2/21/2005

I guess it's just wrong when Clinton does it.

Atrios reminds us of this charming story in 1996 by Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post:
The timing was devastating: the day of President Clinton's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention.
The delivery route was familiar: from the Star supermarket tabloid to the front page of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, the same scandalous path that launched the Gennifer Flowers saga into the mainstream media 4 1/2 years ago.
Yesterday's bombshell about presidential adviser Dick Morris's alleged relationship with a $ 200-an-hour prostitute, who dished her dirt in graphic detail to the Star, did more than force the resignation of Clinton's longtime political guru. It exploded into the headlines, leading the news last night on CBS, NBC and ABC just as the president was about to bask in the televised limelight of accepting his party's renomination.
The Star, whose "White House Call Girl Scandal" edition officially hits the streets Monday, would not disclose how much it paid the prostitute, Sherry Rowlands, for the story, but Star reporter Richard Gooding told ABC's "Nightline" last night it was less than $50,000.
Dick Belsky, the Star's news editor, said yesterday: "We ran the story the minute we had it. The timing is purely coincidental." He said the tabloid gave an advance copy to the New York Post, where he and several other top executives once worked, because it was certain to leak out as copies of the Star were mailed out this week.
The story went beyond sex, with Rowlands alleging that Morris let her eavesdrop on phone calls with Clinton, told her administration secrets and showed her drafts of convention speeches by Vice President Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Atrios comments:
Missing, of course, is the handwringing about private lives, concern about whether "tabloids are going too far," etc...despite the fact that someone cavorting with a hooker has a somewhat understandable naive expectation of privacy, while someone soliciting for johns on the internet, complete with pictures, doesn't...
...let me just add that at the time this was considered to be a completely acceptable and normal story. Reporters were camped outside the Morris house.
And, of course, the Gannon story isn't really a "sex scandal," but amazing how things have changed nonetheless.

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