Magazine article Insight on the News

Media Keeps Clinton's Teflon Shield Intact

Magazine article Insight on the News

Media Keeps Clinton's Teflon Shield Intact

Article excerpt

Memo To: The President From: A Pal Subject: Why Paula Jones Isn't a PR Problem

Maybe you've already heard this from Bruce Lindsey, but I thought I'd drop you this note to help you relax a bit.

It may not look good for you right now, with all the networks leading their broadcasts with the Paula Jones Supreme Court decision. Most of the media bigwigs have put on their strategist's hats again, suggesting that a quick settlement or a speedy trial is the only way out of your Paula public-relations problem. But why listen to them? They also said you were toast over Gennifer Flowers -- but they dropped the story and it went away. They're a lot like your average trooper-arranged date: Their talk-show bluster may say no, but their minimal coverage says yes. Yes, they can be had.

You can continue to drag this one out because the press will let you do it. When Paula announced her intention to sue in February 1994, their coverage was close to zero. I know, I know, this goes entirely against the grain of journalism today. When a delusional gay man charged the late Cardinal Bernardin with sexual advances, offering no evidence, it made no difference. The media ate it up. And look what they're doing to Marv Albert! But you're in a different league.

When Paula actually filed suit, the networks gave the story less than one-fourth the coverage Anita Hill got in the first five days of her bimbo eruption against Clarence Thomas. The networks did no sympathetic features on sexual harassment from superiors, no pieces on Washington reaction to the lawsuit, no biographies of Jones. Instead, the talk-show gang echoed Carville's trailer-trash attacks. Newsweek called her a "dogpatch Madonna." that's media to your liking.

Bob Packwood only could dream of the media coverage you've been given. Finding a pattern of harassment was their journalistic mission in his case. Finding any ungentlemanly pattern in your life, on the other hand, is degrading and hurts the country. You laugh, but it's true! Remember when CBS aired a promo in June 1995 with an announcer suggesting: "If Senator Bob Packwood really did what all those women say he did, it probably would have cost him his job long ago in corporate America. So why not in Washington? …

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