Accuracy in Media

We can’t remember when liberal columnist Mary McGrory ever complained about too much sex, violence or profanity in the media. But one of her recent columns was carried under the headline, “Enough of [Ken] Starr’s Smut.” She urged House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde to tell independent counsel Ken Starr “to cut it out, to stop flooding this capital with pornography.” She was referring, of course, to all the salacious material in his report to Congress on Clinton’s possible impeachment.

The truth is that Starr provided that material to Congress, and it was up to Congress to decide what to do with it. Congress decided to release it publicly and put it on the Internet. So if anyone should be held accountable for releasing the material, it is Congress, not Starr.

We are not comfortable with the release of this material, but Mary McGrory’s emergence as a monitor of the nation’s morality also makes us squirm. It’s our guess that what bothers McGrory and other liberals is not the behavior so much as the fact that President Clinton has been caught engaging in it. She claims that she is appalled by his conduct, but she also complains that Clinton’s right to privacy has been violated. She cannot have it both ways.

There are many other hypocrites on this issue, especially those liberals on the Judiciary Committee who opposed releasing the material. The truth is that the Starr report was essentially a legal and political document that targeted President Clinton. If these liberals are so concerned about public morality, why don’t they express some concern about the new Broadway play, “Corpus Christi,” depicting Christ as a homosexual? Or what about the smut that is piped into our living rooms every night. The New York Times, in a story by Jill Abramson, ignored all of this, preferring to go after what she perceived as conservative Republican hypocrites. She noted that Congressman Christopher Cox had urged the release of the Starr report but had voted three years ago to ban indecent material from the Internet.

If that makes Cox a hypocrite, then what should we say about Geraldo Rivera, who is now doing a talk show on CNBC? He has done countless shows on the Lewinsky matter, while complaining that the president’s private life has been publicly exposed. He even cited a White House source in trying to smear a Congressman, Paul McHale, who had called for Clinton to resign. Rivera is the self-described founder of trash television. A cartoon once portrayed him on his knees praying: “Thank you, God, for all the tragedy, wretchedness and perversion in the world.”

Observing this spectacle from abroad, Christopher Goodwin of the London Sunday Times notes that Rivera has been married four times and has admitted to scores of extramarital affairs. Rivera told Playboy magazine that he regarded Barbara Walters as a “sexy babe” and Christiane Amanpour of CNN as “my type” of woman. He recently signed a six-year contract worth $36 million with NBC, and Goodwin says he’s positioning himself to replace Tom Brokaw as the anchorman of the NBC Nightly News. Now that is a frightening thought.




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