The Daily Beast talked to some of the most notorious Clinton-haters of the 1990s, and finds that many of them have kept their hatred stoked for lo these many years. At the top of that list, of course, is WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, who still clings to many of the old Clinton conspiracies, like the death of Vince Voster:
“We were simply asking questions about the death of a high-ranking administration official in very peculiar circumstances, and we were just supposed to accept the conventional answers even though when you look at the forensic evidence there were a lot of questions,” said Joseph Farah, the editor of WND.com and the former head of the Western Journalism Center
In 1996, the Columbia Journalism Review described the WJC as dedicated to “trying to inject the dark view of Foster’s death into mainstream reporting and thinking. Last year, to this end, the Center bought full-page ads in several major newspapers, including The New York Times… to offer for sale special Vince Foster reports.”
That Foster was murdered, Farah says now, “is not something you will ever see me saying. I am a journalist. I don’t draw conclusions unless there is proper evidence for it. I don’t what happened but I don’t think he committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park.”
Of course, Farah is being utterly disingenuous. If you reject the idea that Foster committed suicide, the only other possible conclusion you can come to is that he was murdered.
But that's not the only thing Farah is willing to lie about. He even denies being a Clinton-hater, even though WND's early days were dripping with hatred for Clintbn:
“They called us Clinton-haters. I was never a hater,” Farah says. “But you could certainly say I was one of his enemies.”
And even with the remove of two decades, Farah stands by his reporting—although he acknowledges that not all of it was in the tradition of even-handed journalism.
“Accurate? Yes. Fairness is a nice thing that we try to do in journalism. We don’t want to smear people. We don’t want to be untruthful. But the most important thing is holding power accountable, and that is what we tried to do.”
As we have seen with WND's coverage of Obama, Farah has absolutely no problem smearing people and being untruthful.
By contrast, Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy has tried to distance himself from his Clinton-era excesses:
“At the time, I think I was just trying to do a good job as a journalist, but it was to just get caught up in this anti-Clinton movement and belief that he was a bad guy no matter what he did,” said Chris Ruddy, CEO of the conservative media company NewsMax, and close ally at the time of both Scaife and Farah.
“It becomes almost like trench warfare. You have a permanent stalemate and a permanent sense of war and anger and it keeps escalating and there is nobody to bring a truce,” Ruddy said.
He found his way out of the hysteria, he says, during the Bush years, a period which by comparison made Clinton look sober and judicious. At New York City Mayor Ed Koch’s urging, Ruddy and Scaife reached out to Clinton, and met with him for lunch at his Harlem office in 2007.
Now, he says, “I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I think that at the time I was acting as the opposition press. Do I think it was over the top? Yes. This was 20 years ago. It was my first big adventure in journalism. I was caught up in the moment. You live and learn and you grow. Do I think it was a mistake to be attacking the president? Um… Yes, in the way I did, yes.”
Of course, true believer Farah was having none of that:
“Scaife and Ruddy have run from what they did,” said Farah. “Without any real explanation that makes any sense. You won’t see them talking about Vince Foster any more. They think Clinton has grown up since leaving the presidency, that he is somehow a changed man. Well, maybe they are the ones that changed.”
Farah has not changed -- he's as willing to spew hate and lies as ever.