The White House smells a conspiracy
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Monday 13 January 1997
Her sexual harassment charges and the publicity accorded them are fruit of a deliberate conspiracy, stretching from the American right to the British tabloids, cooked up to defame Bill Clinton and if possible hound him from office.
With a paranoia reminiscent of the least glorious moments of the Nixon administration, the White House last week made public a 331-page report entitled "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce".
This contains hundreds of press articles, but prize exhibit is an alleged media chain, purporting to show how allegations of White House skulduggery and scandal find their way from obscure thinktanks to the mainstream media.
The Jones affair, which arose from the 1993 "Troopergate" revelations from members of then-Governor Clinton's security detail about his sexual adventuring in Arkansas, is but one example. Others include some of the more lurid Whitewater subplots, and the reports that former White House counsel Vince Foster did not kill himself in July 1993 but was murdered.
The conspiracy begins with "well-funded right-wing think-tanks and individuals". These feed their fantasies through British tabloids and conservative United States papers to the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The study has earned the White House nothing but derision - not least because the US media is far too disorganised to conduct a conspiracy. It also makes a few errors of fact. "Troopergate" was in part uncovered by the super-respectable Los Angeles Times. Far more credit is moreover due to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the indefatigable if eccentric Washington correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph (surely no tabloid?), whose burrowing into the darkest recesses of Clintonian Arkansas make him a pioneer in the field.
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