at least two sources for each fact that they reported? (5)

  1. What is "investigative journalism" and how does it differ from other types of journalism? (5)

  1. How is the media environment of today different than the media environment of the 1970s? (5)

  1. One of the reporters involved in breaking the story of the Watergate scandal said that the important thing wasn't that they brought down the President of the United States. The important thing was that they made the system work. Do you agree? Explain your reasons. (5)

  1. If the President and his aides were engaged in a criminal conspiracy today, would they be exposed? (5)

  1. Describe the relationship between journalists and government officials, from both sides. (10)

  1. Do you think that it is significant that Superman, one of America's great fictional heroic figures, was a newspaper man? (5)

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