WASHINGTON -- My telephone is not ringing off the hook. No intriguing or inquiring emails have arrived on my computer. Yet, on Friday, a document drop from the Clinton Library revealed that years ago, in the 1990s, I was at the very heart of the "vast right-wing conspiracy." Now here we are almost a week later, and still no journalist, much less a historian, has called to ask me if I really was actively conspiring with the British press, select American newspapers, obscure right-wing political operators and, who knows, possibly foreign powers to create the gossamer of scandal over the Clinton White House. All this was reported in the documents.
It has always struck me as curious how news stories are, or are not, reported in America. What standards must be met to land a story on the front page or even to decide that it is a story worth reporting at all?
Consider this story involving me that swayed tantalizingly on the threshold of the public domain. Its subject was that fantastical concoction that the Clinton White House created in the mid-1990s, "the media food chain." Through this "food chain," the Clintons claimed, came all the bogus stories of scandal that the Clintons so stoically endured. Thanks to my fellow conspirators, these stories eventually proved irresistible to the mainstream press, though there was not a scintilla of plausibility to them. Far from being a serial womanizer, Bill was the virgin president. He never lied, never obstructed justice, never blackened the reputations of the personae mentioned in the news stories, for instance, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Corbin Jones, Monica Lewinsky and, of course, my co-conspirators in the vast right-wing conspiracy.