Media criticism of Clinton: moral equivocation, ag

Posted: Feb 28, 2001 12:00 AM
It's a crazy world we live in, isn't it? The Clintons have participated in endless acts of corruption, from crooked land deals to miraculous hundred-thousand dollar cattle future bonanzas. They spent eight long years lying about travel agents they didn't fire, billing records they couldn't find but were later found in their bedroom, staff they couldn't explain having been hired, FBI files they didn't know why they had, and women with whom he'd had affairs. For good measure, both Clintons lied under oath. And Bill Clinton most probably raped a woman. Now we've seen a curtain call worthy of the Clinton legacy. They stripped the White House on their way out, and before turning out the lights, the president granted pardons to his pals while she sat in on meetings but claims she didn't have a thing to say, and her brother lined his pockets selling access to the White House, while his brother allegedly did the same. And now -- (ITAL) now (ITAL) -- the left is ... shocked? All this tut-tutting suddenly emerging from the national press is just laughable. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has spent years savaging conservatives while defending those swindlers in the administration. But now he thinks Bill Clinton "always had an easy, breezy relationship with wrongdoing." Herbert believes that "with the stench of yet another scandal polluting the political atmosphere, some of Mr. Clinton's closest associates and supporters are acknowledging what his enemies have argued for years -- the man is so thoroughly corrupt, it's frightening." Note what's lacking here. No acknowledgment that he, Mr. Herbert, was wrong all along. What I would give to have one of these journalists show an ounce of humility and admit their role in projecting for the past eight years the false image of "Clinton: Victim." NBC's Katie Couric took former Clinton press flack Joe Lockhart to task by challenging him to defend his claim that all of Clinton's recent problems were caused by "the Republican attack machine." Sounds good. Now consider that this is exactly what Couric and Co. at NBC had been suggesting for years, every time Clinton got into hot water. After calling the kettle black, the pot proceeded to suggest the newest evidence of the Clintons' sleazy ways isn't really black and white anyway. Declaring that "there is a bit of piling on" Clinton for taking the White House furniture, Couric added that other presidents' libraries "are filled with things those presidents got during their years at the White House. And yet, somehow, it's become a high crime for Bill Clinton ... " Katie, that dog don't hunt no more. No matter what the scandal, it's only a matter of time before the media present us with the "everyone does it" defense to excuse this man's slimy behavior. Some are trying it with the furniture caper; others with the shameless pardons. ABC's George Stephanopoulos has declared that had he known the real Bill Clinton he never would have worked for him, an interesting commentary on his sense of judgment, not to mention his total ignorance if that statement is to be believed. To be fair to Mr. Stephanopoulos, he was one of the very first in the Big Three networks to condemn Clinton for those pardons, and he did so passionately. At first. Now, in the interest of "fairness," I suppose, Stephanopoulos feels compelled to raise, and thereby give credibility to the preposterous argument of the loony left. "But how are any of these pardons worse than President Bush in his final days in office pardoning Cap Weinberger ... ?" he asks, demonstrating yet again the need to expand his nighttime reading materials. The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt is terribly upset with Mr. Clinton, oh yes, he is. "I bow to no one in my revulsion to those pardons. I think they are totally indefensible," solemnly pronounced the man who spent eight years defending everything else Clinton did illegally, unethically or immorally. Did this make Hunt's judgment all this time ... wrong? Heavens, no. "The idea that somehow there was a bunch of criminality that went on for eight ears and this just proves it, that is utter, complete nonsense." And that's getting to the heart of the matter. These journalists refuse to concede, unequivocally, that this man is a liar, a cheat and a thief, not only because it will prove he conned them all, but also because it will give validation to the conservative movement, which has said this all along. Time magazine's Jack White summed it up pretty well during an appearance on "Inside Washington." He declared, "what I really have against Clinton in this case is he's giving these people like (Rep.) Bob Barr another excuse to get in front of the public and pontificate endlessly about these problems." For some, hatred of conservatives will trump truth every time.