After winning a record 10 Emmy Awards for American Crime Story's first-season storyline based on the book The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, the producers are planning to base an upcoming season of the series on another book written by the major Democratic donor and legal analyst for the Cable News Network: A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.
The book centers on intern Monica Lewinsky's affair with Democratic President Bill Clinton while she was a White House intern from 1995 on. Clinton was ultimately impeached on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstruction of justice.
While reporting the news about the series that airs on the FX cable television channel, Lindsey Ellefson of the Mediaite.com website stated that producer Ryan Murphy is “setting out to tell the story of the biggest political drama of our time.”
“Murphy is really, really good at mixing elements of drama, scandal and social class together to tell complex stories, which he’s done in all of his ventures from Glee to The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” Ellefson noted before asserting that “maybe the producers are planning to just stick with the formula that works!”
“American Crime Story is already in production for two seasons,” she stated. “The first, Katrina, is about the devastating hurricane that hit New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005. It will air in 2018, closely followed by Versace, which will focus on the 1997 murder of [fashion designer] Gianni Versace.”
However, NewsBusters reported on January 11, 2000, in a post entitled “Jeffrey Toobin Vs. The Right-Wing Cabal,” “ABC's ongoing tilt to the left” continued when Toobin – whose “liberal slant is no surprise”-- published his book on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.
Tim Graham, who currently serves as the executive editor of NewsBusters and the Media Research Center’s director of media analysis, noted at the time that Toobin “is the child of two network news veterans, the late producer Jerry Toobin and anchorwoman Marlene Sanders.”
“In his 1991 book Opening Arguments,” Graham stated, “about his service as a lawyer for Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, Toobin fondly remembered Watergate.”
The Democratic lawyer and CNN political analyst also noted:
The aftermath of this bungled burglary attempt constituted the dominant political event of my childhood. I developed the disdain for Richard Nixon that was all but obligatory on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
I recall my first taste of champagne on the night he resigned, August 9, 1974, but the stories that captured my attention were of the young lawyers working for Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who seemed, through the prism of television, like they were changing the world.
“When he landed a job with Walsh's office, Toobin recalled playing an Elvis Costello song, a raucous tune about the fall of a decrepit empire,” Graham stated. “'Sure, I thought, we would prosecute some crimes and put some people away. But that would only be the start.'”
“The Walsh office would take on [Ronald] Reagan and all the president's men, with their contempt for the Constitution, disdain for the Congress and hostility to the truth,” Toobin remarked.
“We had nothing less than a blank check to uncover and rectify the misdeeds of a corrupt and dishonorable administration,” he noted. “We wouldn't stop until we reached the top."
Toobin relished his role attempting to bring down the Reagan White House: "I spent most of my frantic first weeks in office trying to pretend I was having less fun than I was. Fencing with Ed Meese's minions? Playing chicken with the White House? Battling Ollie North? I was having the time of my life."
“Toobin's still crusading in what today's New York Times review called a 'highly partisan' and 'willfully subjective' book,” Graham continued. “It noted Toobin presents the president as a victim of 'extremists of the political right who tried to use the legal system to undo elections -- in particular the two that put Bill Clinton in the White House.'”
The review added: "Toobin spends the better part of this book railing against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally consumed with hatred for him. … They were willing to trample all standards of fairness -- not to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him from office.'”
"'Highly partisan' is an apt description of Toobin, who changes his views of who's 'manipulating' the legal system based on who's in charge,” Graham noted.
Now that Toobin got his foot in the door with the televised version of his book on O.J. Simpson, it may take a few years, but we'll eventually see how much of his “highly partisan” book gets carried over to the small screen.