The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: What

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The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: What

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 12:21 am

The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: What we’ve learned in the years between the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and today’s age of Twitter mobs.
by Bethany Mandel
April 26, 2016

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What would major events of the ‘90s have been like if they took place today, in the age of social media and overcooked thinkpieces and #hottakes as far as the eye can read? If every minor event goes viral, how would the already viral stories of the Clinton era have played out? Would the blatant misogyny toward Monica Lewinsky have been called out?

The 1998 Lewinsky scandal was responsible for a number of national “firsts”: the story made Matt Drudge famous and popularized online news, it came the closest to taking the Clintons down, and made Lewinsky the first victim of Internet shaming. It was one of the first stories of the 24-hour news cycle we’re so used to today.

While many Americans then relied on television for their news, the X-rated nature of the scandal sent many to the Internet, where journalistic standards were lower and tolerance for salacious intrigue higher. Lewinsky wasn’t just humiliated on the nightly news, but also every time someone sent an email about her or pulled up the Starr report on their computers.

Jon Ronson of The Guardian literally wrote the book on the Internet public shaming epidemic, aptly titled “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” Last week, Ronson finally landed an interview with the woman who unfortunately blazed the shame trail for many, and who weathered the worst abuse by far, even considering the absence of social media at the time.

Aren’t We Beyond Public Shaming?

Ronson asked Lewinsky if she would have been spared today, considering the hypersensitivity of many in the media to misogyny. Although Lewinsky uses leftist terminology (“when something hits a core trauma –- I actually got really retriggered”), she doesn’t seem to think this supposed sensitivity would protect her. Ronson references notable feminists lining up to take pot shots at Lewinsky, “slut-shaming” her. He writes:

I hope those mainstream voices wouldn’t treat Lewinsky quite this badly if the scandal broke today. Nowadays most people understand those jokes to be slut-shaming, punching down, don’t they?

‘I hope so,’ Lewinsky says. ‘I don’t know.’


Because of the work of anti-bullying advocates, including Ronson and Lewinsky herself, we are far more attuned to what bullying looks like, and how to respond to it. While we obviously can’t recreate the biggest new story of the ’90s as a case study, nor have there been sex scandals even close to that of Lewinsky’s, a year and a half ago a viral public shaming destroyed the life, and career, of a young woman working in politics.

It wasn’t a sex scandal, though. That, paradoxically, probably worked against her.

Our Double Standard Hasn’t Ended

Thanksgiving weekend 2014 was the worst of Elizabeth Lauten’s life. The headlines screamed “GOP Staffer Opens Fire on Obama Girls.” The reality was much more benign. In an off-hand and barely deliberated Facebook post, Lauten criticized the demeanor of President Obama’s daughters at the traditional White House turkey pardoning ceremony.

News trucks were parked outside her parents’ home, and Lauten greeted dozens of death threats every time she opened Twitter.


A Facebook friend took a screenshot, which was sent to the media, and soon Lauten’s boss was accepting her resignation, news trucks were parked outside her parents’ home, and Lauten greeted dozens of death threats every time she opened Twitter, Facebook, or her email. She became a household name for all of the wrong reasons. Blonde and beautiful, Lauten became the target of Obama fans, many of whom likely fancy themselves feminists, obsessing over her physical appearance.

The attention was unrelenting, and soon reporters were digging into her past, including an arrest for shoplifting in her teens. For one Facebook post, visible to friends-only on her personal account, the media and the public zeroed in on the staffer of a little-known congressman. Those who fancied themselves the defenders of the Obama girls against bullying bullied a young woman for a Facebook post until her entire life was destroyed. Lauten lost her job and had her resignation letter published in every major newspaper while living in a town where one’s career is one’s entire identity.

As Mollie Hemingway pointed out at the time, the guns of the progressive Left and its media allies were aimed on Lauten the same week a Democratic staffer was sentenced for rape. Rape seems a tad more newsworthy than a mean Facebook post, but I suppose if you’re a leftist social-justice warrior in the mood to ruin someone’s life, the weaker the victim the better.

Monica Lewinsky Was a Trial Run

Why was the pressure on Lauten instead of Donny Ray Williams Jr. (the aforementioned rapist)? Here the Lewinsky interview is illustrative: “whatever mistakes I made, I was hung out to dry by a lot of people -– by a lot of the feminists who had loud voices. I wish it had been handled differently. It was very scary and very confusing to be a young woman thrust on to the world stage and not belonging to any group. I didn’t belong to anybody.”

Like Lewinsky, Lauten didn’t belong to anyone willing to defend her against the mob.


Mollie’s piece in defense of Lauten was the exception, not the rule. Few, even in the conservative media, took the time to point out the insanity of the feeding frenzy surrounding the staffer. Like Lewinsky, Lauten didn’t belong to anyone willing to defend her against the mob. The media took aim and unrelentingly sought (and achieved) Lauten’s total destruction. Upon another Lewinsky-like event, if the victim is inconvenient to feminists, they’ll be joining the piranhas instead of playing defense, just as they did to the White House intern.

