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Despite Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s unequivocal assertions that
White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster killed himself in Fort Marcy Park
in July 1993, the American people are still not buying the lie.
My organization, the Western Journalism Center, commissioned the Zogby
America Poll to ask several key questions about the Foster case in its most
recent scientific survey of 948 adults nationwide — conducted Feb. 15-17.
John Zogby, by the way, is one of the most reputable and accurate pollsters
in the business. He was the only major national pollster to predict the
results of the 1996 presidential race to the exact percentage points for
all three major candidates. This latest poll has a margin of sampling error
of plus or minus 3 percent. Here’s what we found.
A large plurality of those questioned, 46.1 percent, say they are still
not sure what happened to Foster. A staggering 21.9 percent believe he was
murdered, while only 31.9 percent accept the official suicide story.
By nearly two to one, 44.4 percent to 23.2 percent, respondents agree
that there was a government cover-up involving the facts and circumstances
of Foster’s death, while one in three, 32.4 percent, are not sure.
Democrats are evenly divided about whether or not there was a cover-up,
32.8 percent agree while 34.7 percent disagree. Republicans, meanwhile,
overwhelmingly believe there was — 62.4 percent to 11.2 percent.
Clearly, Americans do not trust Starr’s findings. When asked that
specific question, only 30.7 percent said they did, while 34.3 percent did
not. Another 34.9 percent were not sure.
Isn’t this interesting? It makes you wonder where Americans are getting
their information these days. Foster’s death has been reported
matter-of-factly by the establishment press as a suicide almost from day
one. Only one American reporter, Christopher Ruddy, and one national news
organization, this one, has raised facts that tend to contradict or
question the assertion by the U.S. Park Police, the FBI, Special Counsel
Robert Fiske, congressional investigators and, most recently, Starr.
It is gratifying that we have made such an impact on the American
psyche. But it is frustrating that the government remains so unresponsive
to the general public’s widespread doubts.
It’s also frustrating and disheartening that there is, apparently,
nowhere else to turn for the truth — for answers to questions that have
never been addressed, to glaring contradictions in the official reports, to
inconsistencies in the findings.
When asked by the pollster if Congress should hold public hearings on
Foster’s death, 47.2 percent said no, while 34.3 percent said yes. Despite
their grave doubts about the official stories, apparently Americans believe
it would be a waste of time to expect Congress to get to the truth. Do you
know what? I have to agree with them. When was the last time we saw this
Congress actually get to the bottom of a scandal? It simply hasn’t
happened. The Republican leadership has proven itself incapable or
unwilling to expose real corruption in the system — whether we’re talking
about Travelgate, Filegate, campaign financing or Whitewater.
And what does this latest poll tell us about the public’s faith in
Kenneth Starr to root out corruption in the other scandals he is currently
investigating? It sounds to me like the best thing Starr could do to
restore public trust in the system would be to remove himself from the
Office of Independent Counsel as quickly as possible. Go to Pepperdine, Mr.
Starr. You’ve failed.
No matter where you currently stand on this issue, I urge you to read
Christopher Ruddy’s definitive book, “The Strange Death of Vincent Foster.”
Though sales of the book remain brisk, Ruddy’s work has still failed to
grab the attention it deserves from the establishment press. I dare say
that if most Americans had read this important book, the poll numbers would
be far more lopsided — especially on the issue of cover-up.
For even Ruddy has never asserted that Foster was murdered. That’s why
it is so surprising that one-fifth of the American public has made that
assumption based on their own assessment of the facts.
Perhaps we’ll never know exactly what happened to Vincent Foster. And
that’s a tragedy not only for his family but for the American people. For
if we as a nation can’t get to the truth about the suspicious death of one
of the president’s closest friends and highest-ranking advisers, then what
can we count on the government to do?