Same Old Song…Here Ruining People Is Considered Sport
On July 20th, 1993 Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster’s body was found in Fort Marcy Park in Virginia. After an investigation, the Park Police concluded that Mr. Foster’s death had been a suicide.
A subsequent investigation by Independent Counsel Ken Starr which concluded on October 11th 1997, quoted Robert Langston, Chief of the Park Police, in a joint announcement with the Department of Justice and the FBI, explaining the conclusion:
The condition of the scene, the medical examiner’s findings and the information gathered clearly indicate that Mr. Foster committed suicide. Without an eyewitness, the conclusion of suicide is deducted after a review of the injury, the presence of the weapon, the existence of some indicators of a reason, and the elimination of murder. Our investigation has found no evidence of foul play. The information gathered from associates, relatives and friends provide us with enough evidence to conclude that Mr. Foster’s … that Mr. Foster was anxious about his work and he was distressed to the degree that he took his own life.
In the fall of 1993, on a chartered boat, during a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay, the “Arkansas Project” was conceived. Among those on board the boat were R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., of the American Spectator and Richard M. Larry, senior aide to Richard Mellon Scaife, owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, who would later become one of the three largest stockholders of Christopher Ruddy’s Newsmax.
As the New York Times reported, Scaife had contributed $1.8 million to the Spectator that “was specifically allocated to obtain information about the activities of Mr. Clinton and his wife, Hillary,” and “a significant but undisclosed payment to an unidentified licensed private investigator in Arkansas to look into the Clintons’ background.”
That unidentified investigator was one Rex Armistead, who, among other things, "specialized in political dirty tricks on behalf of Republican candidates".
Christopher Ruddy, who also received funding from Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNet Daily, would work on maligning the Clintons for the Tribune Review. David Brock, would write his "memorable and lurid "Troopergate" assault on the Clintons’ morals and lifestyle," which "unearthed the Paula Jones episode," for the American Spectator. Even Jerry Falwell got in on the action.
By 1997, despite the findings of the Starr Report, Ruddy and Farah would continue to work to make sure theories connecting the Clintons to Foster’s death persisted. Brock would have a change of heart, but two books and one website later, the Arkansas Project would live on.
Of course, it’s not called the Arkansas Project anymore, and the focus has changed. Today President Barack Obama occupies the White House.
In 2008 Jerome Corsi, in an attempt to "keep Obama from getting elected," penned The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. Here Corsi concocted a paranoid series of "unsupported conjecture[s], half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods," one of which was that Obama "might be a citizen of Kenya." Corsi, it should be noted, is a seinor staff writer for Farah’s WorldNet Daily.
It might not surprise one to learn that after the claim had been debunked, WorldNet continued to disseminate claims of conspiracy. It also probably wouldn’t be shocking to learn that Newsmax, with Ruddy still at the helm, would be playing the same song.
It seems to me it is no coincidence that these kind of tactics continue to be employed inside the beltway, now focused on the health care debate. Even Washington outsiders are in on the fun. The same old song, played over and over again by the same writers and organizations.
In order to avoid making use of a particular term because we have, as George Orwell bemoaned, "degrade[d] it to the level of a swearword", I will simply state that these are not the tactics of a group of people who value Democracy and open public debate. They are the tactics of a group of people who are deeply afraid of losing their grip on the reigns of power. These are the tactics of bullies and cowards.
Indeed, politics ain’t beanbag. Here ruining people is considered sport.