Deep Throat is one of the most famous anonymous newspaper sources in American journalism. He is known for helping Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's impeachment and resignation in 1974. Deep Throat's identity was a source of curiosity until he was revealed in 2005 as the former number two figure at the FBI, William Mark Felt. This thesis will show that, despite Felt's notoriety, Deep Throat was not an indispensable part of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate coverage, speaking with Woodward 16 times about Watergate during the reporters' coverage. Deep Throat was important to the Watergate story because he kept it alive. Deep Throat inspired numerous publications, which all served to create his mythic status. Many attempted to guess his true identity, although Woodward and Bernstein refused to confirm most guesses. An enduring Deep Throat legacy is that his nickname has become synonymous with deep background - a source that cannot be quoted or named. There was no clear consensus as to how people felt about Felt's role as Deep Throat. There were many negative and positive reactions when he revealed himself. His family sided with him; Nixon associates were unhappy with him. However, more than 30 years after the Watergate scandal, Deep Throat was still big news. No matter what people thought about him, they paid attention and they knew the story.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hamilton, Shana Lyris, "The Enduring Mythological Role of the Anonymous Source Deep Throat" (2006). Theses and Dissertations. 1064.
Deep Throat, Mark Felt, Watergate, Washington Post, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, anonymous source, Richard Nixon