Jewish World Review March 5, 2002 / 21 Adar, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- HERE'S an item from the February 23 Washington Post you likely missed: "[W]ith the troubled Mr. --- comes too much commotion, tawdriness and public disorder. His inside- and outside-the-[office] records speak for themselves: … rape …; suspension and fine … biting…. Say this for Mr. ---: He stays busy. But does the nation's capital need this? No."
Now, whom do you think the Post is dismissing from public life for moral turpitude and professional disgrace? Why, boxer Mike Tyson, of course. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Tyson's behavior disqualifies him from plying his trade in chaste DC. Per the Post, city government has proceeded with "unseemly haste" to bring this "troubled" individual to town. Allowing him to do business here would be a "great public harm."
My, how times change. Only three years ago, the Washington Post was busier than a window washer under a flock of pigeons arguing that immorality and misbehavior should not and cannot be grounds for throwing someone out of a job-even when it's the biggest job in the world. Why not skip back to the first paragraph and pop Bill Clinton's name in the blank where Tyson's goes? It's a perfect fit.
The Post says Mr. Tyson's participation in a one-hour boxing match brings "tawdriness and commotion" to Washington. Yet in 1998 and 1999, when "tawdriness and commotion" was the one and only topic of conversation across the entire country, the newspaper of political record daily defended the author of that mess, impugned the motives of his opponents, and effectively prostituted their otherwise thoughtful editorial pages with transparent dissembling for a thoroughly corrupt President.
December 22, 1998: "The question of whether a lame-duck House of Representatives can impeach a president and demand a trial from a subsequent Senate is not trivial." In fact, the question is less than trivial, unless a President's lawyer is spending taxpayer dollars to argue such nonsense-and unless the fifth largest newspaper in America plays along. With the threat of an impeachment trial, the Post regularly lobbed such junk at the wall in the hope that something would eventually stick.
December 18, 1998: "The House Republicans seem about to impeach the president for an offense for which the Judiciary Committee was told a private citizen quite likely would not be prosecuted." Wrong again-call your own lawyer and ask. And note the Post's silly source: an unidentified somebody who "told" something to the Judiciary Committee. One can get up in front of a congressional committee and claim to be a monkey who lives in the zoo, but it hardly makes the claim true.
According to the Post, a President who lies under oath and obstructs justice doesn't even deserve to be indicted for it-and anyone who says otherwise is a menace. December 2, 1998: "The House Judiciary Committee… has spun out of control" considering the question and, by December 13, had "failed miserably." The matter of Clinton's lying and obstruction hadn't even reached a Senate trial, yet the Post dismissed the need to even bring formal charges against him-this in the face of "months of lying, under oath and otherwise" (Dec 6, 1998).
When what they wrote didn't matter anymore-that is, when the danger to Clinton was past-the Post was then free to revert to its Worried For The Republic mode over the example. But they would never admit their own part in it, of course: "[O]ne is left with the hollow feeling that a precedent has been established that will stand in the future as a comfort to perjurers and others…." (Feb 13, 1999). What convenient timing for President Clinton that the scales fell just then from the eyes of Post editorial writers.
Today, the paper diligently protects a city of 500,000 from an hour of Mike Tyson in boxing gloves-but three years ago they wouldn't stand up for a nation of 280 million by calling for the removal of a lout as leader of the free world. Perhaps Mr. Tyson would have fared better with the Post had he said something nice about campaign finance reform.
In "Animal Farm," his 1946 dissection of Leftist hypocrisy, George Orwell's Napoleon the pig said, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." How well that sums up the Post's attitude; this example is another small, self-inflicted injury to the liberal media's vaunted intellectual consistency. In the words of one of the principals of this story, the editors on 15th Street had "better put some ice on
JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.
02/22/02: And Then What?: Fear and Loathing Around the Corner