The worst, sleaziest press corps possible

ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross discovers that "Hillary Clinton spent the night in the White House on the day her husband had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky."

Published March 20, 2008 12:38AM (EDT)

(updated below - Update II)

It just isn't possible for this country to have a more depraved and wretched press corps. After spending months haranguing Hillary Clinton to release her schedule as First Lady -- based on high-minded demands that open government is important -- this is what ABC News "investigative reporter" Brian Ross did with the documents today (h/t Susie Madrak via email):

Hillary Was in White House on "Stained Blue Dress" Day

Schedules Reviewed by ABC Show Hillary May Have Been in the White House When the Fateful Act Was Committed

Hillary Clinton spent the night in the White House on the day her husband had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, and may have actually been in the White House when it happened, according to records of her schedule released today by the National Archives. . . .

The public schedule for Sen. Clinton on Feb. 28, 1997, the day on which Lewinsky's infamous blue dress would become stained by the president, shows the first lady spent the morning and the night in the White House. . . .

The Feb. 28 schedule lists her as attending four "drop-by" events, closed to the press, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and then records her as staying in the White House overnight that fateful day. . . . .

According to the Starr report, President Clinton took Lewinsky into an Oval Office bathroom in the early evening, after recording a radio address. Forensic tests later "conclusively" showed that the blue dress she was wearing "was stained with the President's semen," according to the Starr report.

Here are the pictures accompanying this piece of "investigative journalism":

Brian Ross spent many days in October, 2001 screeching on every ABC News show he could get on that government tests showed that the anthrax sent to U.S. political and media figures was linked to Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program. That was a lie from the start; no tests ever revealed any such thing. His sources told him that because they wanted him to do just what he did -- create the perception in the public's mind that Iraq was behind the anthrax attacks. When that turned out to be false, he never retracted it, and, to this day, refuses to reveal who his sources were who fed him that extremely consequential lie.

Ross is, however, very much on top of sniffing out whether Hillary slept with Bill on the day he received oral sex from Monica Lewinksy. The minute he got his hands on Hillary's schedule today, he apparently crawled right over to that most special media day ever -- Stained Blue Dress Day -- and excitedly connected the dots. The byline on the story is "BRIAN ROSS and the ABC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE UNIT." It apparently took the entire ABC Investigative Journalist team to uncover this story. Given what an honest, law-abiding and open administration we have, it's not as though investigative journalists have anything else to do.

UPDATE: Susie Madrak has more, including an important reminder about why this has nothing to do with anyone's particular views of Clinton or Obama. She also includes Brian Ross' phone number and email address, suggesting "that you share your opinion of his 'work.'" Her opinion of his work: "In all my years in journalism, I've never seen anything quite as disgusting as this." There are few things more difficult than awarding that superlative, but it's hard to contest that this is up there.

UPDATE II: AP now has an even longer and more detailed article on the same subject, promoted by The Huffington Post's front page, which begins: "Hillary Rodham Clinton was home in the White House on at least seven days when her husband had sexual encounters there with intern Monica Lewinsky, according to Sen. Clinton's schedule." This is the line they insert to justify their low-life vouyerism:

It's unlikely [Hillary] would be surprised at this late date to learn that the president was cheating on her while she was home in the White House. But the release of the documents reminds voters anew about Bill Clinton's affair and the impeachment proceedings that brought Washington to a halt for a year.

Note the sentence construction -- the release of the documents "reminds voters" of Bill's affair with Monica Lewinsky. But who will actually be doing the "reminding"? Not the documents, but rather, the sleazy press corps.

This is the standard media manipulation tactic when they cover petty, vapid gossip and then want to justify it: they assert that "voters" are interested in it and then self-referentially point to the reporters' own fixation with the gossip as proof that people are interested. See, they had no choice but to point this out -- it's not their fault -- because it's newsworthy, since the "the release of the documents reminds voters anew about Bill Clinton's affair."

Is there anyone other than reporters who, when Hillary was being pressured to release her First Lady schedule, thought about the fact that this would finally enable us to know whether she was in the White House and slept with Bill on the days when he had sex with Monica Lewinsky? If journalists want to be bottom-feeding sex voyeurs, can they at least dispense with the ludicrous journalistic justifications?

By Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

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