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Remembering 1998

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Nov. 6, 1996: Monica Lewinsky embraces President Bill Clinton at White House lawn party (AP)

From crisis comes creativity, at least in this case. We, along with most other news organizations, hardly knew how to take in the news: the president of the United States carrying on an affair in the Oval Office? Clinton's appetites had long been the subject of rumor. Now we had a name — Monica Lewinsky — and specific times and places.

How should a news network handle such a story? It was, to say the least, competitive. But there were also issues of taste, respect for the office of the presidency, and a sense of history.

We met in the office of Chairman Roger Ailes. As usual in times of crisis, Roger's instincts were at their best. We need to do a special report, he said, and he asked Washington Managing Editor Brit Hume to anchor it that night. The name, and the show, took hold. Today, "Special Report with Brit Hume" is the country's leading political broadcast.

The Lewinsky saga put us on the news map. Fair and balanced news was exactly what was lacking, and what was needed. Our Washington bureau stepped up to the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and we never looked back.

In retrospect, the most significant story of the year was one to which we paid insufficient attention. Had we realized what would happen three years later, we'd have understood that the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were dry-runs for 9/11. Like the rest of the West, we didn't connect the dots. We would all pay a terrible price for that inattention.

John Moody serves as the Senior Vice President, News Editorial for FOX News. He is responsible for both the design and editorial direction of FOX News Channel and oversees all story content for FOX News.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Vatican correspondent and Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books, including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."

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