by the Committee of Concerned Journalists, October 20, 1998
The "Second Intern"
From early in the story, rumors circulated in Washington that one or more other women were about to be identified as involved with the President. For the most part, the rumors stayed at the level of cocktail party buzz, but some outlets in the new media culture lean toward publication of such rumors, even by journalists who would not apparently do so in other venues.
On Jan. 23 on "Rivera, Live!," GOP pundit Ann Coulter stated as fact that Clinton had sex with "four other interns" in addition to Lewinsky. Two days later, Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge appeared on NBC News' "Meet the Press" and was asked by Tim Russert about reports that on the tape there are "discussions of other women, including other White House staffers, being involved with the President." Drudge replied, "There is talk all over this town another White House staffer is going to come o ut from behind the curtains this week. There are hundreds, hundreds according to Ms. Lewinsky, quoting Clinton ."
The story faded from the major news media until August when journalist Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard put it back in play on Fox News' Beltway Boys. It quickly began to spread without documentation until, a week later, the media reporter for the Washington Post traced its roots and showed that there was no substantial reporting behind the story. It then dropped from publication. The Starr Report has no reference to the rumors.
A Chronology of the "Second Intern" rumor:
- On Friday, 1/23, two days after the Lewinsky story broke. Ann Coulter, a regular panelist on the CNBC show "Rivera, Live!" was asked by Geraldo Rivera if she thought it was "sleazy" that Monica Lewinsky was detained by the prosecutors for "eight to nine hours without an attorney present." She responded it was not as bad as "the President of the United States using her to service him, along with four other interns."
- On the 1/25 Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asked Matt Drudge about reports that on the tapes there are "discussions of other women, including other White House staffers involved with the President." Drudge replied, "There is talk all over this town another White House staffer is going to come out from behind the curtains this weekthere are hundreds, hundreds, according to Miss Lewinsky, quoting Clinton."
- On 8/28, on CNBC's Hardball Chris Matthews interviewed Lucianne Goldberg and asked her if she had hard evidence that more than one young intern was involved. Goldberg responded, "No, not an intern. I know there were other women that were on the staff that were involved....These were women who were actively involved. It's all going to come out."
- On 8/30, on the Fox News Channel's The Beltway Boys, co-host Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard told viewers: "The second intern. Politicians, newspaper reporters, TV people all around town were talking about the possibility that there's a second intern who was sexually involved with the President. If there is, that will certainly be dynamite."
- On 9/2, the New York Post disclosed the rumor to its readers, writing in its "Page Six" gossip column "the Beltway is buzzing" that Bob Woodward of the Washington Post is "about to break a big exclusive about a second White House intern." The Post then quoted Woodward as saying the report was "absolutely untrue" and that he had gotten several similar inquiries and had made the same denial.
- On 9/4, WMAL radio in Washington passed the rumor to its listeners. Radio anchor Andy Parks asked ABC correspondent Bettina Gregory about rumors "that the Washington Post is about to go with a story that talks about other interns involved ." Gregory responded, "Bob Woodward has denied that, and I don't know whether he denied it because he didn't want other people to work on it. For a long time there have been rumors--this is speculation--unconfirmed rumors that there were other interns th at had been involved."
- On 9/5, the Washington Post published Howard Kurtz' detailed report on the rumor from Barnes' first reference through the New York Post and WMAL repetitions of the unsubstantiated rumor.
There is nothing in the Starr Report about the possibility of a second intern or other staff member being involved with the President.