NYT Alone Rises to Clinton's Defense on New Scandal Revelations

While other media outlets emphasized a new book's revelations about Clinton's lies under oath and relationship with Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, the Times emphasizes allegations of the FBI's abuse of power in investigating Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

An upcoming book, "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr," deals with Ken Starr's investigation of the Clinton scandals of Whitewater and lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Politico got an early copy of the February 16 release by law professor Ken Gormley, and broke out some of the juiciest bits Thursday evening. The headline: "Monica's Back - Says Clinton Lied." Among the findings: Bill Clinton had an affair with Whitewater figure Susan McDougal and lied under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky, as confirmed by Lewinsky herself.

But the Times' Peter Baker on Saturday uniquely found a pro-Clinton angle, burying the sex scandal and perjury details and boring in on another facet, as indicated by the headline: "F.B.I. Accused of Abuse of Power in Clinton Case."

A former director of the Secret Service said Friday that the F.B.I. had engaged in an "abuse of power" by trying to pressure him to "give us the president" during the investigation of President Bill Clinton's interactions with Monica Lewinsky a decade ago.

The official, Lewis C. Merletti, who headed the former president's protective detail and later became the agency's director, said in an interview that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had grilled him just days before Mr. Clinton left office in a last-ditch effort to prove that his agents had covered up and even facilitated extramarital flings.

Baker didn't hit the sex scandal stuff until paragraph nine, and then in a single paragraph. Baker didn't even address the prospect of then-first lady (now Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton being indicted by Ken Starr, which the Associated Press picked up on: "Book: Prosecutors were prepared to indict Clintons."

Prosecutors investigating Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton were prepared to seek indictments of them for their roles in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky affairs, an explosive new book about the former president's scandals charges....Starr prosecutors in 1998 proposed to formally indict Hillary Rodham Clinton on charges she and a former law partner lied about her business dealings with Madison Guaranty, a failed savings and loan connected to friends James and Susan McDougal, Gormley wrote.

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Friday morning posted a brief item at washingtonpost.com summarizing the Politico's points on Susan McDougal and Clinton lying under oath.

And the United Press International headline and story focused on Clinton's lie: "Book: Lewinsky claims Clinton lied to jury."