Other view: On the irony of Monicagate
Ten years ago, a relatively unknown Web site called the Drudge Report posted an item alleging that Newsweek had spiked a report revealing that President Bill Clinton had carried out a sexual affair with a White House intern. The next day, the wor...
Ten years ago, a relatively unknown Web site called the Drudge Report posted an item alleging that Newsweek had spiked a report revealing that President Bill Clinton had carried out a sexual affair with a White House intern. The next day, the world learned her name: Monica Lewinsky.
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton infamously barked at a news conference. But of course he had, and the president's lying about it under oath resulted in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The Senate failed to convict him, and he served out the rest of his term.
Clinton is back on top of the world. Many voters remember his years in office as a time of peace and prosperity, his moral misdemeanors diminished by the passage of time and the tumult of the past 10 years.
And Hillary Clinton, whom some faulted at the time for staying with her cheating husband, is now a leading candidate for the presidency. If she wins, the white-haired, silver-tongued rogue would return to the White House as -- wait for it -- first gentleman. Ironic, that.
Though l'affaire Lewinsky is becoming a tawdry footnote in American politics, it lingers today as part of Mrs. Clinton's burden. Should she capture the Democratic nomination, she will carry with her all the baggage from her husband's era.
One thing absolutely and irrevocably changed Jan. 17, 1998: The power of the Internet to set the media's agenda. Drudge was a convenience store clerk with a modem, a tabloid curiosity and a whole lot of nerve. Today, his site receives up to 20 million hits a day, and he is arguably one of the most influential journalists in the world.
Since that day a decade ago, all of us have been living in the Era of Drudge -- a man who made his name exposing the personal vice of others, but guards his privacy intensely.
Again, history abounds in irony.