William Safire the former token conservative at the New York Times who died yesterday should spend several thousand years in purgatory as penitence for one of the great sins of recent history- he began the use of the suffix "gate" to describe and hype up non Watergate* related scandals when he applied it to a story about one of Jimmy Carter's high level appointees Bert Lance.
The story was trivial with no actual evidence of wrongdoing but by attaching the word 'gate', Lancegate became a damaging scandal that forced the resignation of the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
* If another scandal involving the Watergate Hotel happened now, would it be known as 'Watergategate'?
Tracing the lost River Westbourne
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