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A Shadow & A Corpse In the Wake of Monica Lewinsky

A Shadow & A Corpse In the Wake of Monica Lewinsky
May 09
14:42 2014

Tina Brown, everyone’s favorite tantalizing editor of major media outlets such as Vanity FairThe New Yorker, and The Daily Beast, reminisces about How Monica Lewinsky Changed Media:

Now everyone leaking and tweeting and posting on everyone else is the acknowledged way to get ahead in the 21st century. The digitally native generation has no idea what has been lost to the freedom of intimacy that has no fear of being recorded. Monica’s new musings just remind us of how the death of privacy started. The press was at the height of its power when the Monica story began and Drudge was its underbelly.

The ascendant media that looked down on him has been pretty much destroyed. No one would have believed that that only 13 years later the Graham family would no longer own The Washington Post, that the two mighty news magazines would become a shadow and a corpse, and that the juggernaut CNN would be chasing the spoils won by cable TV’s counterpart to the Drudge Report, the Fox News Network. That too, is a story of humiliation. And not just hers.

As most of us know, the mainstream media is all but dead as it squabbles over a few hundred thousand viewers, while alternative media outlets are swelling into audiences of millions a day. Such as the Drudge Report, which really got its start by exposing the Bill Clinton affair with Monica Lewinsky after Newsweek refused to break the story.

Brown bemoans the lack of privacy and frothing, lip-smacking obsession over gossip-fueled media (which really she is the queen of), which she blames Drudge for stoking. but she doesn’t acknowledge a different kind of privacy that has been destroyed, to a degree, by popular alternative news sites, many of which are promoted and picked up by Matt Drudge for his millions of website visitors.

Without alternative media, Americans would not know about Bradley Manning or his illegal solitary confinement for over 1000 days. President Obama said he was guilty even before there was a trial. The United Nations explored whether Manning’s being locked up, kept in his underwear, and getting only one hour of physical exercise in another tiny room, constituted torture.

While there is little privacy for celebrity affairs and gossip around Hollywood, there was far too much privacy on the issues that mattered. From Gary Webb’s spot-on reporting about the CIA shipping drugs into Los Angeles and knowingly sparking the crack-cocaine nightmare in Southern California, to the “we aren’t using predator drones, that’s a conspiracy theory” rhetoric of the first few years of the Obama administration as they, through their mouthpiece Robert Gibbs, lied to the American public.

So thank the Lord the CNN juggernaut is breathing its last. I wish I could be the one to slam the sword through its clotted heart. Thank God the New York Times and the Washington Post are crumbling pillars to the no longer sacred ranks of official, established media. They are the ones who belittled people like Gary Webb and destroyed his career for the rest of his life, despite his accusations being proved correct decades later by declassified CIA documents.

Matt Drudge has certainly played a role in using his platform as a megaphone to strengthen the voices of many dissenters who would otherwise be repelled by the force field that once protected our news moguls as they decided what was fit, and what wasn’t, for American minds.

[Tina Brown at Financial Times party, photo by Financial Times]

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