Stop Bullying Monica Lewinsky

Earlier this month, the National Enquirer wrote a cover story about the “sad, lonely life of a near recluse” named Monica Lewinsky.

The story reported that, “Monica’s self esteem is at an all-time low...she bounces from New York to Los Angeles, crashing with family and desperately trying to live down her scandalous past.”

According to the tabloid’s source, “She’s given up her own place, and her handbag line has crashed. Now she drifts between the two coasts and toys with ‘projects’ that probably will never get off the ground.”

That’s an ironic prediction since it is probably the Enquirer’s continued negative coverage of Monica that is precisely the kind of thing that is holding her back in her personal life. After all, it isn’t easy to reinvent yourself when the most widely read publication in America continues to typecast you.

But Americans aren’t the only ones who get continued updates on Monica’s social life or lack thereof.

Earning her master’s degree at the London School of Economics has apparently also won her the attention of the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, which reported in May that the former intern was still hopelessly in love with President Clinton. According to the British tabloid, that’s the real reason she still hasn’t gotten married or had children of her own.

In September, the Daily Mail wrote a follow up to the National Enquirer’s story rehashing many of the very personal details of her relationship with Clinton.

All of these stories referred to Monica as a “social pariah,” and “sad and lonely.”

Not only is this continued tabloid coverage cruel, it is most likely creating news at this point, not just merely reporting it.

The more these publications continue to rehash this small window of Monica’s life, the more likely their headline is to come true. After all, when national media publications keep reporting that you’re a social pariah, and that no one wants to date you or hire you, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone is going to want to take a chance on you.

Most guys – and potential employers don’t want that kind of attention, and they’re probably afraid that if they do, they’ll get written about as well.

Despite the tabloids’ continued obsession with what Monica did when she was a White House intern, she has since accomplished many noteworthy things.

In addition to getting that masters degree at the London School of Economics, the native Californian published her own biography, worked as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and even reported for Britain’s Channel 5.

She has also had the class and courage to publicly apologize to Mrs. Clinton and her daughter for the relationship she had with the president, and voluntarily appeared to answer questions for the American public on stage.

Unlike President Clinton, Monica does not have a powerful team of spin-doctors who can rehabilitate her image. She does not get opportunities to make impressive speeches or go to Haiti as part of a presidential relief effort.

She cannot re-invent herself the way Clinton has, and every time she faces the public, she does it alone.

Unfortunately for Monica, that leaves her frozen in time.

The tabloid media isn’t really interested in all the redemptive things that Monica has done. They just want to keep rehashing this momentous window of time in her young life when she exercised bad judgment.

That’s simply not fair, and at this point their continued negative coverage of her is probably destroying her life. That should matter. That’s something the editors at these tabloid publications should take into consideration before they make the heartless decisions they’re making that continue to ruin this woman’s life.

Monica Lewinsky made some selfish choices as a young person that hurt other people, but many others have done the same. Unlike most people however, Monica had the courage and decency to apologize, and she has paid the price for those choices many times over.

Perhaps if the tabloid press and others in the blogosphere would stop emphasizing those mistakes, this seemingly renewed, talented and intelligent woman could move on with her life and do some good for the world – just as President Clinton has.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is former reporter for the Globe tabloid who reported his editors to the FBI in 1999 for criminal acts. He now practices law and is a frequent critic of tabloid journalism.