Press Handling the Clinton Affair

Confronted with a tabloid's allegations and a candidate's denial, the mainstream media reacted with unusual restraint. Why then is the public dissatisfied?

- When actor Warren Beatty addressed the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1983, he asked the assembled power elite of print whether they thought their publications shared the same standards and values as the sensational tabloids sold in supermarkets. After the editors got over their astonishment that anyone would pose such a question, they responded with overwhelming denial. No rational adult, their reasoning went, would take such twaddle seriously as a source of news. Beatty responded that the chasm between serious reportage and junk journalism, so vast in the editors' minds, was far narrower in the minds of consumers --...

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