CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield has an appeal for today’s pundits — and particularly pundettes: “Ladies, back off!” Leave Monica Lewinsky alone!

In a segment with analyst Mel Robbins, Banfield addressed the critical fallout that greeted Lewinsky’s tell-all account in Vanity Fair, in which the former intern, now 40, discusses the difficulties she faces because of her widely publicized affair with President Bill Clinton. Employers turn her down because of her “history”; she feels “branded” by the episode; she felt “suicidal temptations” amid the trauma of Monicagate.

Despite such suffering, some commentators have no sympathy for Lewinsky. Starting with Maureen Dowd. In a passage read by Banfield, Dowd wrote, “Monica is in danger of exploiting her own exploitation as she dishes about a couple whose erotic lives are of waning interest to the country.”

Andrea Peyser, in the New York Post, unleashed this crudity: “Lewinsky, I’d recommend that you use your special talents to forge an exciting new career in whatever it is you do best.”

Banfield said it’s been ages since the Lewinsky scandal fizzled out. “After all these years, you would think that some of the vitriolic anger and hate directed at her would have waned, abated, I don’t know? People would have gotten bored with it? No. There are writers taking this opportunity to bash Lewinsky once again for a mistake that she made when she was, Oh, I don’t know, 21?” Before introducing Dowd’s comments, Banfield noted that the famous New York Times columnist is not 21.

Banfield riffed, “The facts matter in this story: Monica Lewinsky never breathed a word of this,” she said, noting that she’d been betrayed by Linda Tripp and a recording device. Lewinsky, said Banfield, was a “21-year-old love-struck kid who got sent under the bus, sent under the bus. Here we are again . . . throwing her under the bus again.”

Robbins rejoined: “In article after article written by women!”

Banfield: “Ladies, back off. Back off the sister.”

But hold on: Dowd wished Lewinsky “luck.”


(Courtesy Newseum)
Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.