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Starr chamber

15 Sept. 1998

Some questions our news media might consider chasing:

Is Kenneth Starr pursuing a vendetta against Bill Clinton? Or does he simply not understand the difference between abuse of public power and private sexual indiscretions?

Has the institution of the special prosecutor suffered from a bad appointment? Or is it an institution that deserves to be swept out with the spilled dog food?

Do most editors of the nation's news media simply lack the spine to say, "This isn't a story"? Or do they genuinely lack a sense of perspective -- do they mistake tales of celebrity sex for significant news?

And what about apologies?

Mr. Starr, are you ready to tell Monica Lewinsky and her mother that you're sorry for abusing them? Will you beg the nation's pardon for distorting the political landscape?

Editors? Will you tell your readers, your listeners, your viewers that you screwed up? Sit down in your conference rooms with Monica Lewinsky and say: "There was nothing in this story that warranted making a spectacle of the details of your private affairs for the amusement of a gawking public. We were wrong." How about it?

Footnote: One point of light in this media-fueled mess has been Salon Magazine, which invested its energies in examining the shaky foundations of Starr's Whitewater case -- a case that's amazingly absent from the document Starr sent to Congress.

Know of other bright spots? Point me in their direction.

Update 25 Sept. 1998 -- There's a petition on the Web calling for Congress to censure Clinton and move on. I can't work up much enthusiasm for the censure part of it, but I'm all for moving on. Take a look: http://www.moveon.org.

Copyright © 1998 John Spragens


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