Originating in an article in Harper's
, this is the anti-Whitewater book. There is no Clinton scandal in that unfortunate little real estate deal, according to Gene Lyons, a columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
. The scandal Lyons sees is in the media hype that elevated the Whitewater story to a level that threatens the Clinton Presidency. Indeed, in a defense that turns into a controversial direct attack on the integrity of the reporters for The New York Times
and The Washington Post
, Lyons alleges that the whole affair "rests on facts that are somewhere between highly dubious and demonstrably false." In scathing polemical detail, Lyons questions the competence and judgment of the journalists involved, concluding that the Clintons are victims of a deliberate smear campaign.
From Publishers Weekly
On March 8, 1992, the New York Times published an article by investigative reporter Jeff Gerth. The headline said, "Clintons Joined S&L Operator in an Ozark Real Estate Venture." That venture later became known as Whitewater. Lyons has written this timely, important book (based in part on an article that appeared in the October 1994 issue of Harper's Magazine) because he believes that Gerth, the Times and other news organizations have created a damaging political scandal out of misinterpretation, innuendo and a bias against Arkansas. Lyons (Widow's Web) surely knows that his book, if deemed believable, will help Clinton's reelection campaign and cleanse some of the dirt from the image of the President and the First Lady. The task is to determine the credibility of Lyons, an Arkansas native who is no friend of Bill and certainly no friend of major media organizations that have, he says, bungled the Clinton "scandal" stories, sometimes with malice aforethought. The verdict: Lyons is credible more often than not. His dense analyses of specific stories from the New York Times and elsewhere point out errors of fact and interpretation. The book would be far more convincing, however, if it included copies of documents referred to over and over as proof of media incompetence and/or ill will. The appendices that are included are helpful but not sufficient to make the strongest possible case.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.