Study Guide

All the President's Men Manipulation

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Conspiracy theorists love tall tales of government manipulation—like theories that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor. The Bush administration orchestrated 9/11. Obama kept Half-Life 3 all to himself. We've heard them all.

Back in 1972, the idea that the Nixon administration was responsible for the Watergate break-in was just another conspiracy theory. The crazy thing was that this one turned out to be true. Nixon, who looks more like a Muppet than a puppet master, and his top aides were pulling strings on the entire government. If they were able to accomplish that, who knows what else might be true?

Questions About Manipulation

  1. How does the government convince people not to talk to the reporters?
  2. Do you think Woodward, Bernstein, or anyone else is actually in life-threatening danger?
  3. Is there any way the Watergate break-in could have been effectively covered up? What would the repercussions be if no one found out the truth?

Chew on This

The Nixon administration somehow convinces people not to talk to the reporters, but we're not sure how they do. In the movie, it's never clear if there is actual danger, or simply the threat of danger.

The reporters must resort to manipulation tactics of their own in order to find out the truth.

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