Vanity Fair writer Todd Purdum is under fire over an article he wrote about Bill Clinton. The article, entitled The Comeback Id, states that the former president has been running with a fast crowd and seeing a lot of women on the road, namely actress Gina Gershon.
Clinton has responded to the article by calling Purdum a sleazy, dishonest, slimy, and a scumbag. His office also put out a memo about the article, calling it "journalism of personal destruction at it's worst."
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Office of President Clinton
RE: Vanity Fair Article on President Clinton
DATE: June 1, 2008
A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece, published in this month's Vanity Fair magazine regarding former President Bill Clinton repeats many past attacks on him, ignores much prior positive coverage, includes numerous errors, and ultimately breaks no new ground. It is, in short, journalism of personal destruction at its worst.
Any balanced account of President Clinton's post-presidency - which other publications have referred to as one of "a great philanthropist;" the face of "the power of philanthropy" and "a major force in fighting the pandemic [HIV/AIDS]" - would recognize that the lion's share of his work is his multi-million dollar charitable foundation, which works in almost 50 countries around the world. [The Economist, 9/23/06; Fortune Magazine, 9/7/06; The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/04] Vanity Fair, however, has chosen to publish thousands of words on former President Clinton, but to devote only a single paragraph to his enormous charitable accomplishments.
The piece also takes gratuitous and baseless shots at President Clinton's longtime Counselor, Doug Band, a key architect of the post-presidency, in sections that are rife with mistakes and which, in particularly galling taste, go as far as to criticize Band's wife, who started, and is the CEO of a multi-million dollar global company. The article even criticizes his wedding. The critiques of Band are baseless, and President Clinton has credited Band with being the originator of CGI and has noted that "I couldn't have done half of what I have done in my post-presidency without him."
The author, Todd Purdum, acknowledges speaking to over 50 people (almost all of them anonymous Washington insiders) before contacting President Clinton's office about his piece. Though he researched the piece for several months, his first contact with President Clinton's office was several weeks before he closed the story. Most revealing is one simple fact: President Clinton has helped save the lives of more than 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency, and Vanity Fair couldn't find time to talk to even one of them for comment.
Update: Gina Gerson vehemently denies having an affair with Bill Clinton. Her legal team states that she has only been in the same room with Clinton on three occasions, all with many others present. They also claim Vanity Fair substituted fact-checking with rumor-mongering.