White House Sees Conspiracy

The Clinton Administration is standing by a memo produced by the White House counsel's office alleging that a conspiracy of right-wing spinmeisters, starting on the Internet, concocts unfavorable stories about the President, which then worm their way into the mainstream media.

According to the memo, written by Christopher Lehane, a young White House aide, in 1995, the President's opponents take rumors that are posted about the President on the Internet and pass them along to far-right publications like The American Spectator. The stories are then picked up by more mainstream conservative papers, such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times. Finally, the memo argues, the stories work their way into the mainstream media, including CNN, ABC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. The memo was attached to 330 pages of newspaper clippings supporting its conclusions.

At a press conference yesterday, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said he agreed with the memo's findings. "I think it is accurate to say that there are a lot of groups that fund-- groups that are positioned on the far right of the political spectrum-- that fund people who peddle conspiracy theories," he said. "So in a sense, you get misled and misused by people who really start off with the goal of actually planting information to do political damage to the President."

McCurry used the story of the memo itself as an example of how the "media food chain" works. He said that when the report came out in 1995, it was ignored by most of the media, though copies were given to reporters. Only when The Wall Street Journal mentioned the report earlier this week did it achieve wide circulation in the media.

"The Wall Street Journal editorial page carries a column that mentions this deep, dark secret 330-page report that then gets picked up by The Washington Times and written, and then gets asked here in the press briefing room," McCurry said. "So, in other words, in this Fellini-like manner, what we are doing right now is proof positive of the kind of cycle that we're talking about."

McCurry said the report was commissioned to address recurring questions reporters had about rumors they heard. The White House wanted to explain how the rumor mill worked so that reporters could "understand the genesis of some of these stories," McCurry said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.