100 articles – ‘I have impeached myself’

23 May 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘I have impeached myself’ by David Frost

On June 17, 1972 five men where arrested breaking into the Democrat Headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. After an investigation it was revealed that officials in the Nixon Administration had been responsible for the crime. After accusations of a cover-up by the administration and the President himself, Nixon resigned his presidency August 9, 1974.

After more than two years away from the public eye, former President Nixon was ready to publish his memoirs about the scandal. After a consultation with his publicist Irving Lazar, they found that they would reach a broader audience through television. As David Frost was willing to pay Nixon for the interview and was also regarded by the head of the Nixon staff, Jack Brennan, to be easily to outplay, he was selected to do the interview.

It proved however that David Frost was not that easily outplayed after all. The confession by Nixon that he let the American people down premiered to over 45 million people, making it the most-watched political interview in history.

The interview was shown as four, 90-minute long episodes. This version, published as part of The Guardian’s ‘Great Interviews of the 20th Century’ series, is a shortened transcript from these interviews, containing what I see as the most important and interesting parts of their exchange.

A vital read for any journalist planning to conduct a political interview.

Sindre Hellkas, who hails from Oslo, is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University.

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