When the Nixon administration imploded over the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, one person was caught in the crossfire. Martha Mitchell was the wife of Attorney General John Mitchell who worked under Richard Nixon. In her day, she was known to be the life of the political parties she and her husband participated in, but her loud personality ruffled a lot of Republicans the wrong way. In the Netflix documentary The Martha Mitchell Effect, we see how she was betrayed and enlightened by those close to her. She was one of the first people in politics to distrust Nixon’s cabinet, and her public remarks about it made her a target.
During Nixon’s re-election bid in 1972, Martha Mitchell made several statements to the press about the underhanded tactics used by her re-election committee. She made waves because women in politics were discouraged from being outspoken, especially in front of the press. When the Watergate story broke, she was quick to criticize Nixon and those close to him. The documentary does a good job of showing the viewer the kind of person Mitchell was. She was a lively character in the dry, boring world of monotonous politics.
Once Nixon and her husband’s involvement in the Watergate scandal was reported, Martha was immediately full of burning questions. Her husband responded by gaslighting her and using his security detail to keep her out of the outside world by isolating her in a hotel room. As the story develops, you feel a lot of sympathy for her. She was betrayed by her husband and the people she was trying to keep in power as they went to great lengths to convince the American people that she was crazy. Years later, this would lead to the coining of the term “Martha Mitchell effect” – often used when someone’s opinions and statements make others think they’re crazy, but are ultimately proven to be crazy. is right.
The use of historical footage and interviews ranging from Mitchell’s appearances on the show Laugh in the secret recordings Nixon had made in the Oval Office helps the pacing of the film a lot. Despite being 40 minutes long, the filmmakers convey a ton of information. And despite my good knowledge of Watergate, I learned a lot about Mitchell’s involvement and the role she played in how politicians of the day were perceived by the public.
Those interested in the Watergate scandal or the history of American politics in general will likely enjoy this film. I went there knowing nothing about Martha Mitchell and at the end I had a new perspective on something I had already learned a lot.
Authors biography :
Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Smart magazine.
For Intello magazine