The Washington Post's endless scam: In Sunday's Washington Post, Caitlin Flanagan displayed her undying [HEART] for Bill Clinton's sex accusers.
To what extent are their sex accusations true? Like the horrible Flanagan, we can't tell you that. We can tell you that Flanagan's piece was a journalistic embarrassment—that it helps display the remarkable standards which govern our upper-end "press corps."
How accurate are the accusers' claims? We can't tell you that! By their very nature, claims of this type are extremely hard to assess or resolve. That's one of the reasons why it's a bad idea to build our politics around such accusations.
How accurate are the accusers' claims? We can't exactly tell you. That said, we can tell you something about the highlighted claim below, from early in Flanagan's high-profile Sunday piece:
FLANAGAN (10/16/16): When Clinton was confronting serious accusations of abuse, the country had a different attitude toward women who came forward with unverified (and often, unverifiable) accounts of sexual assault. Clinton’s inner circle was able to dismiss the women—on the basis of their backgrounds and sexual history—as crazies or trailer trash; as the accusations piled up, advisor James Carville coined the repugnant and resonant phrase “bimbo eruption.”Say what? James Carville coined the term "bimbo eruptions?" In a typical manifestation, Flanagan links to a news report which makes no such claim; indeed, Carville isn't mentioned at all. But so what? An editor at the Washington Post waved this mishegash into print. This is the way our upper-end press corps typically functions these days.
For whatever it may be worth, the coining of the term in question has been attributed from time immemorial to Betsey Wright, Bill Clinton's chief of staff in Arkansas. Amy Chozick even knows this "famous" fact. Did we mention the fact that Flanagan's link doesn't mention Carville?
This is a minor point. But the attribution of this term to Wright is an extremely well-known part of this much-loved sexy-time history. If Flanagan and the Post can't even get this right, what might a reader expect from the text which would follow?
Journalistically and morally, the text which followed was heinous. Let's start by getting clear on the overall point Flanagan was trying to make.
Flanagan's basic point was made fairly clearly in the Post's headline: "Why we trust Donald Trump’s accusers but didn’t believe Bill Clinton’s."
Like Tonto before us, we're not real sure who "we" is. In fact, tens of millions of people did, and do, believe Bill Clinton's accusers. Millions of people also believed that Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, had murdered a wide array of people as they fought their way to the top.
Why did people believe the claim about all those murders? In part, because the Reverend Jerry Falwell, then a major cultural figure, was one of the leading figures peddling this ugly tale. (Rush Limbaugh helped out when he could.)
If President Clinton had been black, we liberals would have called Falwell a racist. Because Clinton wasn't black, we were too weak-minded to complain about Falwell's egregious misconduct. Like the hopeless ciphers we are, we let his vile conduct go.
Millions of people did in fact believe those sex accusers; that plainly included a wide array of the press corps' silliest boys. They also believed the murder claims—in part because of Falwell's wild conduct, in part because two of Bill Clinton's sex accusers have also sold this claim.
We refer to Gennifer Flowers, who was selling the murder claims by the summer of 99 through her pay-for-play website. Later, Kathleen Willey peddled a book by claiming that the Clintons may have murdered her husband, the way they murdered all the others. And yes, Flowers and Willey were selling these claims, just as Falwell had sold a vile and stupid film, The Clinton Chronicles. We mention that because a lot of money did change hands around the sex and murder charges, a fact which is highly relevant to Flanagan's embarrassing imitation of journalism.
How low are the standards of the Washington Post's Outlook section? Here's Flanagan's full paragraph 4:
FLANAGAN: When Clinton was confronting serious accusations of abuse, the country had a different attitude toward women who came forward with unverified (and often, unverifiable) accounts of sexual assault. Clinton’s inner circle was able to dismiss the women—on the basis of their backgrounds and sexual history—as crazies or trailer trash; as the accusations piled up, advisor James Carville coined the repugnant and resonant phrase “bimbo eruption.” (Clinton employed the “nuts and sluts defense,” as Patricia Ireland, then president of the National Organization for Women, eventually called the tactic.) What’s more, these stories appeared within a larger and widely held belief system that women would readily lie about sexual assault for purposes of financial gain, romantic revenge or mere attention.To what standards does Flanagan hold herself? Consider that final sentence concerning the way the credibility of some of these accusers was questioned:
"These stories appeared within a larger and widely held belief system that women would readily lie about sexual assault for purposes of financial gain, romantic revenge or mere attention."
