Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Messenger Gets Scolded but Even If Readers like Clinton, He Still Owes Us Answers

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Messenger Gets Scolded but Even If Readers like Clinton, He Still Owes Us Answers

Article excerpt

It's time once again to give my critics an opportunity to express their views: Here, from a woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a particularly articulate example of what I have been hearing from readers of late:

"The press, to my belief, has run amok and seems to care little about world affairs and serious things that affect all of us and our well being. Gossip and sleaze seem to be their main concern. Just watch the press conferences and the president and learn a lesson of disgust with them. And sadly, the press doesn't seem to get the message. For they are the problem, I believe."

Then in response to a column of mine headlined "Scandal Diverts the President" comes this letter from a couple in North Vassalboro, Maine: "It seems clear to us that it is the press that is doing the diverting. The reporters who asked President Clinton so many repetitive and one-track questions do not represent the two of us, we can assure you. We respectfully suggest that you have been lax in failing to fault the press for the circus atmosphere and failing to appreciate that the president every day shows courage in facing this unconscionable and politicized 'investigation.' We urge you to try to restore your reputation for evenhandedness."

And what do I say? Do I fly quickly to the defense of the media and say that the president is the problem - that he's the message, and the press is only the messenger? Yes, that's still my basic feeling.

It is the president's unexplained actions - where he doggedly sticks to a foot-dragging approach instead of cooperating with investigators in a number of probes of his conduct over the years - that has stirred up the suspicions and the questions of the press.

It's clear from my letters that a lot of people think very highly of Mr. Clinton. Typical of this view are the following words in a letter from a man in Wilton, Conn. …

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