How Will Media Report Tenth Anniversary of Clinton Impeachment?
Ten years ago, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President William Jefferson Clinton.
Ten years later, how will the very media that helped sway public opinion in order to prevent a guilty verdict in the Senate report this anniversary?
As a preview of what we should expect, here's how CNN's Frank Sesno recounted the tawdry details during Thursday's "American Morning" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States is impeached for high crimes and Misdemeanors.
FRANK SESNO, CNN (voice-over): It was 10 years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perjuries, misleading and untruthful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, this is wrong, wrong, wrong.
SESNO: The impeachment of a president. It had been tawdry and tortured, this becoming this.
W. CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman -- Miss Lewinsky.
SESNO: But it was really about truth and consequences.
W. CLINTON: I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false.
SESNO: But they weren't.
Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern and the president had what was politely called inappropriate contact. He got into trouble for what he told investigators.
W. CLINTON: It depends upon what the meaning of the word is is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The evidence suggests that the president repeatedly used the machinery of government and the powers of his high office to conceal his relationship.
SESNO: The scandal divided the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nation of laws cannot be ruled by a person who breaks the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When this will mindless cannibalism end? How many good public officials must be destroyed because of their private sins and human imperfections?
SESNO: It paralyzed the presidency and made their private lives and foibles painfully public. It became about survival so the Clintons circled the wagons and went on the offensive.
HILLARY CLINTON, WIFE OF WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON: The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it, is this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.
SESNO: The impeachment hearings live and graphic detail captured a year of this. The House voted to impeach, but the Senate did not convey. He's worked ever since to reclaim his reputation. She's run the marathon and has gained influence. But there will always be that history. And private lives will always be the quick sand of American politics.
Is this what we can expect today? Is this how the anniversary would be reported if Clinton was a Republican?
Maybe more important, will any media outlet delve into the press's role of misreporting the impeachment as merely about sex in the White House instead of what was truly at the heart of the matter: perjury and the suborning of perjury?
As a potentially humorous aside, will press members notice the delicious irony of this anniversary coming coincident with the death of Deep Throat?