WASHINGTON -- Always in the center of Hillary Clinton's theory about a
"vast right-wing conspiracy" out to get her husband, is reclusive
Pittsburgh newspaper publisher, Richard Mellon Scaife.
Scaife, we are told, is obsessed with getting Clinton out of office and
throws money at any effort to undermine the administration.
Yet, the seminal report documenting this "vast, right-wing conspiracy,"
the White House's 331-page "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce,"
was hard-pressed to name very many participants in the plot. In fact, only
one actual working journalist is profiled in the voluminous report -- me.
I shouldn't have to say this, but, in an effort to derail the inevitable
attacks of the Clinton propaganda machine, I will swear that my
organization has received no funding from Scaife or his foundations since
early 1995, when they embarked on their so-called "Arkansas Project." Not
that it should make any difference, mind you. I'd be happy to accept
Scaife's money. There's nothing tainted about it.
Dozens and dozens of left-wing "philanthropists" are free to fund media
causes designed to make the president and government in general look good
without any criticism -- without any questions of conflict of interest. No
one gives it a second thought. No one suggests that journalists working for
such outfits are "hired guns." Why the double standard?
One interesting case study is the Internet's Salon Magazine. Salon is
well-known for supporting -- or at least excusing -- virtually anything the
Clinton administration does. Every issue contains at least one brazenly
apologetic ode to the White House. Attacking Clinton foes, like Independent
Counsel Kenneth Starr, is a mainstay of the journal.
"White House allies sometimes tout Salon pieces to reporters before they
are even posted on the Web," wrote Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post last
month. Salon's Washington correspondent, Jonathan Broder and frequent
contributor Joe Conason are longtime friends of White House attack dog
Not only is Salon a key component of a real, documented, bonafide
"left-wing conspiracy," it is also a classic illustration of what I call
the "government-media complex." Salon's staff is a pathetic collection of
privileged and coddled journalistic hacks serving not as watchdogs of
government, but as lapdogs.
So, who's behind Salon? Why aren't they asking that question at Time,
Newsweek and U.S. News? Why don't the Washington Post and New York Times do
investigative reports on the secret sugar daddies behind the government's
mouthpieces? Here's the secret money trail you won't see explored on "60
It turns out a major Democratic Party donor is one of the principal
backers of Salon. His name is William Hambrecht, a co-founder of Hambrecht
and Quist, a Silicon Valley investment banking firm. The company provided
venture capital investments to both Adobe and Apple, computer businesses
that also bankroll Salon. Hambrecht even serves on Adobe's board of
As recently as last February, Hambrecht hosted a $10,000-a-person
fund-raising dinner at his San Francisco home for Democratic House
candidates attended by President Clinton. Between 1991 and 1997, Hambrecht
contributed more than $284,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations
exclusively. John Warnock, the top executive of Adobe, contributed more
than $18,000 to Democratic office seekers. Steve Jobs, head of Apple, gave
$167,500 to the party's candidates.
Isn't it interesting to note how the White House is promoting favorite
Internet sites -- just as it once tried to recruit and push favored radio
talk-show hosts? The old threat to exposing White House lies was talk
radio. The new threat is the Internet. With WorldNetDaily and the
DrudgeReport becoming "the Rush Limbaughs of the Web," the government is
doing what it can for its friends -- finding investors, promoting sites,
even handing out "exclusives" actually unearthed by political private
So tell me something: If Dick Scaife's political opposition to Bill
Clinton is such big news, why isn't it equally newsworthy that partisans
like Hambrecht -- and a thousand others like him in the media -- are using
their own presses to push their own agendas?
After all, Scaife is accused of nothing more than funding, with his own
money, investigative reporting into the scandalous activities of arguably
the most corrupt administration in the history of America. The White House
has, at the same time, spent millions of taxpayer dollars trying to cover
up those scandals. Nevertheless, the media are able to spin citizen Scaife
into the bad guy and Clinton, the most powerful politician on the planet,
into the victim.
It makes you wonder. Why would Americans express more concern with one
renegade publisher who breaks ranks with the political culture of his
industry to criticize and expose government corruption than over the 99
percent of the publishers who choose the safe, pro-establishment, status
quo, see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil path?