* The front-page article “Troopers Say Clinton Sought Silence on Personal Affairs” (Dec. 21) was incredible. What really struck me was the statement that there exists “a widening belief that personal character may be as important to a leader’s performance as political party or ideology.” This is a widening belief? I thought that a free and moral society sought personal character as the foundation of a great leader. Was it not a lack of personal character combined with political ideologies that led to the greatest atrocities of the 20th Century enacted by Hitler and Stalin?
If, and only if, the allegations regarding President Clinton are true, then President Clinton has perpetrated a litany of lies and cover-ups to deceive Mrs. Clinton and the American people and has demonstrated an inability to fulfill one of the most basic covenants in our society, that of matrimony. If they are not true, then do these fabrications belong on the front page of a major American newspaper?
VINCENT P. ROMAN
* Bill Clinton may or may not have cheated on his wife. But he said he would fix the economy, tackle the health care crisis and put people first. The American public decided last November that the quality of their own lives is more important than the personal lives of the candidates and voted accordingly.
So I find it hard to believe that you assigned two reporters, spent months investigating, and then devoted a page and a half to a story on an issue that voters considered and rejected during last year’s election.
There’s always much public hand-wringing and soul-searching on the media’s part after each episode of sleazy reporting. The self-serving justification (it’s the character issue) and buck-passing (everybody’s reporting it so we couldn’t ignore it) fill seminars and journalism reviews in the aftermath. Then the next “sexy” story comes along, and the frenzy resumes.
The media often accuse politicians of “not getting it”; it seems to me you’re the ones who either don’t understand or simply refuse to accept what we told you last November.
* Though you investigated the Clinton story for months and didn’t publish a thing, you oh-so-bravely went forward with the “story” only after the American Spectator, a right-wing magazine with a political ax to grind, elected to soil its pages with it first.
No doubt, soon we’ll all be treated to the sorry spectacle of the media wringing their collective hands, wondering how journalism’s standards have fallen so far. I suggest the answer will be found in the nearest mirror.
* Which does Washington consider a greater crime: adultery or sexual harassment?
* For the Clintons and their ilk to address morality is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. As members of the 1960s “hippie generation,” Bill, Hillary and their brethren nonchalantly cast aside the bedrock values on which the social infrastructure of this nation was built.
The hubris with which that generation attempted (and still attempts) to reshape morality into a blameless void, where there are no consequences for one’s actions, is a 25-year legacy that haunts America daily.
MATTHEW L. DADAY
* I’m not sure, is it funny or sad that after seven months of investigation you run a story on Page 1 regarding two Arkansas troopers and their tawdry and musty accusations and then less than seven days later (Dec. 24) you run a story inside the front section, “1990 Accident Raises Doubts on 2 Troopers’ Credibility.”
What the devil were your two “investigative reporters” doing for all those months and months not to uncover what took others less than a week?
* I just read Robert Scheer’s column “When the Media Indulge in Voyeurism” (Column Left, Dec. 27). Is he serious? Is he telling me and the rest of the world, “Hey, get off his back! So he cheated on his wife; what’s the big deal? Everyone does it.” He couldn’t be further from the truth. This is an absurd example to set for our children. Elected officials, including Nixon, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Kennedy, etc., should be drummed out of office if they cheat on their wives. My heavens, how good is their word? Their wedding vows mean nothing? Marriage to them is a joke?
For our society to start on the road back to sanity, back to common sense, back to right and wrong, someone from the media has to stand up and say, “No, this is wrong! If you cheat, lie and deceive you are not worthy of representing me or this country, period.”
It is imperative that our young people be given guidance. Stealing is wrong, cheating is wrong, adultery is wrong. Don’t give these actions a hint of being acceptable with the twisted logic of “well, it’s OK; everyone does it.”
DAVID P. DIESTEL
Rancho Palos Verdes