The News Media: Proof Is For Sissies
Juanita Broaddrick claims Bill Clinton raped her 21 years ago, take THAT you Clinton apologists. What was denied as rumor seven years ago became a daily Internet staple, then a snack for Right-wing editorialists who normally dine on Vince Foster murder conspiracies. Finally, Clinton-is-a-rapist enters the story menu of the Washington Post, Associated press, and NBC News-as in the news organization with the biggest audience in the world.Broaddrick may be telling the truth; if so, it's chilling. But what is also dismaying is the idea that 21-year old allegations of a hideous nature can reach the apex of the news/entertainment media complex without a shred of evidence, corroborating witnesses, medical reports, or even a Dear Diary entry. The only "proof" comes from the one "witness" who has sworn in an affidavit that the events in question never happened."When did you stop beating your wife?" a question that was previously considered tough, and a little unfair for politicians, has now been replaced with "Can you prove you didn't once slap your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend three decades ago?" Try stammering your way out of that one.Bill Clinton may well be guilty of raping women, murdering Vince Foster, running drug cartels, fathering albino lesbians and numerous other charges put forth by his enemies, but politicians from all parties should be dismayed by the new media ethic that is Clinton's legacy:"All nasty rumors about a politician's private life will henceforth be given a full sympathetic airing in the media. No matter how many decades have transpired." Seemingly, the only exception to this rule, is if the accuser can be shown to have not been born yet or have been in prison when the alleged incident was said to have occurred.Hence, we have an environment where an elementary school classmate of Al Gore's could stand up in January 2000, right before the New Hampshire primary and make the following pronouncement:"In the late 1950s, while attending St. Albans, I was sexually assaulted after second grade physical education class by a seven-year-old Al Gore. While in the boy's locker room and showering together, young Mr. Gore grabbed my penis and yanked. While I never told anyone of this incident, it scarred me for life, blah, blah, blah."This guy wouldn't need any audio or videotapes to back up his story, a la Jennifer Flowers. If he could prove he attended the same school as Gore, at roughly the same time, his story would go from Drudge to the Wall Street Journal to Limbaugh to The Washington Post and to CBS News faster than you can say "Former Presidential Candidate Al Gore."Perhaps the public wouldn't turn against Gore as he sputtered 'there was no controlling locker room authority" in the second grade, but what is to stop Richard Mellon Scaife from bankrolling two dozen dirty tricksters to stir up trouble. They could follow Gore at every campaign stop holding signs that read "A vote for Gore is a vote for a Homosexual child molester."Republicans won't be immune. Democratic National Committee operatives can interview every woman who ever went on a date with George W. Bush in the late 1960s. If they can find one who is broke, perhaps a $100,000 "consulting fee" would entice her to commit the following libel:"I dated George W. Bush for three weeks in 1969. I terminated the relationship because I was offended that he would only have sex with me if I agreed to dress up as J. Edgar Hoover while he got dolled up as Ethel Merman. And, oh ya, we always got high first."Voters might be forgiving or even amused if this "story" aired on "60 Minutes" next year, but can anyone doubt the Christian Coalition would quickly put the kibosh on Bush's campaign?Will the new media ethic of no ethics move our government left or right? Unknown, but it will ensure that the only candidates for higher office will be individuals who are shameless and have contempt for the privacy and dignity of all their family members.TJ Walker is a Web publisher (www.tjwalker.com) and a television commentator seen frequently on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Court TV and the Regional News Network. Walker is also a speaker and conducts media workshops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-735-6292, or fax at 630-604-5965.