American verdicts on Monica Lewinsky's interview with Barbara Walters on ABC television in the United States
The Denver Post
IN THE end it was unclear whether Monica has any sense of the magnitude of the trauma she's endured. Was she there for the traditional prime-time healing process or simply to launch her book tour? And what did we get out of it? The victim, the journalist, the viewing public and the nation shared the degradation. Shame on us for bothering.
The Macon Telegraph
WE'RE UNCLEAR as to whether ABC paid Ms Lewinsky for her interview. But there is no question that the event is meant by her handlers to kick off a multi-million-dollar marketing campaign here and abroad. No domestic book-signing tour is scheduled for the United States. Certain states, Georgia included, have passed laws inhibiting criminals from benefiting from their misdeeds by requiring them to share any book or movie profits with their victims. While Monica Lewinsky is not a criminal, it somehow just doesn't seem right for her to profit. How does one explain to children in light of the Lewinsky story that the best way to get ahead in life is to work hard and focus on genuine accomplishments?
Carroll County Times
AT A time when media credibility is at an all-time low and people find it hard to distinguish between news and entertainment, ABC has blurred the line even more. The network is using the interview as a money-making tool. That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the network is up front about it. But because the network on one hand tries to stand apart from "infotainment'' type shows posing as news, and on the other hand looks for any means possible to rake in cash, the credibility of all legitimate news organizations suf- fers. The bottom line is that ABC tele- vision is out for the money. The news (if there actually is any in this particular interview) is secondary. Viewers may want to keep that in mind when they tune in this evening.
MONICA LEWINSKY had to play the role of seductress. She is desperate to seduce us into buying her new book. Desperate to seduce us into believing that she is the heroine of the trashy novel forming her corner of the Clinton scandals. Seduce us into accepting her into our homes and hearts for whatever role she decides to play in the future. Yes, there were icky sexual details and sentimental nonsense. There were tears, near the end of the first hour, and late in the second hour to keep wearying viewers hooked. But overall, Lewinsky's charm offensive showed someone having way too much fun.
AT LONG last, the young woman who was sexually exploited by the most powerful politician on the planet managed to exact her own brand of revenge. "I felt like a piece of trash. I felt dirty and I felt used and I was disappointed," Monica Lewinsky told Walters. In that, Lewinsky joins a long list of women abused by the man who, for reasons most decent people cannot explain, continues in residence in the White House. There is Gennifer Flowers who was used and abandoned. There's Juanita Broaddrick, who details a sexual assault. There's Paula Jones, sexually harassed in a Little Rock hotel. There's Kathleen Willey, groped in the Oval Office. So Lewinsky now feels dirty, used, disappointed. Well, so should anyone who ever thought Bill Clinton worthy of being president of the United States.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
BRASH, CONFIDENT and often-disturbingly glib, Lewinsky appeared to have been coached by the same people who teach Miss America contestants to answer each and every question with the widest possible smile. Only toward the end, as Walters asked Lewinsky about the effect on her parents and about possible suicidal thoughts, did Lewinsky succumb to the tears that are the hallmark of any Barbara Walters interview. Just as Paula Jones was repackaged for her 15 minutes of fame, Lewinsky got ready for her close-up with a sleek new 'do. While the clearance of the Lewinsky interview by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr might have been an indication that the former intern's story was winding down, events of the past 48 hours suggest that Lewinsky is still a moving target. If only she weren't also a giggling one.
Dallas Morning News
AS TELEVISION , this was pure performance art. Walters was a master inquisitor. It didn't matter if many or most viewers had read or heard the answers. People kept on going back to see Titanic for the human interplay rather than for the figurative train wreck.