Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the editor of the magazine that broke the Troopergate stories, I have endured a decade of lectures from journalism's bulging choir of ethicists. In the Troopergate stories, The American Spectator had Arkansas state troopers attesting to Boy Clinton's philandering and to more serious matters, to wit: his misuse of government employees, misuse of government offices and vehicles, and even his misuse of government credit cards. All the troopers' stories were verified by documentation or by other witnesses' accounts.

Moreover, the Boy President's ithyphallic behavior continued in the White House, as was made luridly clear with the 1998 national debut of Monica Lewinsky. More importantly, it is increasingly apparent that while the president was attending to the cuties, his government was failing to attend to national security.

Nonetheless, I have for a decade been lectured to by the high priests of journalism about my deplorable ethics. Sex, I am told, is a private matter. The fact that unethical and occasionally illegal behavior is employed in pursuit of sex does not change the essential privacy of the sexual acts and all the moonlit nights that might accompany those acts. It is all very romantic. If sex is involved, all morally superior journalists shy away from reporting it. By this reasoning, a good way for a corrupt politician to cover up his corruption would be for him to become a sex maniac while taking the government to the cleaners.

So after all these lectures about the privacy of sexual acts, why have I not heard journalism's ethicists admonishing the Los Angeles Times? In the last days of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for the governorship of California, the Times began reporting on his frisky sex life based on the stories of women whose recollections go back to the 1970s and who have remained for the most part anonymous.

Can you imagine if my troopers had remained anonymous? Surely they had good reason to remain anonymous. They could claim that they feared retribution, and as a matter of fact at least three of them were punished by state authorities. But who would take seriously a story of sexual excess coming from sources that remained anonymous? Apparently, the editors of the Los Angeles Times trust such sources, and they expect their readers to trust such sources.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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