Slow Burn: An Eight-Episode Podcast Miniseries on the Unfolding of the Watergate Scandal

A crime was com­mit­ted dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Then came a cov­er up and oth­er skull­dug­gery. Final­ly, there was a res­ig­na­tion. Nope, we’re not talk­ing about the tra­jec­to­ry of the Mueller inves­ti­ga­tion. We’re talk­ing about Watergate–the sub­ject of Slow Burn, a new, eight-episode pod­cast minis­eries from Slate.

Avail­able on iTunes, the web, and oth­er pod­cast play­ers, Slow Burn zeroes in on the ques­tions: “What did it feel like to live through the scan­dal that brought down a pres­i­dent? What was that strange, wild ride like?” Below, you can read the intro­duc­to­ry words from the pod­cast’s host, Leon Ney­fakh. And then stream the first episode called “Martha,” as in Martha Mitchell, wife of John Mitchell, the Attor­ney Gen­er­al of the Unit­ed States under Pres­i­dent Nixon.

One day at the end of April 1973, Richard Nixon stood on a porch at Camp David and told John Ehrlich­man he want­ed to die. Nixon had sum­moned Ehrlich­man, his long-serv­ing domes­tic pol­i­cy advis­er, to tell him he was being fired from the White House.

Nixon had been dread­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, but he knew it had to be done. The Depart­ment of Jus­tice had recent­ly informed the pres­i­dent that Ehrlich­man could be fac­ing crim­i­nal charges. Nixon felt the walls clos­ing in.

Lat­er, Nixon would tell the jour­nal­ist David Frost how he gave his old friend the news: “I said, ‘You know, John, when I went to bed last night … I hoped—I almost prayed—I wouldn’t wake up this morn­ing.’ ” Accord­ing to Ehrlich­man, the pres­i­dent then began to sob. It would be 15 months before he resigned from office.

So, that’s how Richard Nixon felt as the Water­gate sto­ry went from a curi­ous bur­glary to a nation­al obses­sion. What was it like for every­one else? That’s the ani­mat­ing ques­tion behind my new eight-episode pod­cast series for Slate, Slow Burn.

Episode 1: Martha

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.