The Watchmen were once the very heroes of the nation, but a smearing campaign has succeeded were the enemy’s forces failed: the Watchmen are considered as dangerous and crazy vigilantes. Check this clip from the House Committee on Un-American Activities that just vilifies the Watchmen:
WATCHMEN NO MORE MASKS
The Keene Act and you.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities
Who watches the Watchmen?
No Masks, No capes, No gadgets or experimental weapons, No dangerous unlicensed vehicles
Together we can forge a better America!
When an ex-superhero is murdered, the vigilante named Rorschach begins an investigation into the murder, which begins to lead to a much more terrifying conclusion: a conspiracy to kill the Watchmen!