SPIN DOCTORS OR WITCH DOCTORS?

Watching the sad spectacle of a contentious society and press rabidly pursue America's president, and catching glimpses of the smiling, morally upright Special Prosecutor intent on extracting unpleasant truths about him, I can only shake my head. I have titled the mess after the little known Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. It is not that I am too kind to enjoy the perverse feeling that comes from observing the mighty fall, I simply see fifteen thousand columnists running rapidly along like caged gerbils on carousels. Each is vigorously and intently spinning its own wheel in feverish exercise, without an iota of reflection. There is almost no redemptive aspect of the matter save one: how our marvelous spin doctors metamorphose the accusers into the accused.

If I digress from the ostensible into the real, I wonder whether or not Ken Starr will be found guilty of his many crimes and sentenced to prison. The president's forthright assistants are thundering that Mr. Starr has trampled on first amendment rights, ethical rights, and moral rights. He has forced a mother to testify about intimate conversations with her daughter concerning the daughter's sex life. Starr has become the essence of diabolical persecution. In fact, only the benevolent, forgiving nature of Mr. Clinton has kept Starr from being sacked and prosecuted for his criminal behavior. We have been presented with a perverse exercise in Good and Evil. It all reminds me of a trial in which a detective named Mark Fuhrman was found to have perjured himself while testifying in court. The case was inconsequential, but Mr. Fuhrman's crime was so heinous that he was forced to take early retirement and resign in disgrace from the Los Angeles police force. Public awareness of Mr. Fuhrman's long years spent doing police work on dangerous city streets was all that kept him out of jail.

Only after reflecting on these and similar cases does one understand the vast tolerance and generosity shown by America's legal system toward wrong-doers. In spite of the vicious nature of their transgressions, neither Messrs. Fuhrman nor Starr will likely ever spend a day in the slammer. We can all be content about that.

What I would like to do is ponder just how our media permit a cadre of spin doctor propagandists to cajole columnists and TV commentators into interchanging the roles of hero and villain. O J Simpson was on trial for brutally murdering his ex-wife and Ron Goldman with a knife, a substantive crime if there ever was one. Our president is under investigation, as goofy as that may be, for trifling with a young and willing girl, and for failing to truthfully disclose the exact nature of whatever relationship existed between them. The original reasons for convening the court of justice were soon irrelevant. Clever defenses put the prosecutors on trial and found them guilty in the more important court of public opinion.

Mark Fuhrman was, if anything, guilty of bigotry. Ken Starr may be guilty of an unbecoming righteousness and of naivete bordering on stupidity, or he may simply be the dupe of a well-orchestrated chorus of hired presidential cronies and a gullible press being fed carefully crafted scraps of news. The most noteworthy fact discovered is the simple-mindedness of our supposedly intelligent and sophisticated media. Thinking people can only wonder at the ease with which they obediently follow gross perversions planted by defense attorneys who, like octopi, spread inky murk over the landscape.

I hope the American public, which usually exhibits good sense when all the facts are on the table, will reserve judgment on Mr. Starr, much as it has on President Clinton. In no manner am I trying to excuse Mr. Clinton's conduct which, at its most charitable, seems unusual for a married man, but I can't help saying the president's alleged crime seems to me to be an entirely private matter. It had nothing to do with national security or government, and its nature does not dignify either outlandish press coverage or threats of impeachment. One does not impeach a sitting president for bad taste or carnal behavior, but they will keep historians from lauding his record and his likeness from being carved on Mt. Rushmore.


Sam Orr sorr@metrolink.net
World Traveler
and Philanthrope
(Location Unknown)