That statement may even be technically accurate. That said, no one in the Clinton camp ever said that "women," meaning women-in-general, "would readily lie about sexual assault for purposes of financial gain."
It was never a question of what women-in-general would do, "readily" or otherwise. It was a question of whether a few individual women may have lied, or engaged in crazy claims, for the purpose of cash gain.
We're sorry, but in the cases of Flowers and Willey, it would be extremely silly to deny the possibility that this may have occurred. By now, everyone, even Flanagan, must understand that individuals do lie for profit on occasion, and for other reasons too, as the Reverend Falwell appears to have done, and that individual women will sometimes engage in such conduct, not just cracker men.
(Duke lacrosse case? UVa? Is Flanagan alive on this earth? Individuals will and do lie about all kinds of things, for all kinds of reasons.)
In the case of Flowers and Willey, their credibility comes into question in a hundred ways. But to this day, people like Flanagan will do what it takes to keep you from knowing that this is true. Consider where yesterday's bullshine soon went.
Flanagan proceeded to describe the accusations which have been made by three women—by Paula Jones, by Juanita Broadrrick and by the aforementioned Willey. How accurate are those women's claims? Lacking clairvoyance, we have no obvious way to tell you.
Flanagan lacks clairvoyance too. But as she pretends to care about this, she makes use of a wide array of journalistic flim-flams:
FLANAGAN: The Clinton defense strategy centered on blatantly misogynistic practices. Even progressive feminists and traditionally liberal late-night comics did their part to discredit and ridicule the women. In an act of proto-revenge porn, an ex-boyfriend of Jones sold private sexual photographs of her to Penthouse a few months after her claim became public. She was immediate fodder for harsh jokes, many focusing on her appearance...Some of what Flanagan says may be true. But note the way she says it:
Willey’s claim was disbelieved at the time, in part because she had once told a pal that she was sexually attracted to Clinton—and that she had voluntarily visited him a second time after he grabbed her. But we now understand that sexual assault can exist within a complex pattern of human behavior, and that no attitude or subsequent action of the woman excuses a criminal act.
Is it true? Did "progressive feminists and traditionally liberal late-night comics did their part to discredit and ridicule" these accusers? We will assume that somebody did. But note the specific example Flanagan gives:
"In an act of proto-revenge porn, an ex-boyfriend of Jones sold private sexual photographs of her to Penthouse a few months after her claim became public."
How did we get from the Clinton team and progressive feminists to the one specific example of a slimy ex-boyfriend? We don't know, but it's hard to see how this one specific example is relevant to the wider claims being made.
After that, we get to Willey. This appalling sentence should never have gone into print in the Washington Post:
"Willey’s claim was disbelieved at the time, in part because she had once told a pal that she was sexually attracted to Clinton—and that she had voluntarily visited him a second time after he grabbed her."
Good lord! As we told you back in the day, the Washington press corps [HEART]ed those accusers (for links, see below). That slippery, slimy statement by Flanagan helps us see that true love of this ancient type never fades away.
Willey "had once told a pal that she was sexually attracted to Clinton?" The pal in question may have been Linda Tripp, but it's hard to tell from Flanagan's slippery work. As it turned out, Willey had told many pals many things, many of which were testified to under oath.
Flanagan's silly, slippery claim is an attempt to make you think you're getting the story. Let's just say that, long before the horrible Willey began peddling the book with the murder claims, her veracity had been savagely attacked by Robert Ray, the anti-Clinton Javert who took over the for his predecessor, the crazed and crazy Kenneth B. Starr, when Starr abandoned his hunt and ran off into the night.
Was Willey's claim disbelieved in real time? Certainly not by the press corps! As we documented in real time, silly boys of the mainstream press stood in line to sing her praise and swear by her obvious veracity.
But uh-oh! When Robert Ray issued his formal final report on the Starr chamber probes, this is what he had to say about the obvious truthfulness of these silly boys' darling:
RAY REPORT: Willey’s Testimony to the Grand Jury About the Alleged Incident Differed Materially from Her Deposition Testimony Given in Jones v. Clinton.Poor Ray! Even after he gave Willey her first immunity agreement, she hauled off and made more false statements, this time to the FBI.
