There Was A Measure
Two college friends and I gathered in my senior year to watch David Frost interview Richard Nixon in 1977. It made for compelling viewing.
The thinking at the time was that Nixon chose Frost because Frost was seen as something of a supercilious lightweight who wouldn’t press the resigned former President with challenging questions. Oh boy. Big miscalculation.
Frost had done his homework. He had looked at the background material at the granular level. Frost knew it well.
While many would have liked to have seen the former President grilled in a court of law, that never happened. However, Frost’s inquiry was prosecutorial in both style and content.
What we saw ultimately was a measure of contrition from Nixon. For many it would remain insufficient but it was at least something. He talked about how he messed up and how he would have to carry that burden for the remainder of his life.
Nixon went on to achieve a partial (60%, I’d estimate) rehabilitation. He wrote books, met with world leaders, gave a few speeches, and advised American Presidents of both parties.
We’d all benefit from the concept of contrition playing a part in the present day Zeitgeist. I’m not expecting that going forward. I’m guessing neither are you.