THE PUBLIC ETHICS FIRESTORM
The preceding chapters have detailed the origins of the public integrity war that began long before Watergate became symbolic of political corruption. Watergate, however, ignited a major escalation of the public integrity war. In the aftermath of Watergate, new progressives and movement conservatives used the perceived decline of ethics in government to further their respective causes.
The ensuing firestorm over ethics failed to win many converts for either side. In fact, the public integrity war quickly evolved from a crusade into a war of attrition. And print and broadcast journalists found that they had little choice but to cover each new allegation. The new public integrity bureaucracy found itself with more business than it could handle.
Public figures found that ethics controversies simply did not go away without intense media scrutiny and some type of official investigation. The public integrity war had entered a new phase where ethics disputes went hand-in-hand with being a public servant.