As bacteria develop immunities to drugs designed to kill them, so political systems adapt to survive prescriptions for reform. But the effort goes on, spurred from time to time by some new epidemic of abuses grown too troublesome to tolerate. One such was the Watergate scandal of 1972. Although widely misunderstood and misinterpreted, then and since, it provoked a great wave of electoral reform.
The four concluding chapters of this book examine the scandal, the resulting reforms and their effects, our sources of information and understanding about both, and prospects for further reform. Chapter 12 deals with Watergate: what went wrong and why and how; and Watergate as the new mandate for reform. One of the mischiefs of that reform is a Congress whose members are nearly immune to defeat (Chapter 13). The evolution of modern news media and the often skewed political perceptions they transmit are treated in Chapter 14. Finally, Chapter 15 offers perspectives on further reform.