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Ruddy Blackout Shows a Book Bias

Ruddy Blackout Shows a Book Bias
by L. Brent Bozell III
October 2, 1997

In an age of media spectacles large (Princess Diana) and small (Marv Albert), one might think there is no such thing left in journalism as a taboo. Investigative journalist Christopher Ruddy would disagree. Over the last three years, he's focused on a story that no one else wants to touch: the strange death of top White House aide Vincent Foster.

On a beat virtually abandoned (if ever covered) by the rest of the national media, Ruddy has broken scoop after scoop for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review documenting a bagful of forensic mysteries surrounding Foster's death, as well as an outrageous pattern of White House stonewalling of the investigation.

He advanced no grand theory of his own. He simply demolishes the official findings of independent counsel Robert Fiske. He shows how Foster could not have killed himself as reported by the press; how the crime scene contradicted the claim of suicide; how Foster did not walk hundreds of feet through the grass of Fort Marcy Park, where his body was found; how the so-called suicide note was found to be a forgery; how the White House impeded investigators at every opportunity.

If Ruddy were a leftist, he'd have a fistful of awards by now. But the "mainstream" media bashed him relentlessly as a conspiracy theorist without bothering to match his questions with answers. Where did the bullet go? Why so little blood at the scene? Why no soil samples on his shoes? Why did it take days to find a suicide note ripped to pieces in the bottom of his briefcase? The mysteries are endless, but the media only tarred and feathered Ruddy for his troubles.

In 1995 and 1996, the White House sneakily passed out to reporters their infamous memo titled "The Conspicuous Stream of Conspiracy Commerce" in a blatant effort to ruin Ruddy's reputation, knowing someone would be foolish enough to fall for it. Sure enough, Mike Wallace molded the memo into a hit piece for "60 Minutes." The New York Times Magazine recently used contract writer Philip Weiss to bash Ruddy as a "fanatic," a "Clinton hater," and a "Clinton crazy." (Strangely, Weiss then wrote in support of Ruddy and against the media's Foster coverup in the weekly New York Observer, complaining "No one in the media can think for himself or herself.")

Now Ruddy has put his findings into a book titled "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster," published by the distinguished Free Press. You hadn't heard? That's because the national media isn't about to give this man the time of day. The spike is on. A couple obvious points on the network blackout:

1. This is not a quibble over accuracy, an aversion to lurid allegations, or an act of sensitivity for the dead. If you really care about accuracy or taste, you don't cater to authors like trash-for-cash Kitty Kelley. All three networks rewarded on her Royal Family-bashing, moved up by the publisher to cash in on the heels of Princess Diana's death.

For outrageous, unproven allegations, try ABC's "Turning Point," which earlier this year devoted an entire hour to Dexter King's charge that Lyndon Johnson ordered the assassination of his father, Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Nor is this about a lack of interest in crime stories. The networks just will not tire of breathing the fumes of the O.J. Simpson case. Witness how they jumped all over O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark's book years after her prosecution failed. NBC's "Today" show alone did four interview segments with Clark. A few weeks ago, the networks featured the new book of O.J. girlfriend/centerfold model Paula Barbieri. And the networks still regale us regularly with the latest JonBenet Ramsey dirt. But the mysterious unsolved death of a top White House aide? No takers, thank you very much.

In contrast to the gaudy cash-in books of 15-minute TV celebrities, Ruddy's book puts all his lonely, relentless spadework in one place, with reams of unchallenged evidence to disprove all the official reports that casually concur with the White House story line. Anyone who is honest enough to seek answers to the Foster mysteries ought to buy a copy and read it. One man did, and liked it very much. Former FBI Director William Sessions thinks the book is good enough for the serious reader. Why isn't it good enough for the media elite?