DeFede is filled with self-pity about the difficulty of his going "after dishonest and unethical local politicians when the vast majority of Americans believe it is all right for Clinton to commit perjury, obstruct justice, and spew one bald-faced lie after another." The American public does not believe anything close to what DeFede states, but rather we tend to put our trust in the sort of due process that ousted from office three of his examples and denied the fourth a confirmation.
Isn't Bill Clinton the subject of an ongoing legal process, of which the Starr report was the first step? Do we wait for it to play out as we did with O.J. Simpson and Oliver North, or do we denominate ourselves as privileged persons, members of an elite press who need no such proceedings to arrive at a guilty verdict, quite able to convict on the basis of our own "insider" indictments? Did Clinton commit perjury? Why wait to find out? Did Clinton obstruct justice? Why not just take our friendly prosecutor's word for it? Should the American public continue to assess a public figure in the broad context of his or her times, overall motivations and intentions, tone, bearing, statements, and pattern of actions, or should we become schooled by DeFede and his colleagues in the investigative reporter's minimalist moralistic practice of Gotcha!, which assumes that if we uncover something fishy in a person's life, the entire life is thereby a proper target for self-righteous condemnation?
Besides being simple-minded, this approach contains a pervasive dynamic in contemporary journalism -- namely, affording an opportunity for journalists to characterize themselves as significant figures, crusaders for truth and justice, unappreciated arbiters of public morality, a far grander role, we must presume, than that of a plain reporter of the facts.
DeFede has himself committed a major felony in imposing upon us, his readers, an overwritten, ponderous excursion into high school humor and sophomore civics. For this he should be truly sorry, offer us a noncynical apology, and be forgiven.
Truly Sorry about Printing This Puerile Joke
I am shocked and appalled at the inferences in "I Am Truly Sorry." The head of our country said he was wrong and that he was sorry for having misled the people. Is DeFede forgetting that if there was not penetration, there must be exoneration?
Truly Sorry about Not Being 100% Lewinsky-Free
Jim DeFede does not realize that to most people, the issue is not whether Clinton lied but why he was asked in the first place. Does the word "materiality" mean anything to Mr. DeFede? How did we get from real estate to sexual harassment to "contact with the genitalia?"
It's not local politics we're talking about here, it's the presidency, and one man's unprecedented, unconstitutional, and therefore illegal attempt to bury the President of the United States. If the people prosecuting Joe Gersten or Bruce Kaplan or Humberto Hernandez had also broken the law or used illegal evidence in trying their cases, would that have mattered? How quickly we forget that one cannot break the law in order to catch criminals.
His Idea, Not Ours
This is in response to Ted B. Kissell's article "Monumental Ambivalence" (September 24), which closes with a quote from Jose Argote in which he states that the memorial to Jorge Mas Canosa in Miami Beach is "an initiative of the Latin Chamber of Miami Beach."
I would like to clarify that this monument is not an initiative of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Miami Beach but rather an initiative by Luis Hernandez, who has spearheaded this effort independent of the Latin Chamber. The fact that he is the president of the Latin Chamber has no relationship to his proposal or efforts to erect the monument. With all due respect to Mr. Hernandez and the memory of Jorge Mas Canosa, the Latin Chamber has not been involved in the process of soliciting funds, making presentations or requests, or receiving any funding for this purpose.
Grace Calvani, executive director
Latin Chamber of Commerce of Miami Beach
My Idea and Proud of It
I would like to include here part of my conversation with Ted B. Kissell that was not included in his article "Monumental Ambivalence."
I explained that the rationale behind recognizing the memory of Jorge Mas Canosa in Miami Beach was that Mr. Mas Canosa was a freedom fighter all his life and he and the organization he founded, the Cuban American National Foundation, have done more than any other organization on behalf of Cuban political refugees all over the world. A statue will help perpetuate the memory of his deeds so future generations of Cubans do not forget the high price paid in the fight for Cuban freedom; and after the liberation of Cuba is achieved, the high price paid for Cuba's liberty.