The Death of Vincent Foster

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Politics, history

I was watching the PBS American Experience mini-series on Clinton’s presidency the last two night.. Early in segment 2,  where the Clintons have arrived in Washington DC, the narrator mentions the suicide of Vincent Foster, a Clinton Aide, and the speculation that he had been murdered by the Clintons. I remember the death of Vince Foster. I knew that a few days before his death, the Wall Street Journal had published an editorial about him that basically attacked his character. This while he had been unknown to the media and was not a senior advisor. While I couldn’t find the original editorials online, I did find TRB’s column citing them

These are the last three lines of Mr. Foster’s heart-breaking suicide note:

The public will never believe the innocence of the Clintons and their loyal staff

The WSJ editors lie without consequence

I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport

And while Mr. Foster was clinically depressed, such unsupported negative characterizations featured in a prominent national publication may have helped drive him over the edge. It was mentioned in his suicide note, but not in the American Experience program. And for some reason, this omission bothers me. It bothers me when journalists don’t admit bias but publish speculation as fact. It bothers me that people form opinions about the nature of things based on often a list of unsupported assertions.  They have to believe what they are saying, even though evidence flies in the face of it. So yeah, let’s deregulate the banks some more and remove a lot of the oversight, to “give capitalism a chance” – the market will set things right. We know where this view ends, in the economic collapse a little over three years ago. Most Americans, I think, don’t have such short memories….


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