HOW COULD BRILLIANT HILLARY BE SO DUMB?
by L. Brent Bozell III
August 26, 1998
Amateur psychoanalysis of public figures is one of the most
annoying excesses of modern journalism. Media bigwigs would no doubt claim
that the heinous beast, the Twenty-Four Hour News Cycle, requires eschewing
the hard facts in favor of putting the news in "perspective." But in
a commercial environment where news producers assume tedious concepts like
executive privilege or articles of impeachment spell death by remote control,
it is simply easier - and more fun - to carry forward the trite human-interest
angles of the story.
Hence the ongoing media love letters to Hillary Rodham
Clinton we are witnessing - at the expense of the truth. With the President's
counterfeit confession, the media finally have assumed (at least temporarily)
a skepticism toward the President's words. But in a burst of supportive
psychoanalysis, anything the White House claimed was Hillary's fuzzy degree of
knowledge concerning this scandal was presented as the gospel truth. We are
asked to believe this woman, so brilliant, so focused, so knowledgeable - so
disgraced by a husband implicated in so many extramarital affairs, including
the overwhelming evidence of a sordid affair with Monica Lewinsky - learned
the truth only days before his failed August 17 speech.
It stretches the bounds of logic past the breaking point.
But a number of journalists lined up with the sliver of self-deluders (11
percent of the public according to a Newsweek poll) who bought the White
House line. On the talk show "Inside Washington," Newsweek's own
Evan Thomas claimed "I couldn't believe it when I first read that she
didn't hear about it till Thursday. It seemed improbable to me because she's
so smart and because she's been here before. But I am beginning to believe it
now. I mean, our reporting indicates that she, it sounds implausible, but
marriages are complicated things and she may have just willfully decided she
didn't need to hear it straight from Clinton and Clinton may have held out to
the last minute before telling her."
It's precisely the years and years of journalistic tributes to Hillary's
dazzling brilliance and tough-as-nails scandal-battling demeanor that make
this spin so unbelievable. On August 14, the Friday before Clinton testified
NBC's Andrea Mitchell tossed bouquets to the First Lady:
"Politician, strategist, lawyer, protector - in a marriage that friends
say is based on brutal honesty and unconditional love." Mitchell
asserted: "Close friends say she knew everything from Day One and still
went on NBC in January to deny all." But instead of disparaging a lying
First Lady, Mitchell worried: "So how does she cope? What other wife
would tolerate so much embarrassment? Two clues to Hillary Clinton's
character: friends say she is deeply religious and incredibly angry, blaming
Ken Starr, not her husband." (Is it a "deeply religious"
activity to lie to millions of Americans?)
As Clinton's testimony ended on August 17, CBS's Bill Plante argued:
"Friends of Mrs. Clinton say that she probably didn't know back then
whether Lewinsky's story was true. Now, however, sources say the First Lady is
aware her husband is changing his story." Flick channels, and Mitchell
was revising her account: "Friends say the Clintons had a difficult,
frosty, private talk over the weekend when she learned the real details of his
relationship with Monica Lewinsky...Friends say she's known all along
something happened, but no details, so chose to believe her husband's early
denials." So much for the marriage based on "brutal honesty and
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw promoted the notion of a clueless
Hillary the night after the speech. He began the newscast by asking "how
does the President repair his relationship with his wife and daughter after
lying to them for so long?" That question was acceptable in January.
Asking it in August gives credence to the myth of ignorance.
Why should we - how can we - believe all these reports on
the Clinton marriage, presented solely by anonymous sources and devoid of
anything resembling factual evidence? If the private details of this train
wreck of a marriage is none of our business, then why do the media and the
White House keep exploiting it to gain sympathy points?
On January 27, Hillary Clinton went on national television,
denied her husband's guilt, and defamed conservatives everywhere with her
shrill and ugly charge of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Today we
are being asked by these media elitists to believe that those statements were
not the cool, calculated words of a seasoned political strategist, but the
expressions of a loyal-but-ignorant spouse. On both counts she was wrong: she
was either seconding a lie knowingly or forwarding a falsehood of her own
Where are the apologies? Where is even the suggestion she
needs to apologize?
Voice Your Opinion!
Write to Brent Bozell
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe