Friday, February 23, 2007

Speaking of Conason

Whitewater memories:

But so did The Times, which more than any other news organization bears responsibility for the phony Whitewater scandal and the runaway independent-counsel probe that led to President Clinton’s impeachment. And now, on its front page, in a single sentence, the paper of record effectively disowned hundreds and perhaps thousands of articles, editorials and columns that once framed the trivial, unprofitable and long-dead Whitewater investment as a matter of immediate public concern.

In The Times, their guilty involvement was treated as something established, not “supposed.” Eight years and tens of millions of dollars later, the independent counsel grudgingly conceded that its investigators and lawyers had found no criminal wrongdoing in Whitewater by the Clintons. That was the same conclusion reached years earlier in a truly nonpartisan investigation undertaken by the Resolution Trust Corporation (to which The Times gave scant attention).

With the assistance of The Times’ editors, not to mention their equally zealous counterparts at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, the right-wing network financed by Mr. Scaife succeeded in crippling the Clinton White House for years and nearly bringing it down altogether.

Only when impeachment loomed did The Times nervously back away from the consequences of its stupid crusade. To this day, the paper’s editors have never admitted that they were wrong about Whitewater. They have confessed serious error on many things, from the Wen Ho Lee affair to the hyping of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, but Whitewater remains a sacred cow.