Tyrrell: Todd Purdum's Plagiarizing My Latest Clinton Book

Bill Clinton’s attack on former New York Times reporter Todd Purdum for his anonymously-sourced attack piece in the usually liberal-pleasing Vanity Fair magazine was greeted as strange by the liberal media elite. They might have thought Purdum was being attacked like he was writing Clinton-bashing stories for The American Spectator. So maybe it’s not surprising that American Spectator editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell is charging that Purdum is plagiarizing material out of his latest book The Clinton Crackup: The Boy President’s Life After the White House. From his press release:

"Seventeen anecdotes and ideas are clearly lifted from my book, The Clinton Crack-Up," states Mr. Tyrrell. "Mr. Purdum’s article did not make reference to the book once."

Purdum’s article covers Clinton’s "post-White House escapades, from the dubious (and secretive) business associations to the media blowups that have bruised his wife’s campaign, to the private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinged posse." Tyrrell’s book covers Clinton’s life from retirement to the earliest days of his wife’s candidacy.

Other references without citations include:

1. Purdum states in his article under "The Public Pensioner" that unlike Harry Truman, Bill Clinton "might be seen as capitalizing on the presidency." Tyrrell states that unlike Harry Truman, Bill Clinton has "commercialized the presidency." (pg. 5)

2. Purdum states that Bill Clinton fell into depression post White House. In Tyrrell’s book, he cites Terry McAuliffe admitted the "profound funk into which his friend had fallen upon leaving the White House." (pg. 32)

3. Purdum states that Clinton was the most expensive president, citing The Politico. The Clinton Crack-Up has an appendix on this subject and states that "He [Bill Clinton] has become the most costly ex-president ever." All of whose expenses Tyrrell charts. (pg. 39)

4. Purdum’s article speaks of Clinton’s female "friendships" with several well-known women. Tyrrell names many in chapter 4 and adds "during Clinton’s retirement there have been other ladies, though most … have been one night stands" and he describes the venues. (pg. 82 & 83)

5. Purdum states in his article under "A Solitary Man" that "Clinton told her [Monica] that he was worried that a foreign embassy might be listening to their calls." Tyrrell reported this information in his book and cites it from the Starr Report. (pg. 71)

"I wrote this book more than a year ago and have been breaking stories on Bill Clinton for sixteen years."

As a writer, I know my ideas and thoughts can be used by others, but when so many of them are used in one piece some citations should be given," states Tyrrell. "Purdum not only plagiarized, but Vanity Fair must also be held responsible for the dearth of citations in this article. I am particularly troubled that when a conservative journalist reports on a high-profile subject, it is either ignored by the mainstream media or characterized as ‘dirty tricks,’ but when a left-of-center publication shamelessly recycles the same material, it is greeted as blockbuster ‘investigative reporting.’"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis