The truth and Mr. and Ms. Clinton

Posted: Nov 15, 2001 12:00 AM
Oh, those Clintons! On September 17, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) appeared on "Dateline NBC." Where, Dateline asked, was Chelsea on that fateful day? Senator Clinton told NBC's Jane Pauley: "She'd gone on what she thought would be a great jog. She was going down to the Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and -- that's when the plane hit." Pauley: "She was close enough to hear the rumble." Sen. Clinton: "She did hear it. She did." Pauley: "And to see the smoke ... " Sen. Clinton: "That's right." Pauley: " ... in person, not on television." Sen. Clinton: "No ... " But Chelsea Clinton wrote a first-person article for the December 2001 issue of Talk magazine, about that horrible morning. Here, Chelsea said, "On the morning it happened I was at my friend Nicole Davison's apartment, near Union Square in Manhattan. That morning we had gotten up and grabbed coffee, and then she took the subway to work while I bought a paper and headed back to her apartment. I had just walked in when she called from work. A plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center, she said. I should stay put and she'd call me back when she knew more. I turned on the television and watched as the second plane hit. " A major news item, right? After all, Internet publisher Matt Drudge noted the conflicting accounts in his November 9 Drudge Report. And, yes, the next day, the Washington Times and New York Post ran the story, both quoting Mr. Drudge. The Times said, "There are thousands of stories about the September 11 terrorist attacks that chronicle the human condition from every angle. But for now, public attention has focused on just two, and they do not jibe. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, have opposing accounts about that day." The Post put it more bluntly, "Hillary and Chelsea Clinton should have gotten their stories straight. It turns out there are glaring discrepancies in their accounts of what Chelsea was doing on the morning of September 11." But, so far, an online search of 550 U.S. newspapers turned up no other papers bothering to mention this, uh, discrepancy. And what about the coverage of Bill Clinton's post-September 11 speech at Georgetown University? In a story headlined "Clinton Calls Terror a U.S. Debt to Past," Washington Times writer Joseph Curl says Clinton practically blamed an "arrogant, self-righteous" America for the September 11 terrorist attacks! Curl noted these excerpts from Clinton's speech: "Here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery, and slaves quite frequently were killed even though they were innocent. This country once looked the other way when a significant number of native Americans were dispossessed and killed to get their land or their mineral rights or because they were thought of as less than fully human. And we are still paying a price today. "In the first Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with 300 Jews in it and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was a Muslim on the Temple Mount. I can tell you that story is still being told today in the Middle East and we are still paying for it. "We've got to defeat people who think they can find their redemption in our destruction. And then we have to be smart enough to get rid of our arrogant self-righteousness so that we don't claim for ourselves things we deny for others. "This battle fundamentally is about what you think about the nature of truth." (Truth? Oh, nevermind.) Now CNN's Brad Wright also covered the speech. But Wright's article contained only the non-controversial, non-provocative excerpts from Clinton's speech: "There is a war raging within Islam about what they should think about the United States in particular and the West in general. And we've now reached a point with all these people lying dead and with all these terrorists, with the anthrax and everything, where people need to actually say what it is that they believe. What do you believe is right and wrong? "In the complex combustible mixture of a lot of these countries, a lot of the governments allow people to go into the mosques and demonize us, and demonize the West and demonize Christianity and demonize Jews, because as long as they do that, they think they're shifting the heat of popular distress off of the governments." Notice anything missing? The CNN piece omitted practically every single one of Clinton's eyebrow-raising statements. Does the media treatment of former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton suggest a bias? Please, let us not engage in reckless, unfair, and cynical speculation.