“The Monica Lewinsky confessional in Vanity Fair brings back a torrent of unfond memories of the appalling cast of tabloid gargoyles who drove the scandal. Remember them? Treacherous thatched-roof-haired drag-queen Linda Tripp, with those dress-for-success shoulder pads? Cackling, fact-lacking hack Lucianne Goldberg, mealy-mouthed Pharisee Kenneth Starr—the whole buzzing swarm of legal, congressional and gossip industry flesh flies, feasting on the entrails. And, of course, hitting “send” on each new revelation that no one else would publish, the solitary, perfectly named Matt Drudge, operating in pallid obsession out of his sock-like apartment in Miami… They were the face of the future. The things that shocked us then—the illicitly taped conversations, the wholesale violations of elementary privacy, the globally broadcast sexual embarrassments, all the low-life disseminated malice—is now the communications industry as it operates every minute of every day.”
—-Daily Beast publisher Tina Brown, in an essay titled “How Monica Lewinsky Changed the Media”
This is an unethical statement for the ages. It launches an dishonestly titled piece with an unethical premise and unethical motives, virtually every phrase in it is despicable, and it reveals the dearth of admirable values not only within Brown, but within the millions of people who think like her, many of whom she and her cohorts corrupted.
In Abby Mann’s important drama, “Judgment at Nuremberg” (it had three forms of presentation: TV drama, film, and finally, stage), based on the third and final stage of the post World War II war crimes trials devoted to trying the Nazi judges, a vulnerable female witness and victim of Nazi justice is harshly cross-examined about an infamous case at the heart of the trials. Her humiliation is interrupted when one of the defendant judges (in the film, Bert Lancaster), stands to halt the inquisition, asking, “Are you going to do this again?”
The answer clearly coming from the Bill and Hillary Clinton Ethics Amnesia Team is clearly “Yes! It worked before, why not now?”
Monica was responsible for the whole impeachment train wreck, you see, and all that followed. That was Hillary’s position (once the original cover lie that it was all the fabrication of a vast right-wing conspiracy became unsustainable, with that stained dress and all), and as outrageous and audaciously despicable as it is, that it is still what the corrupt, corrupted and corrupting supporters of these two Machiavellian blights on our culture and politics are determined to make Americans believe, no matter how much bending of history, facts, logic, fairness, decency and responsibility it requires.
Brown, a venal, ethics-free pop journalism mogul whose conscience is every bit the black hole that Rupert Murdoch’s is if not blacker (but she’s a liberal, a woman, and glamorous, so it’s OK!) is in this respect no different from any partisan who perceived nothing offensive about Bill Clinton headlining a Democratic Convention dedicated to declaiming a “war on women,” or any analyst who yearns to inflict Bill’s demonstrably awful wife on the nation, dragging him along with her. I am very confident that Hillary is not a lock to end up in the White House, as Brown has directed more than one of her lackeys at the Daily Beast to opine, because unlike her slick and sociopath husband, she lacks the magical, hypnotic, all-disguising charm that has allowed him to continue his con. If I am wrong, then so was Abraham Lincoln.
“The appalling cast of tabloid gargoyles who drove the scandal?” William Jefferson Clinton drove the scandal, and everyone else was a passenger. He was the life-time predator; he was the one lying, under oath, in court, to avoid accountability in one of his attempted forced workplace conquests (Paula Jones); he was the one who, while using the sham of his love match with Hillary (“Two for one!”) as a cynical PR tool, turned a star-struck 22-year-old White House intern into an office sex toy; he is the one who “denied-denied-denied,” he is the one who lied to the press and the American people; he is the one who deployed an army of lawyers to keep accountability away, destroying a fistful of traditional legal protections of useful (for legitimate governing purposes) executive privilege; he is the one who entangled his staff, advisors and Cabinet members…and his wounded, spousal hatchet woman…in the desperate cover-up; he is the one who sent paid surrogates and lackeys like Lanny Davis to the talk shows and cable news programs, and permitted them to smear other, more admirable Presidents in a blatant “everybody does it” and “it’s not the worst thing” strategy; he is the one who permitted his defense of the indefensible to occupy his attentions while the terrorists plotted; he is the one who was willing to rip America down the middle for his selfish preservation, creating a wound that has only festered since; he is the one who stonewalled, lied to the Grand Jury and obstructed justice; he is the one who, once caught in the spotlight with his pants down and his nose three feet long, didn’t have the respect for the office and the nation exhibited by Richard Nixon, who resigned rather than subject the country to the trauma of impeachment.
But the tabloid gargoyles drove the scandal, says Tina Brown.
Having poisoned her essay with that preemptive whopper, Brown elaborated on “gargoyle.” These people are bad, you see, in part because they are ugly, unlike the well–coiffed Tina, and sexy Bill. “Thatched-roof-haired drag-queen Linda Tripp, with those dress-for-success shoulder pads”…no war on women here, right Tina? A more misogynistic attack on a middle-aged woman who lacked either the resources or the vanity to subject her elf to the plastic surgeon’s knife it would be hard to imagine. (In Tina’s Bizarro ethics world, Tripp is a villain, unlike, say, the Democratic operative who surreptitiously taped Mitt Romney’s “47%” remarks, because Tripp thought the public should know that the President of the United Sates had violated the law, and was willing to implicate her friend to do it, and Tina believes loyalty to a girlfriend trumps the duties of government employment and citizenship.)
Then we are back to the old, tried and true “its just sex” defense: prosecutor Kenneth Starr was a “Pharisee,” a moralist, someone who is so square and uncool as to believe that the President of the United States, who takes an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” isn’t fulfilling the terms of that oath when he breaks the law in a courtroom, deliberately lies to the American people, degrades his position, and turns the office of the President into a passion pit for the exploitation of young employees. The prosecutor is to blame for the crime.
He and the victim, of course.
Then Brown condemns Matt Drudge, who is beneath contempt because, unlike Tina, he worked in a “sock-like” office. Tina is a certified herald of the “progressives” who decry income inequality, remember. And what was Drudge’s sinister “obsession”? To publish what the real journalists—you know, Democrats, pledged to protecting their pet President no matter what, just like today—were prepared not to publish: the fact that the President was a) a liar b) a hypocrite c) violating his own sexual harassment law d) committing adultery on the nation’s time, violating the public trust when he was supposed to be doing his job and e) exploiting a young woman, all of which the public not only had a right to know, but which ethical journalists had a duty to report.
Brown and her cabal, however, were not going to report it, so Matt Drudge, in the best traditions of journalism, did. That makes him the villain, says Tina, when the traditional, mainstream media, which had proven itself corrupt, cronyism-driven, complicit and untrustworthy in the past (JFK) and would in the future (John Edwards) was conspiring, as usual, to cover-up for the powerful.
The truly frightening thing is that Brown is sufficiently confident of the thorough corruption, confusion and dullery of her knee-jerk liberal readership that she would publish such self-indicting prose without shame or trepidation.
Even more frightening is the likelihood that she’s right.