COLUMN THIRTY-NINE, NOVEMBER 1, 1998
(Copyright © 1998 Al Aronowitz)
A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
October 16, 1998
President William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As a journalist, I have always prided myself in my devotion to truth and accuracy. When I was a young newspaper reporter, I used to carry around a heavy Webcor so I could insure fidelity by tape recording my interviews. As far as I know, I was one of the first reporters in New York to do so.
I believe that misinformation, like lies and secrets, is the tool of tyranny. I believe that knowledge, like air and sunlight, belongs to everyone. Truth is our only salvation. All else are manifestations of the Devil. And so it is with sadness that I must tell you that the email entitled, "WE THE PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY SPOKEN," a copy of which I sent you with my letter of October 6, contained misinformation.
The Internet is plagued by untrustworthy people who are so enchanted by the Devil within them that they find pleasure in spreading hoaxes and lies to the public. Just as the Internet is the Information Superhighway, it is for those agents of the Devil within them the Misinformation Superhighway---a perfect medium for put-on artists and hoax-players. Even so noteworthy a journalist as Pierre Salinger can get taken in. Possibly Darrell Hampton, author of the WE THE PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY SPOKEN email, also got taken in when he quoted Kenneth Starr as telling Diane Sawyer on SIXTY MINUTES:
"Public media should not contain explicit or implied descriptions of sex acts. Our society should be purged of the perverts who provide the media with pornographic material while pretending it has some redeeming social value under the public's 'right to know.' Pornography is pornography, regardless of the source,"
They certainly are words that one would expect to hear from America's No. 1 prurience
Why I couldn't
Darrell Hampton's rally
hound and Grand Inquisitor. But as I later learned from Ed Linn, a one-tine colleague at the Saturday Evening Post (after having forwarded the aforementioned email, "WE THE PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY SPOKEN," to my entire mailing list), Kenneth Starr was never interviewed by Diane Sawyer on SIXTY MINUTES. Immediately, Darrell Hampton, whom I had considered a brother-in-arms, lost credibility with me just as I lost credibility with all those to whom I had forwarded the email.
History will judge that Kenneth Starr has damned himself enough with his own words for anyone to need to make up more words for him. Was Darrell Hampton the author of those words or had he let himself be hoaxed just as I let myself be hoaxed. Yes, I certainly never would have put it past Kenneth Starr to say what he was quoted as saying.
Certainly, Mr. Hampton couldn't have thought that this misinformation would enhance attendance in the same way that Abbie Hoffman once started a rumor that the Beatles would attend a hippie rally at the Washington Monument. When I exposed this rumor as a lie in the New York Post, Abbie Hoffman joked the next time I saw him: "I oughtta slit your throat!" It didn't sound like a joke at the time.
Anyway, I would've liked to go all out in support of the rally in support of you that Darrell Hampton is planning at the Ellipse on October 24. Mr. Hampton says he expects 20,000. I would've preferred to enlist some entertainment stars to turn it into a crowd of 2 million.
Not that you're a saint. I don't know of any man who is. Some're close, maybe. Most men I know are either philanderers or sanctimonious hypocrites. When it comes to politicians, sanctimonious hypocrisy has always been a prerequisite. History tells us that to be a politician, you have to be a sanctimonious hypocrite, a scumbag, a crook, a liar, a consummate actor and a charlatan. Many politicians aren't good enough actors to hide their charlatanism, true, but America has become a place where money can buy anything. Greed is another alias for the Devil.
When you wagged your finger at the nation about "that woman," the country knew you were lying, but there were some dumb poor souls who hoped you weren't. Otherwise, I think you are a better actor than Ronald Reagan. And certainly more beneficent. He lied his head off about the Iran-Contra scandal and about his secret wars in favor of the Central American dictators and against the impoverished peasants, but America forgave his lies because he came over as such a nice guy. You also come over as a nice guy and most of America would like to forgive your lies, too.
You never should have needed to wag your finger in the first place. Every President should be expected to have a private life and it is obvious that Kenneth Starr has set himself up as a fourth branch of government and has attacked the majesty of the Presidency by illegally invading the President's private life and by taking steps to otherwise diminish that supreme office. I accuse Kenneth Starr of conspiring with Paula Jones, the Rutherford Foundation and its lawyers, Lucianne Goldberg and Linda Tripp in a plot to invade the President's private life and thereby entrap him into possible charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
To begin with, Kenneth Starr's investigation of the President's private life was begun on what probable cause? Linda Tripp's recordings of her conversations with Monica Lewinsky. Under Maryland law, Linda Tripp obtained those tapes illegally. Therefore, the probable cause for Kenneth Starr's investigation is based on tainted evidence. Throw the case out of court! And in the Paula Jones suit, Monica Lewinsky never would have been subpoenaed if not for the same tainted evidence, Linda Tripp's unlawful tapes. What this all adds up to is that Kenneth Starr is the spearhead of a plot to assault and subvert the Constitution. Isn't that high treason?
In other words, Mr., President, you have been set up as a bulwark against the creeping neo-fascism of the Christian Far Right, which has gained control of the Republican Party, now acting in lockstep against you in vengeance for the high crimes of Richard Nixon. As if Zippergate were even in the same league with Watergate.
As for me, I'm pretty much an anarchist. All governments turn into dictatorships of the bureaucracy. We are ruled by a bunch of J. Edgar Hoovers. You've had one on your tail for more than four years, haven't you? If they could do it to the President, they could do it to anybody, right?
Anyhow, I would have liked to contribute my time and energy to Mr. Hampton's rally for you, but falling for the hoax took the wind out of my sails. I hope the rally is a success. And I hope that you will see fit to go out and tell the people that a vote for a Republican congressional candidate is a vote for the creeping neo-fascism of the Christian Far Right.
Al Aronowitz ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN THIRTY-NINE
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