The New York Observer
The Breaking of the President, 1998
by Philip Weiss
It used to be that Clinton hatred was a closet sect of the far right. Two years ago, I went to Arkansas to meet former state employee Larry Nichols and other martyrs of Clinton hatred. The interesting thing about these people was that they weren't ideological. Often they were Democrats or independents who had been deeply angered by Mr. Clinton's behavior, who felt that they had been used or smeared.
Back then, a friend in the White House had given me a report the White House counsel's office had assembled on Clinton-hating. It was called "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce" and showed how hateful stories about the Clintons came into the mainstream press, unfiltered, via irresponsible but newly trustworthy channels: the Internet, the tabloids and British papers. The report was highly prescient in its description of the collapse of traditional distinctions in the media; it seemed to foresee the day when Larry Flynt would lead us into the wilderness.
Still, that report was more hateful than the haters. For instance, the report named Linda Ives, whose teenage son was killed by well-connected drug dealers just outside Little Rock. If you scratched the surface of her case, you understood what a terrible injustice Mrs. Ives had suffered: Then-Governor Clinton's medical examiner had called the death accidental, grand jury witnesses had been killed, no one had ever been prosecuted, and Bill Clinton had refused to meet with her. My point is that well-meaning Democratic lawyers in the White House from fancy schools knew nothing about the facts and were happy to use Mrs. Ives' case to demonstrate a right-wing conspiracy.
Just as, years later, some of them were happy to call Monica a stalker.
This column ran on page 1 in the 12/28/98 edition of The New York Observer.
COPYRIGHT (C) 1998