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16 November 1998

Read on: Passing sentence

Synopsis: The New York Times has now written one sentence about Linda Tripp’s grand jury testimony.

Judiciary Committee Gets Starr’s Evidence on Willey
Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, 11/14/98

Starr adds to evidence
Jerry Seper and Frank J. Murray, The Washington Times, 11/14/98

Stop the presses! The New York Times has now made its first mention of Linda Tripp’s grand jury testimony about Kathleen Willey. Here it is, in full:

SCHMITT: But inconsistencies in Ms. Willey’s account quickly emerged. One friend, Linda R. Tripp, testified to the grand jury that Ms. Willey was trying to promote an “ongoing flirtation” with Mr. Clinton.

There it is--the sum total of New York Times reporting to date on the Tripp grand jury account! For the record, what we have quoted is the 21st paragraph of Schmitt’s page ten story, written six weeks after the release of Tripp’s testimony.

As we have noted, Times columnists fell all over themselves back in March to assure readers that Willey was truthful (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/2/98). Schmitt’s one buried sentence is the Times’ great commitment to telling its readers that Willey’s account has been massively challenged.

But readers of the Times should consider themselves lucky. In last Saturday’s Washington Times, Jerry Seper and Frank Murray penned a page-one account of Starr’s referrals to Congress. And, though they somehow found space to include Willey’s complaints that strange things have happened to her favorite pet cat, they found no room to mention, at any point, Tripp’s testimony contradicting Kathleen Willey.

Yep. The Soviet-style press is alive and well in D.C. Readers read stories the editors like. Six weeks after the release of Tripp’s testimony, WashTimes readers haven’t heard it exists. The Washington Times just Kathleen Willey. It ain’t gonna mess with her story.