The Worst Scandals of 1998

  • Share
  • Read Later
1. THE SCANDAL ... before which all others pale: 1998 dawned with wild allegations about the plump intern and the plumper--and older, and married--President. The year was consumed with salacious details of the affair between Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and the constellation of characters sucked--some willingly--into the vortex of their, er, passion. As the year ends, most Americans now consider the witch hunt even more scandalous than the President's lurid peccadilloes.2. CROOKED COPS Belgian police burned the tattered remains of their reputation. In April, alleged pedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux overpowered a guard and escaped for three hours. Later, two gendarmes suffocated a Nigerian asylum-seeker they were trying to deport.3. LOVE AND WARSHIPS French headlines were devoted to the relationship between former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and his mistress Christine Deviers-Joncourt, for whom he allegedly helped land a $130,000-a-year lobbyist position with the state-owned Elf oil company. Worse, Dumas is suspected of getting a cut of the $9 million commission Elf paid Deviers-Joncourt to help promote the 1991 sale of six French warships to Taiwan.4. OH, BROTHER If Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah felt poorer for losing his title as World's Richest Man to Bill Gates, he must have felt destitute after learning that brother Prince Jefri had supposedly funneled funds from the state investment agency to his own, money-losing consortium of companies.5. EGG-STAINED WRETCHES America's media had a tough year. New Republic hotshot Stephen Glass was axed for fabricating many of his features, while the Boston Globe fired two columnists for similarly egregious fiction-writing. And CNN and TIME face lawsuits over a broadcast and article--both later retracted--that accused the U.S. military of using sarin nerve gas during the Vietnam War.PAGE 1  |  
There was more than just Monica
Nothing could touch Saving Private Ryan
Tom Wolfe returned as the novelist in full
France's World Cup of joy brimmed over
Seinfeld's sayonara was much ado about nothing
No prizes for guessing The Big One
A noble winner--and a pair of Nobel losers
Saving Suriname ... and the swordfish
 
6. CHINA HAND Rupert Murdoch tried to stroke officials in Beijing by instructing his HarperCollins unit to reject a book by ex-Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, supposedly for being too dull. Patten reportedly won a six-figure settlement, an unreserved apology from Murdoch--and warm reviews for the hard-hitting East and West, published by Macmillan Books.7. ABUSE OF POWER When Zoilamerica Narvaez Murillo, 31, accused stepfather Daniel Ortega of sexually molesting and abusing her since the age of 11, she accused as well the father of Nicaragua's Sandinista revolution.8. GAY LONDON Welsh Secretary Ron Davies told police that he had been robbed on Clapham Common--an area favored by cruising homosexuals--and set off a series of controversies over the outing of gays in Britain's Labour government. A respected and openly gay newspaper columnist announced that Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson was certainly gay. (Mandelson never issued a denial.) A tabloid said the same of Agricultural Minister Nick Brown, who acknowledged the fact.9. FULL MONTY Singer George Michael hit a low note when he was arrested in a Beverly Hills park for committing a lewd act. Three days later he went on CNN to apologize to fans and to reveal his homosexuality. Last month he released a sassy video parodying intrusive vice cops.10. BEANIE BROUHAHA U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky sparked a mini-scandal when she returned from the presidential trip to China with a stash of 43 coveted Beanie Babies--42 more than U.S. Customs regulations allow. Republicans bashed her, prompting Barshefsky to apologize to reporters, offering the defense: I'm a mother. She surrendered the booty to authorities.  |  2
There was more than just Monica
Nothing could touch Saving Private Ryan
Tom Wolfe returned as the novelist in full
France's World Cup of joy brimmed over
Seinfeld's sayonara was much ado about nothing
No prizes for guessing The Big One
A noble winner--and a pair of Nobel losers
Saving Suriname ... and the swordfish