Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Bill Clinton Hyperbole, Pro and Con

The former President has "helped save the lives of 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency." Anyone who doubts that can check with his office.

If Scott McClellan thinks he was pummeled for turning on George W. Bush, he might want to consider the fate of former New York Times reporter Todd Purdum for stirring the wrath of Bill Clinton this weekend with a profile in Vanity Fair.

“A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece," says a statement from aides to the former President, "repeats many past attacks on him, ignores much prior positive coverage, includes numerous errors, and ultimately breaks no new ground. It is, in short, journalism of personal destruction at its worst.”

The screed goes on to huff, "Most revealing is one simple fact: President Clinton has helped save the lives of 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency, and Vanity Fair couldn’t find time to talk to even one of them for comment."

If other journalists ask politely, may they have the names and phone numbers of a few hundred thousand to interview?

What we have here is hyperbole run amok on both sides of the journalistic equation, the Clinton people in their outrage outdoing the VF piece, heavily laced with anonymous sources, about their idol's "post-White House escapades, from the dubious (and secretive) business associations to the media blowups that have bruised his wife’s campaign, to the private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinged posse."

Now, if both sides will calm down and tell us what they really think, we may be able to make some sober judgments about the liveliest White House occupant in American history.

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