The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

American Spectator Gala, 2007


Wolfe praises Spectator reporting

By Robert Stacy McCain
Author Tom Wolfe last night compared American Spectator magazine’s reporting on Clinton administration scandals to the Watergate reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

“I submit that the American Spectator did a more thorough job with Bill Clinton than Woodward and Bernstein did with Nixon,” Mr. Wolfe said, referring to The Washington Post reporters who uncovered the story behind the Watergate break-in that led to President Nixon’s resignation.

The best-selling author paid tribute to the magazine last night during its 40th anniversary gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington.

As a result of the Spectator’s reporting, Mr. Wolfe said, “Clinton is knownfor one thing – a porn movie starring a fat girl,” an apparent reference to former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

He referred to an article by Spectator Editor in Chief R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and reporter David Brock in January 1994 as “the most important article of the 20th century” for having brought attention to the Paula Jones case. A sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Mrs. Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, led to charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against President Clinton.

Mr. Wolfe said the article “led straight to the impeachment of President Clinton.”

President Bush appeared last night in a video tribute to the magazine, calling it “one of our nation’s liveliest journals.”

During his opening remarks, publisher Alfred S. Regnery spoke about the magazine’s founding amid the “hate America, drug-crazed frenzy” of the 1960s.

“We do know that, over the years, we’ve made our mark,” Mr. Regnery said.

In fact, its reporting led the Clinton administration to investigate the magazine in the 1990s on accusations of witness tampering in the Whitewater probe, Mr. Tyrrell noted. The expense of defending itself nearly drove the magazine to bankruptcy.

Mr. Tyrrell said the lesson learned was to “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and laugh at those who ambushed you.”

The magazine was founded at Indiana University in 1967 as the Alternative, then changed its name in 1977 to the Spectator.

Mr. Tyrrell said the magazine is now “training the next generation of conservative writers,” and its Young Journalist Award was presented last night to Spectator staff writer John Tabin. The magazine’s Young Writers Program is funded by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens.

Among the VIPs present for last night’s event were syndicated columnist Robert Novak, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, conservative leader Richard Viguerie, National Review editor Kate O’Beirne, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.