Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Tripping Over Another Impeachment Outrage 

You've no doubt heard that Linda Tripp, the well-known audiologist, has settled for a cool half a mil, give or take a hundred thou, in her suit against the Federal government, for having violated her privacy. Yes, you heard that right. Here's CNN's verklempt version of the story that gets every fact wrong. Not a surprise.

Everything you will hear about this settlement, what provoked the lawsuit, and what the issues were is going to be wrong or a deliberate lie. I know because having happened to hear the actual story explained in an NPR interview with Jane Mayer, who wrote the New Yorker story that started the whole thing, I then spent the last years of the twentieth century listening to winger propogandist after winger propogandist repeat a mangled version of the story based, quite simply on lies, which our old friend, the SCLM, parroted with religious devotion.

Appropriately, the man who introduced us to the SCLM, Eric Alterman, sets the record straight, based on his own personal reporting. That he took the time and the trouble is what makes Eric so terrific. Don't miss it. And don't forget the facts, and everytime you hear those same lies trotted out by friends or family who don't know better, let them in on the truth.

One other lie, completely accepted by the SCLM, that Tripp herself, and her supporters, like Lucianne, trotted out continually - that Linda only started her historical recordings at the point that she was being pressured by Monica, on behalf on the President, to commit perjury - deserves a thorough debunking.

Here's the problem with that version of events. Tripp started recording those phone conversations in October, which was a full six weeks before Tripp contacted the lawyers for Paula Jones to clue them into who Monica was, the fact of Tripp's recordings, and to make arrangements, to which they immediately agreed, for them to subpeona her, and to pretend that she was an unwilling witness. How do I know? It's all there on the recordings of her phone conversations. When the recordings were released in August of 1998 and C-Span broadcast them all, I thought I'd take a listen for maybe half an hour, and then couldn't stop listening for all twenty hours or so.

Only hearing the actual recordings Tripp herself made can give you a true idea of Tripp's betrayal of Monica Lewinsky, and of President Clinton, and of many others in the Clinton administration who had treated Tripp with extraordinary decency, even kindness.
Neither Monica nor President Clinton could have known there was any issue about which to commit perjury in October; Monica had no idea that she would be called as a witness by the Jones legal team, the President had no idea that Linda Tripp had become Monica's confidante.

Hatred is a transformative emotion, and though I'm sure that to those who know her, friends and family, Linda Tripp has her delightful qualities, what her consumming hatred of the Clintons turned her into is surely a cautionary tale.

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