Friday’s Washington Post unleashed a weird attack against Kenneth Starr after all these years. The front-page headline was “Surprise support for Lewinsky’s complaint: Report on 1998 interview says prosecutors mistreated intern during Clinton inquiry.”
Why would the Post dig up a 2000 report by Ken Starr's successor as independent counsel? At the end of Rosalind Helderman’s story, she said “The Post sought the report after being contacted by Jim Lichtman, a writer and lecturer on ethics...” Who? Jim Lichtman also wrote an E-book attacking Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter titled “Shameless: The Ethical Case Against Three Out-of-Control Critics and the Need for Civility Now, More than Ever.”
Kirkus Reviews affirmatively summarized it:
Lichtman’s study reveals evidence that followers of Limbaugh, Coulter and Beck can’t always separate fact from fiction, a fairly serious issue given that these speakers influence literally millions of people who are “relying on exaggeration, innuendo and outright lies.” The author even goes so far as to point out the PolitiFact ratings of statements made by each of the three, which is basically an exercise in futility, as Limbaugh, Coulter nor Beck has ever claimed to have ethical intentions....The overall theme is similar to those that came before: The unholy trinity of Coulter, Limbaugh and Beck is little more than egotistical, self-serving fear mongers who serve no purpose other than to further their own agendas and line their own pockets.
This only underlines what we know about The Washington Post: it acquires front-page stories from liberal activists and then just claims they are “ethics lecturers.”
If the Post were so sensitive to the mistreatment of Monica Lewinsky after all these years, why no story on how the Clintons treated her in 1998? In February, the Washington Free Beacon uncovered Hillary best friend Diane Blair’s papers recalling that Hillary called Lewinsky a “narcissistic Loony Toon.” This quote was repeated on network-news programs, but on the front page of the Post? No. In the news section of the Post? No. It appeared twice on the editorial pages, in columns by Kathleen Parker and Ruth Marcus.
They ignored this exchange in Diane Sawyer’s book interview with Hillary in June:
DIANE SAWYER: Did you call her a “narcissistic loony toon”?
HILLARY CLINTON: I am not going to comment on what I did or did not say back in the late '90s.
Here’s the thesis of the Helderman story:
Lewinsky, now 41, has long felt that she was mistreated by authorities in the 12-hour marathon session, which began as an ambush at the food court at the Pentagon City mall and then moved to a hotel room at the mall’s adjoining Ritz-Carlton hotel.
As it turns out, so did government lawyers who conducted a comprehensive review of the incident in 2000, two years after the encounter. Their findings are contained in a report — recently obtained by The Washington Post — that key players had long believed was under court-ordered seal.
Starr’s team did use strong-arm tactics – but it’s also true Lewinsky had lied under oath about a sexual relationship with the president of the United States. The agreement-with-Lewinsky line blurs near the story’s end, when it becomes clear Ray wasn’t really impressed:
The report finds that the ethics of the situation were somewhat murky: The guidelines required that contact with Lewinsky be limited only if prosecutors knew she had hired a lawyer to deal with the same subject matter as their investigation. They argued that she had hired Carter to help her deal with Jones’s civil suit, not a criminal investigation into Clinton’s actions.
Although the two cases became intertwined, the report concludes that nothing in the Justice Department’s guidelines provided a “clear and unambiguous” answer to whether the matters were so similar as to make it unethical for the prosecutors to approach Lewinsky without Carter present.
Nevertheless, the report says the Office of Independent Counsel lawyers, notably Michael Emmick, the lead prosecutor on the scene, “failed to appreciate the closeness of the call as to whether Lewinsky was represented.”
Helderman quotes heavily from liberal author Ken Gormley, author of a thick volume on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal as well as a book calling liberal Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox the “conscience of the nation.” (No tilt there?)
Gormley said that the report is one of the few key documents from the Lewinsky episode that had not been made public and that it is “an important piece of history” that “finally vindicates that [Lewinsky’s] version of events checks out.”
“One person people seem to forget a lot about during this crisis for our country was Monica Lewinsky,” said Gormley, who extensively interviewed Lewinsky, Starr, Bill Clinton and other key players for his book. “She was just this foil in the clash between Clinton and Starr... I have observed that as more information has gotten into the public domain, that people grow more sympathetic with her position, which was unwinnable.”
Lewinsky was not merely a “foil.” She was a fool, bumbling into a long affair with a sitting president with no apparent idea that it could all ruin her reputation. If one wants to build sympathy for Lewinsky at this point, it looks quite biased to only question Starr's treatment of her, and not Bill and Hillary's.