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Sunday, August 2, 1998 Published at 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK

World: Americas

US media feasts on 'Zippergate'

Cartoonists are having a field day

As the Clinton-Lewinsky investigation intensifies, the American media is having a feeding frenzy over the allegations of an affair and cover-up.

BBC Correspondent Tom Brook: the press wants Mr Clinton to talk now.
While the main protagonists prepare to testify to a grand jury, newspapers and magazines are divided over how to treat the allegations.

The New York Daily News has a cover picture of the president playing golf in the Hamptons under the headline "'Swingin." The caption reads: "Bill shoots for fun in the sun".

Inside, its editorial page is dominated by a cartoon depicting a Subpoena-me-Monica toy doll.

"Pull her string and she changes her story," the mock advertisement says, adding that accessories include a DNA stained dress.

[ image: Time: what will Clinton do next?]
Time: what will Clinton do next?
Such levity is shunned by the New York Times. In it, Washington columnist Maureen Dowd laments the arrival of the "era of gross-out politics".

"The fate of the republic is hanging on a navy blue cocktail dress that may be stained with presidential bodily fluid," she tuts.

Monica goes shopping

That dress is also the subject of a bizarre headline in the Drudge Report, the investigative news Internet site which has made its name chasing details of the president's alleged affair.

"Lewinsky's dirty dress was bought at the Gap," it says, presumably for the benefit of any wannabe Monicas who want to know where to shop to look like their idol.

[ image: Press feeding frenzy]
Press feeding frenzy
Salon magazine, as it has done many times in the past months, switches the spotlight away from the president and his alleged paramour and to Mr Clinton's nemesis, Kenneth Starr.

In its weekend edition, the online magazine offers a semi-humorous psychological case study of the chief prosecutor.

Psychoanalyst Dr Justin Frank concludes that Mr Starr's desire to root out all the details about the president's private life is a symptom of an "obsessional personality disorder with voyeuristic and paranoid features".

Editorial debate

A debate is raging in the editorial pages of many newspapers about what the president should do now.

Some opinion pieces imply that it would not be such a big deal if Mr Clinton was found to be lying.

[ image: Offering advice to Clinton]
Offering advice to Clinton
Stanley Crouch writes in the New York Daily News that: "Lies are the common coin of power in most high places and often mean the difference between maintaining a country's direction and allowing it to be side-tracked by trivia".

However, there is a consensus among the papers that if Mr Clinton is going to change his story he should do it now in public before testifying to the grand jury.

Many feel the Clinton presidency is at a turning point and that the country's leader must come forward and tell the truth as soon as possible if he is to retain the public's trust.

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