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Library of Congress, WGBH Digitize Watergate Hearings

Public TV's 51 days of coverage all available online 11/03/2017 1:17 PM Eastern
Former White House Counsel John W. Dean III famously testified during the Watergate hearings that he had told President Richard Nixon "that there was a cancer growing on the presidency."
Credit: PBS Archives

Even as some critics of Donald Trump have been using the "I" word (impeach), the Library of Congress and WGBH Boston announced Friday (Nov. 3) that "one of the most popular series in public broadcasting" is now available for online viewing: the 1973 Watergate hearings that resulted in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

Related: Pew Survey Finds Trump Approval Rating at 34%

The move marks the first time in 44 years that the broadcasts will be available for viewing, this time online.

Public TV covered the Watergate hearings gavel-to-gavel and they were must-watch TV for many Baby Boomers. Noncommercial station WETA Washington donated the tapes, which have been digitized and are available as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (americanarchive.org/exhibits/watergate). All 51 days of coverage are included.

WGBH and the Library of Congress jointly oversee the archive.

The Senate Watergate Committee hearings ran from May 17 to Nov. 15, presided over by the ironically Southern and avuncular committee chairman, Sam Ervin (D-N.C.), who became a national celebrity. 

Related | pbs.org: 15 Figures Who Made Watergate an American Epic

The Library of Congress noted that the hearings marked the first uniting of Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer as anchors of the coverage, which it said "became a model for public television and, later, C-SPAN."

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