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My Life Was Picked Apart: Monica Lewinsky Pens Op-Ed for NYT

Monica Lewinsky has written a powerful op-ed against ex-Fox icon Ailes who, she says, “targeted her mercilessly”.

Published
Women
2 min read
“Ailes made sure that his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day,” writes Lewinsky. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://pi.tedcdn.com/r/pe.tedcdn.com/images/ted/7adb146402a457282081af7f165e3912e6bab151_2880x1620.jpg?cb=05112016&amp;quality=89&amp;w=800">Ted.com</a>)
The comments on television and online were excruciating. I ceased being a three-dimensional person. Instead, I became a whore, a bimbo, a slut and worse. Just days after the story broke, Fox asked its viewers to vote on this pressing question: Is Monica Lewinsky an “average girl” or a “young tramp looking for thrills”?
Monica Lewinsky for The New York Times

Above is a part of the scathing op-ed that Monica Lewinsky, former White House intern, wrote for The New York Times on Monday. Lewinsky writes of Roger Ailes – the man whom Rupert Murdoch had appointed to head Fox News – but makes it clear, right at the outset, that this “isn’t just another obituary”. (Ailes died last week, a year after being ousted from Fox News following a sexual harassment scandal.)

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Lewinsky begins powerfully, stating that her piece is, in fact, “an obituary for the culture he purveyed – a culture that affected me profoundly and personally.”

“Lewinsky Saga Put us on the Map”

The woman, who was once the target of unprecedented hate, vitriol and misogyny from the American public after the Bill Clinton scandal, opens up in this op-ed about how one man’s coverage caused her the most harm. Lewinsky admits that while other cable news channels also didn’t shy away from splicing her on television and online, it was Fox – led by Ailes – who spearheaded the campaign that changed her life.

Ailes, Lewinsky insists, made sure that his “anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day”. It was the kind of coverage that effectively put the then-fledgling news channel on the map. The op-ed author says:

John Moody, a Fox executive editor, reflected on that period: “The Lewinsky saga put us on the news map.” As he put it in another interview: “Monica was a news channel’s dream come true.”
Monica Lewinsky for The New York Times

But, “their dream was my nightmare”.

My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail — I was the original target of Kenneth Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit and other alleged crimes — or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy.
Monica Lewinsky for The New York Times

Lewinsky does admit that things at Fox – currently a much larger and far more influential channel than the one it was when it started going after the woman in a relationship with President Bill Clinton – have changed a little for the better.

The Murdochs deserve praise for their part in the decision to fire Bill O’Reilly, whose show brought in $100 million a year in ad revenue, but who harassed and bullied women he worked with. I hope the Murdochs understand that Americans will no longer tolerate a corporate culture that views hate and harassment as part of running a successful news business.
Monica Lewinsky for The New York Times

Lewinsky ends her obituary fittingly enough, bidding farewell to “the ages of Ailes” and expressing hope that the “fair and balanced news” that Ailes had promised America, would actually come about now.

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Read the whole article on The New York Times here.

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