Ms. Lewinsky: Venom for Ailes, absolution for Clinton
Monica Lewinsky reappeared from her private life to celebrate the death of Roger Ailes this past week with an op-ed – in the NYT, of course!
She was not alone in her glee that the founder of Fox News had died; the internet was chock-full of people dancing on the man's grave. Ms. Lewinsky seems to blame the entire ordeal she endured in 1998 on Fox News, as if the network was the only media outlet reporting on Bill Clinton's serial misbehavior and her part in it.
That is comical in the extreme. But in her mind, she is apparently blameless, as is Clinton. If this little diatribe is not the perfect example of our culture of no-such-thing-as-personal-
Was she dragged through the media mud? Indeed, she was; it was tempting to feel a little sorry for her at the time. Much that was written and reported on news outlets was exaggerated or invented (think Trump). She endured vicious personal attacks, much like any individual who becomes part of a political scandal. Those are the unintended consequences of very poor decision-making. To inculcate in one's children the ability to have good judgment is the single most important skill parents can teach. Still, as many parents know too well, adult children often make poor decisions. Most of them are not life-altering, but some are. Ms. Lewinsky's leap into the Oval Office for indiscreet reasons was an extremely poor decision, one for which she has paid for ever since. She has neither married nor had children. Perhaps that outcome is not entirely due to her infamous past, but it likely has much to do with it. It would take an extremely tough and resilient man to withstand the public knowledge of her briefly infamous past.
As reported in the Daily Caller, "in an 839-word piece, Ms. Lewinsky mentions Bill Clinton just once. Her harshest words are reserved for the people who reported about his actions. Twenty years later, Monica Lewinsky is still blaming everybody except the one man who's most responsible for her torment." She blames our "culture of shame and vitriol," but the culture of today forgives anything and everything, even terrorism. Perhaps the culture was a little less forgiving in 1998, but not much. Nearly every Democrat in Congress found the affair to be nobody's business but Clinton's and Ms. Lewinsky's. Even once it became clear that Clinton had lied to everyone, even after all the other women he abused came forward, they forgave him and sought to protect him from impeachment, and they succeeded.
Ms. Lewinsky is obviously thrilled not only that Ailes is dead, but that he was brought down shortly before his death by his own sexual pecadillos and alleged abuse of the women in his employ. Fox News has reportedly paid millions of dollars to settle harassment suits brought by various women against Ailes and Bill O'Reilly. The explicit details of those cases are not public beyond "sexual harassment." Not to diminish their claims, but none of those women, as far as we know, submitted to Ailes's inappropriate advances. Good for them. Only Paula Jones received any settlement money from Clinton. All the other women Clinton harassed or assaulted became pariahs thanks to Hillary Clinton's "bimbo eruption" squad.
What is most distressing are the defenders of Ms. Lewinsky's whiny column. Rachel Shukert, writing for the Tablet, excuses both Clinton and Lewinsky: "After all, Bill Clinton is a man of tremendous personal charm, who enjoyed a brief affair with a young, adoring woman who seemed to require no threats, incentives, or coercion to participate[.]" Shukert echoes Nina Burleigh, who at the time not only defended Clinton, but said she would "go down on her knees for him" for protecting women's right to abort. Pathetic. Shukert goes on to indict Ailes's young son, who gave his eulogy and vowed to clear his father's name, which probably will not be possible. Shukert believes that the presidential sex scandal that became a media sensation and did bring new viewers to a relatively new network was no one's fault but Ailes's, which is ridiculous on its face. Shukert also thinks it's perfectly acceptable to wish ill on a young man who just lost his father.
What is the root of Shukert's anger? Only she knows, but she stands ready to take down men like Ailes. She ends by writing: "Monica and I and a host of other nasty and undefeated women will be ready for them." That is really quite sad.
Both Ms. Lewinsky and Shukert seem confused about so much. Both are likely young enough to think women can and should be able to have reckless, promiscuous sex without consequences and that, should their behavior be discovered, they should not be judged for what is no one's business but their own. Both of them condemn Fox News and Roger Ailes for reporting on what was, in fact, a legitimate and disheartening scandal: a sitting president takes advantage of young intern in the Oval Office in a gross and disgusting manner. Chances are that had Fox News been founded by Mother Teresa, Ms. Lewinsky would still not take responsibility for her own part in the scandal and the media sensation it engendered.
This is the level to which "defining deviancy down" has brought us, as the late Sen. Pat Moynihan put it. Young people actually believe that there should be no uncomfortable consequences of their own poor judgment or behavior, no matter how egregious. The blame always lies elsewhere.