In a front-page article Friday, the Washington Post provided redundant reminders of why many people no longer trust the Mainstream Media to give them fair political coverage.
In bending over backwards to portray Bill Clinton in the best possible light, the Post story seems to prove that the media doesn't understand what constitutes good character.
Written by Peter Baker, normally a cut-above Post reporter, “Campaigning for His Wife, Clinton Invokes '90s Battles” is a 1,900-word whine from Clinton and his supporters.
Apart from a brief recitation of the Monica Lewinsky affair, and one mention of Whitewater, the piece totally ignores: Travelgate, Chinagate, Filegate, FBIgate, the “Bimbo eruptions,” the still-suspicious death of White House counsel Vince Foster and others in the Clinton retinue, National Security Advisor Sandy Berger's theft of classified documents from the National Archives, the violent rape allegation by Juanita Broaddrick, and the allegations of Oval Office groping and subsequent intimidation by Kathleen Willey. Also ignored is the ongoing scandal involving Hillary Clinton's felonious fund-raiser, Norman Hsu. (There are many others, but my editor won't devote 10,000 words to this piece)
Instead, the article serves up a portrait of a brave Bill Clinton, biting his lower lip and taking all the unfairness in stride while others rise to his defense. The article gives an overall impression of a good man wronged, but still fighting for his valiant, equally wronged wife's name and campaign prospects. It's not that the Clintons lack character, the article implies, it's that their opponents are out to get them.
The article is peppered with Clinton apologetics.
From the lead paragraph:
"Bill Clinton was holding forth to a group of college students in New Hampshire too young to remember much about the investigations and battles of his presidency. But Clinton remembered.
"'Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon,' he told the students last week, his eyes narrowing and his finger jabbing the air. At another point, he complained that the investigations during his White House days virtually bankrupted him: 'The Republicans were so mean to me when I was president that I was poorer when I left than when I got there.'"
And on into the body of the story:
• As Clinton travels the country campaigning for his wife with characteristic intensity, he is fighting not only to promote Hillary Rodham Clinton's candidacy but also to set the record straight on the two terms he spent in the White House.
• …with his wife's campaign now on the line, Clinton's frustration seems to be boiling over.
• "What he perceives is a lack of fairness -- equal scrutiny, equal accountability," said the Rev. Carolyn Staley, a longtime friend from Arkansas. "While their lives have been an open book for all these years they've been in public service, other candidates have not been subject to that sort of scrutiny."
(Note: to review all the Clinton scandals that the press quickly dropped after initial reporting, see Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will, a new book by Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell and MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham. As the authors make clear, the Clintons are unmatched in the sheer magnitude of serious scandals that have been left unresolved and are still being ignored by the media. Far from being scrutinized, apart from the Lewinsky affair, the Clintons got a free ride, which apparently has not ended.)
Here are more gems from the article:
• Few know more about the harsh scrutiny of Washington than Bill Clinton. He spent much of his presidency fending off investigations by special prosecutors, congressional committees and news organizations.
• Friends and associates said the former president does not dwell on the old battles. If anything, they said, he has proved to be an unusually forgiving combatant.
• "He's not a normal politician who keeps score in his head and remembers everything," said Joe Lockhart, who served as Clinton White House press secretary and still stays in touch. "There are people who did him wrong a million times that he loves. . . . But there are exceptions. [Whitewater investigator Ken] Starr is one."
• Collectively, his recent comments echo the feeling of victimization he often expressed when he was president. "I don't think he spends a lot of time thinking about the Whitewater investigation and the special prosecutor and all that. I don't think that crosses his mind much at all," said Staley, who sees Clinton regularly when he visits Little Rock. "But I think he now thinks he understands injustice because he was treated so unfairly. When you're singled out for persecuting, trumped up -- as he would view it and many would agree -- and politically motivated set of events, you never forget that."
• Clinton seems intent on giving his wife the chance he once had -- not out of guilt or an attempt to make amends, friends say, but out of genuine conviction that she is the best person for the job. And she is best prepared, he often argues, not in spite of the political wars of the 1990s, but in part because of them.
• "She would have the best chance to win because she's been beat up so," he said in New Hampshire, sounding as though he might be talking about himself, too. "It's hard to get blood out of scar tissue."
You've got to be careful you don't bite that lip too hard.