In other words, the socio-cultural gatekeepers in the press did learn a lesson from l’affaire Lewinsky: How to effectively destroy the life of anyone who gets in the way.

Bethany Mandel is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist and a freelance writer on politics and culture.
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Re: The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: W

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 2:29 am

GOP Staffer's Shocking Attack On Sasha & Malia Obama Causes Outrage
by Erin Donnelly
Nov. 29, 2014

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UPDATE: Elizabeth Lauten has told NBC News that she will resign from her role as communications director for Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee.

Slut-shaming teenage girls? Unacceptable. Slut-shaming teenage girls who happen to be the daughters of President Obama, and all for no good reason? Still unacceptable, and hopefully grounds for GOP staffer Elizabeth Lauten to be fired and thrown out on her judgmental ass.

Here's the deal: Malia and Sasha Obama joined their father this week for his annual pardon of two spared-from-Thanksgiving turkeys. The girls — who are 16 and 13, respectively — had very little airtime, simply standing to the side and letting Dad do his thing. Despite reports from Us Weekly that the First Daughters were rolling their eyes, the girls were out of shot for most of the video and didn't seem visibly annoyed at any point.



However, Lauten, who is Congressman Stephen Fincher's communications director, took it upon herself to send an open letter to the Obama girls. She's apparently an expert on class, so she chose the super-classy route of posting it on her Facebook page. Here's her statement to the girls, which has since been deleted:

Image

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get your both in those awful teen years but you're a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again, your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot in a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, White House events.”


In her spare time when @DCGopGirl is not doing work for @RepFincherTN08 she shames teenagers on Facebook pic.twitter.com/jgeuxJqlYW
— Yesha (@YeshaCallahan) November 28, 2014


So, yeah. A grown woman who is paid to communicate effectively just told two young girls that they look like they belong in a bar. (By the way, Lauten, when she's not busy tweeting about Dancing with the Stars, spends a lot of time talking about her fondness for "pink, green, and pearls.") She also thinks that every person in Ferguson should have been thrown in jail.

Our faith in humanity was restored when Lauten received lots of backlash for the offensive tweet. She later issued an apology (also since-deleted) on Facebook.

"I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager," Lauten wrote. "After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace [sic] in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."

Can the Obama girls get that in writing? Stay classy, Lauten. (Gawker)
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Re: The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: W

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 2:37 am

Elizabeth Lauten: GOP staffer who slammed Malia and Sasha Obama resigns: When first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama acted like teenagers at the White House Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony, it somehow became a big deal on social media. Should children of the president ever be political targets?
by Brad Knickerbocke
November 30, 2014

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[Updated Monday, Dec. 1 at 2:30 pm] Elizabeth Lauten, the Republican political staffer who criticized Malia and Sasha Obama’s demeanor and dress at the White House Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony last week, has resigned.

Ms. Lauten, whose Facebook posting had slammed the first daughters- – and their parents -– later apologized online for her “hurtful words” and “judgmental feelings” which, she wrote, “truly have no pace in my heart.”

Lauten, communications director for US Rep. Stephen Fincher, (R) Tennessee, resigned Monday, according to several news sources.

Here’s the original Monitor story posted Sunday:

You never know how the children of US presidents will turn out. One named “Adams” followed his father to the White House. “Bush” too. Others have been, shall we say, less distinguished.

But if the presidential children are very young during those years when Dad (or one day, perhaps, Mom) works downstairs in the Oval Office, then they are supposed to be off-limits to snide political commentary. They are, after all, prisoners in a public fishbowl over which they had no say.

Sen. John McCain found that out when he had to apologize for a particularly vile joke he made about a very young Chelsea Clinton involving then-first lady Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Janet Reno.

It happened again over the Thanksgiving weekend when an until-now relatively unknown political staffer went public (on Facebook, of course) with a slam at first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama.

The scene was set when the President -– in this case a prisoner of seasonal commerce and tradition himself -– granted the annual obligatory pardon for a turkey, which had been presented as if it was the high point of their lives by a couple of grinning turkey wranglers.

Obama did his duty, as all presidents do, keeping it light, trying to be funny about a large, clueless bird named “Cheese,” whose relatives were destined for slaughter and consumption by carnivores.

“I am here to announce what I’m sure will be the most talked-about executive action this month. Today, I’m taking an action fully within my legal authority,” Obama quipped. “I know some will call this amnesty, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of turkey to go around.”

Get it? “Executive action ... amnesty?” A little joke about immigration?

Standing nearby were first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, teenagers acting predictably when Dad makes lame jokes and even asks if they want to pet “Cheese.” Which is to say, with that unique teen combination of boredom, embarrassment, and horror.

That was just too much for some conservative commentators, who felt the need to weigh in -– not only on the girls’ turkey response but on their appearance.

“I don’t think you would have ever seen the Bush daughters in dresses that short. Class is completely absent from this White House,” sniffed Amanda Shea at a web site called “Mad World News,” which describes itself as “firmly devoted to bringing you the truth and the stories that the mainstream media ignores.”

