Time to Oppose the Amoral Majority
by L. Brent Bozell III
September 24, 1998
Thanks to the almost hourly network tracking
polls, we know that even as the public grows more assured every day that the
President has committed perjury in a civil suit and before a grand jury, large
majorities continue to affirm his performance as President. Anyone who tells a
pollster he agrees with both notions - that Bill Clinton is a liar, a cheat,
and a perjurer and is doing a great job - is either amoral or a
While elected officials of both parties try to
regain bipartisan composure after the Clinton videotape release, the rest of
us should bluntly dissent from the amoral majority and demand: please
stop with all this Clintonian baloney about "rushing to
pre-judgment." We've lived through eight months of ridiculous lying on
this matter, and the release of more evidence sets the President's multiple
perjuries in concrete. This is not the time to go soft on crime. Unless, of
course, you're part of the 89-percent pro-Clinton press, in which case it's
full steam ahead with equivocations.
Exhibit A: The other night, Ted Koppel
concluded a one-hour "Nightline" special on the Clinton video with
this self-flagellating sermon: "If these last few days are to be any
guide, a Congressional committee all too eager to surrender its own
responsibilities to the court of public opinion, which will render its
judgment after dining on the raw meat of unprocessed allegations. And
finally, of course, those of us in the media, who now have the means and the
inclination to get it all out at the speed of light, even though none of us
has yet learned to think that fast."
That spurs three observations. First, the
central facts of the Lewinsky scandal - that the President had sex with an
intern in the Oval Office and lied under oath about it - are hardly
"unprocessed allegations." They are, instead, perhaps the most
processed, regurgitated, relentlessly documented allegations in the annals of
modern scandal. And Bill Clinton has admitted they're true, too.
Second, if the members of the House Judiciary
Committee have recklessly surrendered responsibility to public opinion, then
why are the media encouraging this with hour-by-hour temperature-taking?
Third, what arrogance is it that Mr. Koppel
insists that the transmission of the independent counsel's evidence directly
to the people is a travesty. Reporters would rather see all information
approved through them first, where their filter and their perspective will be
awarded to the masses. How so?
Exhibit B: After CBS concluded their live telecast of the videotape, sudden
Luddite Dan Rather insisted that Bill Clinton is a victim of newfangled
technology: "This has been a historic day. History offers little guide in
such a moment as this. Presidents have been in awkward spots before, but only
recently could technology make witnesses of the entire nation, indeed, the
entire world. And even when technology advanced in capability, it has usually
retreated before any scenes so personal, so potentially embarrassing, and
indeed, dangerous to the nation as this one."
Rather added that if Warren Harding or FDR had
adulterous affairs, "no satellite beamed his words across the country,
around the world, and literally beyond the stars. Even Richard Nixon's
criminal coverups of a
widespread criminal conspiracy were recorded only on audiotape. We have come a
long way. Technology has given us power and speed, but now we must provide our
own wisdom and judgment." The first sign of Rather's lack of judgment is
his deploring one "criminal coverup" while bemoaning the exposure of
How very odd. Rather is part of the chorus
which has (correctly) noted the President's mastery of television - yet now
all of a sudden Clinton is a victim of television's technology? How may times
have we heard journalists maintain their innocence by admonishing that the
message, not the messenger, is to blame? Yet with Clinton it's now the
opposite. Clearly, any candidate offering himself for President today knows
the intrusive requirements of today's media. Clinton has long known and
exploited them, but in this case he blatantly embarrassed himself with his own
conduct, and no satellite transmission can add much to that.
Exhibit C: On "NBC Nightly News"
hours after Rather, Tom Brokaw editorialized: "The difficult days
ahead would be well served by two elements missing up to this point: a viable
political center to serve as a common ground for the extremes and a little
discretion to serve as a substitute for the feeding frenzy in a debate of this
magnitude." Mr. Brokaw, if it's "extreme" to oppose the
"solution" of the "center" - a quick, sleazy pardon
for a felonious President - I'll take that label any day over wallowing in a
"common ground" with no principle except loving Bill Clinton until
the bitter end.
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