The Drama of the Clinton Sex Scandal
Rare is a person that crosses the path of the White House without some emotion of envy or awe. This building epitomizes world leadership and unprecedented power. This renowned leadership may be the only association made by certain countries, while in the United States many see an other significance: Watergate, Whitewater, Kennedy's brutal and mysterious assassination, and today, Clinton's "zippergate" scandal. When the President of the United States takes oath, he gives up a part of his life. His private life becomes the public's life, and they feel the right to know what happens behind the Oval Office. Now the Presidency must battle against Newspaper journalists, radio personalities, televised news reports and now, even more menacing: the Internet.
Presidents, who are constantly reminded of their power and prestigious rank, become exasperated because they cannot control the news media, even though they can to a large degree set the news agenda. Media has expanded in its presence, becoming widespread on the Internet, perhaps monopolizing the domain, by becoming more powerful and more used than written, televised or radio journalism. The Presidents' inability to control the press exposes their vulnerability and tends to question the actual power they can actually exert. All presidents, at some time or another, became frustrated at what they perceived as unfair treatment by the press, even while acknowledging its vital function in a free society, and many presidents have been a part of a scandal.
The current presidential scandal with Monica Lewinsky had swept the Nation overnight. It seems quite impossible to know just how it will all turn out, and unfair to even speculate, but the media certainly seems to think they possess that right. It is obvious that this story has changed the face of journalism, has put online media on the map in a major way, and has made life more difficult for newspapers forever.
First, let's take a look at how this story developed and how it acted on the Internet. David Noack of E&P in his article "Web's Big Role in Sex Controversy" does a great job of detailing the twisting path this tale took from rumor to investigation to publication, and how the Internet played a key part. Noack points out in his article that the "Clinton/Lewinsky" scandal has drastically changed online media. He writes:
"A year ago, most newspapers and news magazines adhered to the hard rule that they would not stoop themselves by putting breaking news on their Web sites before it appeared in their print editions. But a rapidly-growing public demand for almost "instant" Web coverage of breaking national news stories has forced even the largest newspapers and magazines- like the Washington Post and Newsweek-to abandon the old rule."
"Out with the old, in with the new." It is easy to think breaking stories online could dilute journalists' on-paper presence; now many have realized that online media puts all...