This past June was the 40th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

The Nixon administration attempted cover-up of its involvement produced a growing scandal that led to the eventual resignation of President Nixon two years later. The investigative reporting of major media, particularly Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, helped bust open the massive political scandal and bring down the Nixon presidency.

With Watergate, trust in print journalism climbed to new levels. In 1974, applications to journalism schools reached an all-time high.

What a difference a couple generations have been on the Fourth Estate. Last month a new survey from Gallup showed that six in 10 Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to deliver the news "fully, accurately and fairly," a record number since the pollsters began tracking the trend. One group that graded the media much more harshly than in 2008, were the Independents, seen as a crucial voting block in this presidential election now just three weeks away.

Most conservative Republicans point to the coddling of the Obama administration by liberal-leaning media outlets like The New York Times and the major networks of ABC, NBC and CBS as a major reason for the growing negative trend against the media.

Today, nothing screams more for the kind of serious Watergate-style investigative reporting we saw in the early 1970s than the Obama administration's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. For more than a month, the White House has been stonewalling details of what occurred that day. It first tried to sweep it under the rug, blaming a lame YouTube video for a "spontaneous" attack against the American consulate. That weak excuse soon proved be false.

Where is the major media outrage? During last week's congressional hearings into the deadly attacks, The New York Times placed its story on the second day of hearings on page 3. When the Times' managing editor was asked about the placement, he said "there were six better stories."

The Times showed its liberal stripes early when the Libya attack story was evolving with its reluctance to pursue the story, despite the fact there were four Americans dead. Many feel the terrorist act is serious enough to be considered an act of war.

The more this administration tries to dodge and deflect on the Libyan issue especially on who knew what and when the deeper it digs itself a hole. It was obvious that Vice President Joe Biden didn't help his boss when he lied about the attack during last Thursday's debate against Paul Ryan.

We will be watching the president closely during tonight's second presidential debate as he attempts to explain what happened in Libya.

Despite what the administration and liberal media types like The New York Times would want us to believe, this is a crisis that continues to grow and it shouldn't be dismissed until the truth is served.

Many believe this is even bigger than Watergate since four Americans died. People in this administration either ignored the threat in Libya or were negligent in their duties, producing the constant stream of lies and attempts to stonewall that we've been seeing since the Sept. 11 attack.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [1]