Willey’s Jones deposition testimony differed from her grand jury testimony on material aspects of the alleged incident. She said at her deposition that she could not recall whether President Clinton succeeded in kissing her and that he did not fondle her. She also claimed she had never talked to anyone other than Isikoff, Gecker, and Steele about the details of the incident.
Willey’s Statements to This Office.
The Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute Willey for any offense arising out of the investigation, including false statements in her Jones deposition, so long as she cooperated fully and truthfully with the investigation. Following that first immunity agreement, Willey gave false information to the FBI about her sexual relationship with a former boyfriend, and acknowledged having lied about it when the agents confronted her with contradictory evidence. Following Willey’s acknowledgement, the Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute her for false statements in this regard.
According to Ray, Willey admitted that she had lied to the FBI. He was forced to agree not to prosecute her again!
This was before she wrote her crazy book accusing the Clintons of murdering her husband, not to mention her cat. It was roughly at the same time that she almost got a journalist killed through a false accusation on the program of her greatest cable news lover boy, the astonishing Chris Matthews. (It was Matthews who blurted the journalist's name when Willey didn't want to. Luckily, the journalist was able to prove his whereabouts on the time in question when Willey's false claim was made.)
We're sorry, but Kathleen Willey is one of the least credible people on earth. We've barely scratched the surface of the reasons why a sensible person would be slow to believe her claims as a general matter.
Poor Robert Ray! He ended up saying, in his report, that no jury would have believed her, she had lied so much—and yes, he said she had lied. But so what? Fifteen years later, Caitlin Flanagan is still toying with Post readers this way:
"Willey’s claim was disbelieved at the time, in part because she had once told a pal that she was sexually attracted to Clinton."
Full stop. But then, there's nothing the Flanagans won't do and say, so deeply do they [HEART] those accusers. There's nothing the Washington Post won't put into print in the Sunday Outlook section, its most visible weekly platform.
From Day One, the mainstream press has been involved in a headlong attempt to vouch for Clinton's accusers. Like the horrible Flanagan, we can't tell you what happened when Willey went into the Oval that day. We can tell you that she kept lying to investigators, under oath; that she said many things to many pals concerning her pursuit of Clinton; that she almost got a journalist killed through a false accusation on Hardball (a man with a gun was arrested at the journalist's house); and that she even descended to the level of pretending that the Clintons murdered her husband. Along with her pet cat!
Gennifer Flowers has been equally repellent down through the years. But the Flanagans will never tell you, and the Post will cheer them on.
What happened in the Oval that day? How the Frenchy Fuqua are we supposed to know?
We do know what happened after that, even if Flanagan won't tell you. We also know that Kathleen Willey was uniformly believed by the mainstream press. We know that she went on Hardball, made a false accusation, and almost got someone killed.
(A few weeks later, Matthews started in on Wen Ho Lee, triggering death threats.)
We know she lied to the special prosecutor and the FBI, so much so that she was publicly rebuked in the Ray Report. We know she finally sank to the ultimate level, adding a name to the list of people the fiendish Clintons killed.
We also know that she and Flowers were making piles of cash as they sold their crazy tales. It isn't a matter of whether people-in-general "readily" make things up for cash. It's a question of whether that happened in these limited instances.
(People do toy with the truth for various reasons! Consider Flanagan herself!)
Another key fact has become clear over the past twenty-five years. A surprising number of people come close to being crazy.
Jerry Falwell was one such person. He sold murder claims for cash, pretending to honor the Lord.
Flowers and Willey have sold those murder claims too. People like Flanagan have spent the past twenty years making sure you never hear that.
Caitlin Flanagan wrote that crap. That said, it was published by the Washington Post.
"Kathleen Willey had told a pal!" Go ahead! Laugh out loud!
Visit our incomparable archives: For an overview of the press corps' behavior back in the day, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/10/03.
For a report from real time, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/2/98.
Concerning Willey's general credibility, there's much, much more where that came from. You're just not allowed to hear it discussed. The press corps [HEART]ed the accusers back then. They still seem to [HEART] them today.