Perhaps the biggest presidential scandal since the Nixon administration came to light in January 1998. This is when the now infamous Monica Lewinsky first appeared on our television sets. The American population did not know Ms. Lewinsky until the scandal broke. After the media was informed of the activities between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky the little known woman was instantaneously the topic of conversation all over the world. The intention of this paper is not to figure out who was right or wrong in the scandal, the reasoning behind it is to show how the mass media shapes and implements our own ideas and opinions about people. Every opinion we have is somehow related to who and what we see around us. The way that these things are portrayed on television or in magazines influences our overall attitude towards them. In many situations we have only the media to rely on when learning about certain events. Sometimes you can check more than one source to get a different opinion, but more times than not the overall image generated by all media platforms of a person or event is very similar. In this sense it is very hard sometimes to get a fair perspective of the occurrences. The views that the American public has towards Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky have been directly affected by how the mass media portrayed each individual.
Susan Douglas book Where The Girls Are is a reflection of just how controlling the mass media is over the opinions and ideas of the people that it reaches. Douglas talks about the ways in which the mass media forms an individuals character. She focuses on the effects that the media has on women as they grow-up in America. If this is true then perhaps Monica Lewinsky was shaped in such a way that she felt obligated to give in to the presidents wishes of having a relationship. After the scandal broke the media then proceeded to shape the publics opinion of Ms. Lewinsky. It is very easy for our opinions to be swayed if we know nothing about the subject or individual.
One place that is near impossible to hide from the public and media is the White House. Bill Clinton has been plagued by scandal since entering the White House in 1992. As the Lewinsky scandal began President Clinton was just recovering from the Whitewater scandal. Before Lewinsky, Clinton was accused of having a sexual relationship with Gennifer Flowers while he was the governor of Arkansas. Clinton denied these reports during his 1992 campaign. However, in a deposition a few years later the president admitted to having an affair with Flowers. Paula Jones who worked for him while he was governor also sued Clinton. Jones disputed that Clinton treated her unfairly after she refused to have a sexual relationship with him. Despite these repeated scandals Mr. Clinton has maintained a fairly supportive reaction from the mainstream media. I strongly feel that Clintons lack of accountability is due to the fact that most of the scandals that he has been involved in pertain to sexual relationships with women. The male dominated media portrays this in a lighthearted way. On the other hand, the females involved in all of these scandals have been made out to be unjust sluts looking for a big payday.
Contradictory to Clintons past is that of Monica Lewinsky. Monica grew up in Beverly Hills California. Her father owned a chain of cancer treatment clinics. When researching the depictions that those close to Ms. Lewinsky have, a very different person is revealed. “Monica is very, very energetic and very charismatic and has tremendous ideas and no matter what task you give her, she gets involved and goes to it,” said her dad, Dr. Bernard Lewinsky. Richard Makoff, Lewinsky’s former headmaster, said, “I remember her being a nice kid and pretty normal young lady. The only extra-curricular activity she was involved in was chorus.” Monica graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in May 1995. The following summer, Monica arrived at the White House as an intern (Aiken). The media has shown Monica Lewinsky in a totally different light than her father and