In the election cycle dominated by Donald Trump, it should not be much of a shock that the first October Surprise came from "Access Hollywood." In a 2005 outtake, Trump told then-"Access" co-host Billy Bush how he could rudely grab women's genitals and get away with it because "when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
They say it was a recent discovery. No media October Surprise there. No, siree.
Smelling Trump's blood in the water, the Clinton-enabling press sprang into action. None of them seemed to reflect for 5 seconds about how Trump could be describing Bill Clinton's modus operandi. Trump talked as Clinton did. The press' moral outrage was as phony as Hillary Clinton's. "This is horrific," Clinton shamelessly tweeted. "We cannot allow this man to become president."
The women who were actually harassed by Bill Clinton were never offered any support from Hillary Clinton, or her feminist army in the press. In February of 1994, Paula Jones held a press conference to accuse Bill Clinton of exposing himself and requesting oral sex in a hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas. Other than 16 seconds on ABC, the media decided that wasn't news...until Jones filed a lawsuit and the Clintons hired a lawyer three months later.
But the Jones case vanished from the press and played no significant role in the 1996 presidential campaign. There were 11 network stories during the entire election year. Half of them were perfunctory notices of legal claims, and the other half focused on the Republican National Committee making an ad mocking Bill Clinton for claiming that he couldn't be sued because he was on "active duty" as commander-in-chief. Once Clinton was safely re-elected, a few establishment media outlets decided that maybe there was something to this Jones thing.
The lawsuit eventually led to the deposition of former Clinton intern Monica Lewinsky, so the story became a huge, national nightmare — in part because both Bill and Hillary Clinton claimed for months that Lewinsky was lying. When the story broke, Hillary Clinton even said on ABC that Lewinsky misunderstood that Bill Clinton is just "a happy, friendly, loving, kind, good person." He "reaches out to all kinds of people."
ABC enabled that. No laugh track. No skepticism. It was gullible to a fault.
The emergence of Lewinsky led to other women who said that Clinton assaulted them. In March of 1998, Ed Bradley interviewed Kathleen Willey on CBS "60 Minutes." Willey said the president fondled her breast and put her hand on his crotch during a 1993 Oval Office visit. Willey had been begging for a job. The Clinton team quickly put out letters Willey had written Clinton to erase the idea that she was assaulted, and the story vanished. A federal judge ruled in 2000 that the Clinton White House violated the Privacy Act with that disclosure. The Big Three TV networks gave that ruling 66 seconds combined.
This pattern was even repeated with Juanita Broaddrick, who declared in a "Dateline NBC" interview in 1999 that Clinton raped her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1978 ("You better get some ice for that," he told her after). On the evening newscasts, CBS aired one story, and ABC and NBC did nothing — even though NBC secured the interview!
When Trump invited these women to the second presidential debate, guess what the networks did. They attacked Trump for going "personal."
So ask yourself this question: How many times since 1994 have TV interviewers asked Hillary Clinton what she did or didn't do to smear these women? Try and find one occasion.
As repugnant as it was, Trump's offense was words. The Clintons' offenses were actions.
The cynicism boggles the mind.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.