The status of Gennifer Flowers: Is Gennifer Flowers "one of Bill Clinton's former mistresses?"
Did Gennifer Flowers "have an affair with [Hillary] Clinton's husband?"
Last week, the Washington Post spilled with such claims, both in its hard-copy editions and in its endless array of blogs. All the children seemed to be saying it. For examples, see yesterday's post.
At the New York Times, things were somewhat different. First, a bit of background:
Excitement grew when Donald J. Trump suggested that he might ask Flowers to attend last Monday night's dance. Agreeably, Flowers announced that she would be in attendance.
The children simply love stories like this! But on the front page of the New York Times, Healy and Burns showed restraint:
HEALY AND BURNS (9/26/16): Mr. Trump mangled the name of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture and bragged about his respect for women, just hours after threatening to invite Gennifer Flowers, who accused Bill Clinton of having an adulterous relationship with her, to the debate.Say what? Flowers accused Bill Clinton of having an adulterous relationship?
Two days before, in an on-line post, Parker and Haberman also seemed to cast themselves in the killjoy role:
PARKER AND HABERMAN (9/24/16): Donald J. Trump’s campaign moved on Sunday to squelch reports—set off by the candidate himself—that Gennifer Flowers, the woman whose claims of an affair with Bill Clinton imperiled his 1992 presidential campaign, would be Mr. Trump’s guest on Monday at his first debate with Hillary Clinton.Her claims of an affair with Bill Clinton? Before we show you what else the journalists wrote, let's establish some basic facts.
Back in 1992, Flowers declared that she'd enjoyed a torrid twelve-year affair with Bill Clinton, the only man she ever loved. She received several six-figure paydays along the way as she told her story. All in all, she took in more than $500,000 for her thrilling claims, which she was never able to document in any discernible way.
Our roster of lazy pseudo-journalists will tell you that Bill Clinton eventually confessed to the affair. If we're still speaking the English language, we'd say that isn't true.
At any rate, it's easy enough to establish what Bill Clinton did say. In January 1998, he testified in the Paula Jones case. Under oath, here's what he said about the torrid, twelve-year affair. We've edited legal wrangling:
QUESTION (1/17/98): Did you ever have sexual relations with Gennifer Flowers?That's the way Clinton "confessed" to the twelve-year affair. But hold on—there's more to be said:
CLINTON: The answer to your question, if sexual relations are defined as–
The answer to your question, if the definition is Section One there in the first piece of evidence you gave me, is yes.
QUESTION: On how many occasions?
QUESTION: In what year?
QUESTION: Did you ever make sexual advances to Gennifer Flowers after that occasion which did not culminate in sexual relations?
You'll note that Clinton referred, two times, to a legal definition of "sexual relations" under which he was forced to testify. That definition was very broad. People, here it is:
Deposition Exhibit 1 defines "Sexual Relations" as when a person knowingly engages in or causes "contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person."
Obviously, that definition encompasses behavior which falls well short of intercourse, or even oral sex. A Clinton spokesman later said that the one event in question was a bit of a grope-and-grab session, not a real case of "getting it on," as the younger people say among themselves.
There you see Bill Clinton's full formal confession. We have no way of knowing how accurate that statement is, but neither do the pseudo-journalists who excitedly tell us that Clinton admitted an "affair" with Flowers, his "mistress."
Let's get clear on the general state of play. Flowers sold the story of a torrid, twelve-year love affair. She offered no evidence of any kind, and some of her claims didn't seem to make sense.
Clinton testified to one interaction, not intercourse. On the basis of those facts, Frank Rich published the stupidest statement in the embarrassing journalistic history of the past 24 years:
RICH (3/21/98): We now know that the Clintons also got away with exceedingly disingenuous image-mongering in their famous '92 appearance on the show, during which the soon-to-be President responded to a question about a 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers by saying "That allegation is false." This year, in a sworn deposition, Mr. Clinton conceded having an affair with her, disputing only its duration.Could anyone except Frank Rich come up with something so silly, so fake and deceptive? According to Rich, Clinton and Flowers were in fundamental agreement. Clinton agreed that they'd had an affair, "disputing only its duration."
Disputing only its duration! Flowers said the duration had been twelve years; Clinton said five minutes. Rich gave his readers no way to know that the "dispute" was quite so large. It's behavior like that from people like Rich that has Trump on the edge of the White House.
Rich went on to assure the world during Campaign 2000 that Candidate Bush and Candidate Gore were indistinguishable peas in a pod. In 2002, he trashed Gore as a fake and a phony when Gore spoke out against going to war in Iraq.
He then trashed Gore as a fake and a phony when his film, An Inconvenient Truth, came out. It was like a high school instructional film, this big buffoon told his high-brow pal, Don Imus.
(In fairness, Rich did an instant 180 when Gore won the Nobel peace prize. Overnight, he ended a decade of Clinton-Gore trashing and began fawning to Gore instead.)
As for Flowers, she went on to spend full hours on cable TV discussing the Clintons' many murders, which were now the subject of her money-making web site. On Fox, she told the world that Hillary Clinton was the world's most gigantic lesbo. In the book from which she grabbed more cash, she recalled the first time she met the person who was now the nation's first lady:
“I was shocked,” she thoughtfully wrote. “She looked like a big fat frump with her hair hanging down kind of curly and wavy. She had big, thick glasses; an ugly dress; and a big, fat butt.” Is it possible that she's been writing Candidate Trump's recent stuff?
By the summer of 1998, the mainstream press had adopted this appalling person as an unfailing vessel of truth. Pundits stood in line to say we now knew that she'd been telling the truth all along!
Did Bill Clinton ever have an "affair" with Gennifer Flowers? Given what we know, does it make sense to describe her as his former "mistress?"
If we're still speaking the English language, we know of no reason to say such things, except for the pleasure such statements provide. Also, it's easy enough to state the known facts. Haberman and Twoher came amazingly close to doing just that in their post for the Times:
PARKER AND HABERMAN: In 1992, Mr. Clinton denied Ms. Flowers's claim of an affair, but years later, when asked in a deposition whether he had engaged in ''sexual relations'' with Ms. Flowers, he admitted having done so one time, in 1977. Ms. Flowers, in recently broadcast interviews, has accused Mrs. Clinton of being an ''enabler'' and has said the scandal is a relevant issue in 2016.You're right! In describing Clinton's testimony, they let readers think the term "sexual relations" carried its normal meaning. (Under the circumstances, their use of the quotations marks was especially slick. Slickly, they almost made it sound like Clinton had introduced the term.) That said, they reported that Clinton had copped to only one incident. For a pair of New York Times journalists, they came remarkably close to telling the truth about what's actually known.
In yesterday's post, we mentioned a range of privileged people at the Post who were spouting about this matter this week. They and their colleagues have acted this way for the past twenty-four years.
People are dead all over the world because of their horrible, terrible conduct. Nothing will ever make these life-forms understand what they have done—and they will continue to act this way, thanks to the smothering code of silence which keeps their conduct from being criticized or even discussed.
Did Bill Clinton admit to an "affair?" Was Gennifer Flowers really his "mistress?"
Admit it—you weren't familiar with the full range of facts about this exciting matter. Similar bullshit clogs the way the other Clinton sex tales get told. These very bad people have played these sick games for a very long time now.
Clinton and Flowers agreed on the facts. They only disputed the duration! Here's our question as we close:
How does Paul Krugman live with himself for letting this slide all these years?