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Monday, September 14, 1998 Published at 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK

Talking Point

New McCarthyism?

Kenneth Starr's name has an irony of its own. The man has been made a celebrity, but only in the infamous. I wonder what percent of people can name the Independent Counsel that investigated the Iran-Contra affair against President Ronald Reagan? In my opinion, the US media has carefully framed this entire issue as Starr vs Clinton, because otherwise it is The People of the United States of America vs William Jefferson Clinton. In reality, that is the contest at hand. Starr is not a star. So Bill Clinton will continue to spout sorrow and beg forgiveness, and Kenneth Starr will still be portrayed as a conniving right-winger with an evil agenda. I wonder if the President would have come forward on his own, his heart heavy with conviction, and addressed an ignorant American public in an alternate Universe where he had not been caught?
Patrick Miles Cox II, USA

Clinton is devoid of any moral authority. Starr did what he was obligated to do . We cannot solve tough problems unless we face them squarely.
B. Meadows, USA

We have to consider the effect this will have on the whole world at a time when his leadership does not need to be weakened. I believe that Ken Starr has made a great mistake that history will long remember. He went much too far and the damage of his actions will undoubtedly weaken the 'Presidency'. He was most assuredly in the wrong with this 'witch hunt' and it is going to be the source of much trouble.
Dave Adams, USA

I never have liked Clinton, but I think Mr Starr should be the one defending his actions.
Peter Wallace, Brazil

I am ashamed to say we are STILL the puritans that you threw out of Europe, and we still seem to love a witch hunt. Sigh.
Kathy Moser, USA

$40M for what? We Americans elected Bill Clinton, aka Slick Willie, to two terms as President. I believe the Starr Report is good grounds for divorce, but not impeachment. Many other world leaders have led personal lives just as reckless, but IOC Ken Starr has chosen to publicise this episode. How an IOC can embarrass the leader of our country to such an extent is beyond my comprehension. He did not have to publish his report to the world. Mr. Clinton should have been given the courtesy of receiving the report before its release to the public. Mr. Starr has personality problems as well as Mr. Clinton. Our leaders should be more carefully chosen.
Sally Gordon, USA

As a U.S. citizen I am shocked and horrified that a person like Kenneth Starr has been accorded as much power as he has. It appears to be part of many such campaigns around the world as this century comes to an end. Of one thing I am certain, that anyone who supports Starr or votes against President Clinton, regardless of party, will absolute NOT receive my vote in any future election, even if they are the chosen candidate of a party that I usually support. The whole episode brings not only McCarthyism, but the Spanish Inquisition, the Malaysian situation and many other similar troubles around the world in which right wing extremists and nationalists are involved to mind. I pray that sanity will prevail in our Congress rather than a band wagon railroading of a good president.
S. Barker, USA

There is a new McCarthyism in America, I suspect, leading this grand charade of a conspiratorial nature. Shakespeare would be jumping for joy over his review of this Starr-related debacle, surely. The focal point of the conspiracy is likely located in the office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It is likely to be a well-planned effort by his personal political support committee that includes significant elements of the U.S. Press. No doubt you have already noted the extremely hasty judgements appearing in various editorials. The world community might consider becoming as aware of this particular movement every bit as much as they are concerned with other methods of terrorism. The report itself is as nutty and luridly stitching as an alcohol-based fruitcake, entirely lacking in reasonable measures of professional reporting.
Dwight Brown, USA

It is not the world's business what President Clinton does behind closed doors. It was wrong for him to have had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, but he should deal with this with his family, not the American people. I think Kenneth Starr is out on a witch hunt, a Joe McCarthy all over again, and he won't stop until Clinton is impeached. Certain Republicans are looking forward to impeachment proceedings, I think. However, this incident has nothing to do with the way the country is being run. It's a travesty that Starr has forced Clinton to think of little else besides this investigation.
L Cox, USA

He should not be forced out of office. No one in public service has ever been placed under this amount of private scrutiny before and this "tabloid" mentality may preclude our choice of candidates for office in the future. A sad day for democracy.
Susan B, US

A preliminary report in preparation for some kind of trial should not be published for fear of subsequent jury contamination. At least that is what I was taught.
Christy Strauch, USA

I can't believe how the American public can accept the huge amount of taxpayers' money that Kenneth Starr has wasted on this witch-hunt. Clinton shouldn't have lied, but Starr shouldn't have been investigating Clinton's private affairs in the first place - they are completely irrelevant to his performance as President.
Russell Wade, UK

I think the American people should start asking why Kenneth Starr has carried out this investigation or "witch hunt". I think Bill Clinton should be left alone. His private life should be private. America is very strong economically at the moment for the first time in several years. Bill Clinton is an excellent overseas ambassador. His visits to Ireland have been extremely successful. Leave him alone!!
Kathleen Murphy, Northern Ireland

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