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Susan McDougal, Unfiltered

The Whitewater figure is interviewed by NewsMax, and they almost make up for their previous insults.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/11/2000

Somebody slipped up.

That may be the best explanation for NewsMax deviating from its usual one-sided coverage of all things Clinton by letting Susan McDougal have her say with a relative minimum of disparaging comments.

NewsMax posted the interview with the Whitewater scandal figure July 8, following her speech to the American Bar Association's Committee on Women in Criminal Justice in New York City. In the interview, she blames Hickman Ewing for the death of her ex-husband, Jim McDougal, in prison, calls independent counsel Ken Starr "absolutely the most dishonorable, despicable person I had ever seen in my life" and defends Hillary Clinton.

You do have to get through a few misleading paragraphs to get to the interview, though. The story's headline trumpets McDougal calling Hillary "scary" — to sucker in the Clinton-haters who frequent NewsMax, no doubt — but this is explained away in the first three paragraphs with the full quote: "I mean, she's a scary woman. You should have her. She'll go after what she believes in and I doubt that anyone could stand up to her." NewsMax also gets in a few other digs, calling her the "stonewalling Whitewater witness" and the woman whose decision not to cooperate with prosecutors likely saved Hillary's husband from indictment."

Once readers get past that sort of stuff, they will be exposed to a point of view rarely expressed on NewsMax.

We mentioned earlier that there were a "relative minimum of disparaging comments" in this article. Relative to what? A June 10 NewsMax article announcing McDougal's speaking engagement, filled with all sorts of innuendo and misinformation.

The article insinuates that McDougal refused to testify in the Whitewater investigation -- which led to an 18-month prison term for civil contempt -- because she had an affair with President Clinton. (Wonder why this question didn't pop up in the interview?) It accuses McDougal of getting out of prison simply because "jail gave her a backache," not noting that she was being held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison, unheard of for someone serving a sentence for contempt of court. It is not noted anywhere that McDougal was acquitted of criminal contempt charges over the issue in a 1999 trial, or the reason she refused to testify in the first place -- that prosecutors wanted her to lie so that the Clintons could be charged with a crime.

The article also paints McDougal as being on a "score-settling mission" against Starr, "seeking to paint herself as a victim of a partisan witchunt before various sympathetic audiences." Which could also be an apt description of Linda Tripp, by the way.

The June 10 article concludes: "Those attending the July 7 event will pay $35.00 each for the pleasure of hearing Mrs. Clinton's ex-business partner opine on 'women in criminal justice.'" It looks like that while NewsMax may be $35 poorer for sending a reporter to McDougal's speech, its readers got a rich reading experience because, for once, they heard a different view of the "Clinton scandals."

It must have been a slip-up.

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