Ridiculing Richard Cohen is now a popular sport


Some time ago, I wrote up a blog item about Richard Cohen's idiotic column, in which he claimed he knew who Deep Thorat was but wrote that it could have been a secret service technician.

The New Republic has ridiculed him in the current edition . I googled the subject and came up with other people who ridiculed him as a braggart, liar, and other assorted names. The ego of this guy... and his ridiculous desperate trying to latch onto fame is extraordinary, even in Washington. For example:

Richard Cohen, the op—ed sob sister for The Washington Post, is nothing if not timid. Here's his claim to Watergate fame and celebrity:

"A long time ago I wrote a magazine piece about how Bob Woodward's famous source, 'Deep Throat,' could have been a mere Secret Service technician. ... I showed the piece to Woodward, who would not say whether it was right or wrong, just that it made sense. We both knew, though, that 'Deep Throat' was Mark Felt." 

Only Mr. Cohen would write that he deliberately wrote something he knew wasn't so —— most newspapermen guard their credibility ferociously —— but in Washington, as in Los Angeles, trading your credibility for a vagrant ray of refracted glory is considered a good deal.

And this:


"A long time ago I wrote a magazine piece about how Bob Woodward's famous source, 'Deep Throat,' could have been a mere Secret Service technician. ... I showed the piece to Woodward, who would not say whether it was right or wrong, just that it made sense.We both knew, though, that 'Deep Throat' was Mark Felt."
——Richard Cohen, The Washington Post, June 1, 2005

It was the fall of 1960 when I first realized Mark Felt was Deep Throat. That's technically impossible, since there wasn't yet a Deep Throat back then. Or even a Nixon administration. But I could sense from the Nixon—Kennedy debates that Nixon would one day be elected president, engage in colossal acts of corruption, then alienate the FBI, which would turn against him in a fit of bureaucratic pique.That the critical FBI leaker would be Mark Felt was self—evident: Felt had prematurely graying hair and bore a passing resemblance to Hal Holbrook, who, I reasoned——and "reasoned" actually overstates it, given how obvious it was——would be the only logical choice to play Felt in a movie about the young reporting duo that broke the story. (Full disclosure: I mistakenly predicted Jon Voight would play Woodward, reprising the chemistry he and Dustin Hoffman shared in Midnight Cowboy. How I overlooked Robert Redford has provoked much soul—searching and is still not entirely clear to me.)

As the years passed, the evidence supporting my casual hunch began to mount. First, President Nixon resigned amid scandal. Second, my cousin Maggie, while working at a private club in New Haven, had a momentous encounter with Carl Bernstein. Happy Endings——regrettably, no longer in business——was that rare place where Bernstein would let down his guard. I don't know why exactly he trusted Maggie, but, on several occasions, he shouted his terrible secret to her: "Felt!" He called it their "safe word."

Finally, I asked Woodward directly. He dodged the question——I think his exact words were, "How did you get into my bedroom?!"The very thought of revealing his secret had apparently sent him into a blind rage. Woodward kicked me several times in the solar plexus and dragged me out his front door. As groggy as I was when I came to, I'll never forget the phrase he shouted before the final blow: "Mother F*****." M.F. Hello?

Still, like everyone else, I occasionally wavered. Due to some poorly worded passages in a book I once wrote, some associated me with the case for Diane Sawyer. (Sadly, Case Closed: Diane Sawyer was Deep Throat, is now out of print.) Betty Ford once told me she was Deep Throat over a bottle of Wild Turkey. I half believed her.There was a brief period in the early '80s, while I was covering President Reagan's illegal war in Central America, when I flirted with the idea that Deep Throat was Francisco, Checkers's Salvadoran valet. But Felt was always my man.

In retrospect, what makes my achievement so remarkable isn't just that I was right. It was the way I was right: smug, self—assured, contemptuous of those who couldn't see the glorious truth staring them in the face. I began refusing invitations to parties because I couldn't stand being around people who lacked my powers of deduction. I arranged to have a journalist friend fired after he second—guessed me. At times, I would approach small children on playgrounds and taunt them about how I knew who Deep Throat was and they didn't.Well I did, didn't I, you sniggering little brats?

Now that I've been vindicated, I'm left with a vague, almost haunting, sense of emptiness. "It's like having tried to protect something precious for all these years that you carry around, and, for the first time, it's not there to protect in your pocket anymore," Bernstein recently said. "It's a very strange feeling." Strange, yes. But, sometimes, strangeness is the price we brave few must pay

Ed Lasky   6 19 05