Views You Can Use!

The newsweeklies are choosing up sides in Flytrap. Time is Monica’s Magazine. Ms. Lewinsky’s increasingly creepy mouthpiece, William Ginsburg, cooperates with Time reporters–witness this week’s long, generally sympathetic piece on “Monica’s World,” which portrays Ginsburg as her “surrogate dad” and describes, presumably on some authority, the ex-interns own thoughts (e.g., “You didn’t do anything wrong!”). But Ginsburg has frosted Newsweek, which is perceived to be in Linda Tripp’s camp. A short critical Newsweek piece on Ginsburg and his “appetite for the high life” notes that he “declined … to talk to Newsweek“…. Newsweek, meanwhile, is Paula’s Magazine. Indeed you could plot the array of competing newsmagazine allegiances:

Linda Tripp
Paula Jones
Kathleen Willey
Vernon Jordan
Monica Lewinsky
Bill Clinton
Julie Steele
Vernon Jordan

There’s nothing necessarily sinister about these match-ups. It’s a natural ecological phenomenon. If one mag has locked up the sources in one camp–the journalists’ supply of food, as it were–it’s only sensible for a competing mag to quickly secure the competing food source. Readers should simply be aware, as they weigh what they are told, that each magazine has an incentive to please–or at least not totally piss off–its primary allies….

Which is not to say that Newsweek still won’t try to throw Ginsburg a few bones in the hope of gaining his cooperation, or that Time won’t skillfully let him make a fool of himself. In “Monica’s World,” for example, Ginsburg says of his client: “I was there at the beginning. I kissed that girl’s inner thighs when she was six days old–I said ‘Look at those little polkas’.” What’s that all about? Chatterbox is getting Freudian overload … Ginsburg is also heard boasting “I truly am the avuncular Mr. Ginsburg,” and he condescendingly predicts that “the American people will let” President Clinton “limp to the end of his term.” Mighty avuncular of you, Mr. G!

WOULD YOU BELIEVE HE LUSTED IN HIS HEART?:Slate’s editors are among those who have been privileged to receive the White House trial-balloon explanation of Clinton’s “complicated” friendship with Monica Lewinsky. You know, he may have had an … er, avuncular, implicitly sexual and probably inappropriate relationship that was, alas, never actually, physically consummated … Call it the “modified limited hangout” strategy …

CHATTERDUMP: Oliver North, running for president? Yes! declare Republican rumormongers … And people say Chatterbox has no right-wing sources! … Why is Kenneth Starr wasting time waging a big fight with Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey over whether Lindsey’s testimony is protected by “executive privilege”? Does anybody really think that even if Lindsey is required to answer every question, he’ll actually incriminate Clinton? At best, he’ll say “I don’t recall”… A joke that produces consistent hilarity at Washington parties: Why did Clinton have to get blowjobs from Monica Lewinsky? Because Sid Blumenthal hadn’t joined his staff yet! … But seriously, Chatterbox wants to defend “Grassy Knoll” Blumenthal against those who trash him for giving advice to his friends the Clintons while he was still a writer for The New Yorker. Blumenthal was writing for an opinionated magazine, after all, if not for a New Republic-style “magazine of opinion.” He gave his opinions to his readers. He gave his opinions to the Clintons. Where’s the conflict? If the Clintons call to get Chatterbox’s advice, they’ll get it!… The problem, in principle, would come if Blumenthal was giving different opinions to the Clintons and to his readers (something he’s not accused of) or if Blumenthal’s readers were somehow misled into thinking they were getting a dispassionate perspective. But any New Yorker subscriber who didn’t realize that Blumenthal was massively ego-invested in the Clintons’ success just wasn’t paying attention … Chatterbox hopes this stout defense won’t stop Blumenthal from ordering the Clinton critic-intimidation team to investigate Chatterbox’s private life. What fun! What publicity! … For the record, Chatterbox has never done anything avuncular, though it tried once in college …