But it was Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for US Rep. Stephen Fincher, (R) of Tennessee, who has gotten the most attention.

On Facebook she wrote:

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get your both in those awful teen years but you're a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again, your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot in a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, White House events.”

Social media went nuts, some of those posting accused Ms. Lauten of racism or of “slut-shaming” the girls for their short skirts. #FireElizabethLauten became an instant Twitter hashtag.

Rep. Fincher did not fire Lauten, but one imagines that they might have had a little chat. By Friday, Lauten had posted again on Facebook.

“I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager,” she wrote. “After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”

Isn't it interesting that she consulted Mom and Dad.
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Re: The Monica Lewinsky Feeding Frenzy Was Just a Dry Run: W

Postby admin » Fri May 20, 2016 10:48 pm

Excerpt from "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton"
by Kathleen Willey
© 2007 by Kathleen Willey

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The casualness of the Clinton crowd did not fit in the White House. It doesn't matter how casual the president is, nor does it matter that he came from Arkansas or that he's as popular as a rock star. It should not have been that way. It was inappropriate and wrong. It diminished the integrity of the White House from the top down.

According to Linda, during the Reagan administration, men were required to wear a suit and tie to enter the Oval Office. George H.W. Bush did Reagan one better. In Bush's White House, women weren't even allowed to wear pants -- dresses only! That's very sexist, but at least he upheld a sense of decorum. Believing in the dignity of the presidency, these leaders afforded due respect to the White House and to the office. Not so with the Clintons.

On three-day weekends and days when most of the workers were gone, President Clinton was known to walk around the White House wearing jeans, and James Carville and his cast of characters would also come in jeans, with their shirts out. I even heard they would sprawl on the sofa, eating pizza in the Oval Office and resting their feet on the desk -- Jack Kennedy's desk. I thought to myself, This is just not right!

Ann Stock confirmed this to Bernstein. The Clintons' gang "treated the White House as if it were a campaign venue," Stock told him. "They didn't really understand the significance of the president's house.'" [7]

The first lady was someone else who didn't seem to understand the significance of the White House, the people's house. People often described how rude and impatient Hillary was and how filthy her language was. She sometimes walked around the White House looking like she had just rolled out of bed. Her hair was dirty and hardly brushed and she didn't wear a stitch of makeup, not even foundation or something to improve her ruddy, uneven skin. She paid no attention to her clothes. When I saw her around the White House looking like that, I thought, Doesn't anybody around here understand where they are?

In the beginning, clothing designers and vendors begged her to wear their lines, so they sent racks of clothes to the White House. I like nice clothes. I always have. When I worked at the White House, I was polished and appropriately dressed every day. When racks of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera fashions showed up, I just drooled! And everyone buzzed, "What's Hillary going to wear?"

Her wardrobe was so bad that people would say to me, "Kathleen, can't you tell her what to wear? Can't you make a suggestion?" Obviously, I wasn't about to tell the first lady of the United States that she wasn't dressed appropriately.

Visitors

Following the Clintons' example, their friends behaved just as inappropriately in the White House. An Arkansas couple, Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, was a famous example. He was a sleaze. All he did was walk around with his badge and his hands in his pockets, with his big gut hanging out over his belt. He walked around, with free rein of the place. He made me so uncomfortable. His wife was in California, but when she did come to the White House they couldn't wait to get to the Lincoln Bedroom so they could jump up and down on the bed. Some of the Clintons' friends notoriously had sex in the Lincoln Bedroom -- even when they were not overnight guests!

Bernstein confirms that Harry Thomason lived part time in the White House in early 1993, and that he was "given a White House pass, an office in the East Wing, and a vague charter, known as the 'White House Project,' to continue shaping the public images of the president and first lady." [8]

Harry and his wife weren't the only ones. The White House was full of visitors with passes and some of them were the most flamboyant and bizarre people I have ever seen in my life. Sometimes it felt as though I were walking around a Hollywood movie studio. They moseyed around from the Old Executive Office Building over to the West Wing or wherever, and had free rein of the whole White House. Some looked like Elton John wannabes. And there were many very extravagant-looking women.

I would be working at my desk, with Secret Service agents around, and we'd see these clowns walk by and we all looked at each other like, "What is this?" We had no idea where these characters came from or what they were doing there. It was just crazy.

***

When the slow, old elevator was busy or not working, most people used the back stairs, a much faster way to get around. One day I was walking down those stairs and a girl, an intern, was walking up. I don't think she had on any underwear from top to bottom. I continued down, looked at her and thought, No! Obviously, her supervisor in the intern's office didn't look at her that day or couldn't be bothered to say, "No, I don't think so." So I turned around and went back upstairs and got in her face. "You know, I think you need to go home and change your clothes," I said. "I think you need to go home and put some clothes on." She looked at me like I had horns. "Do you understand where you are here? Do you understand what kind of people walked on these steps that you're walking on? Does that have any meaning to you? What you are wearing is really not appropriate. You need to go home and put on some more appropriate clothes."

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