By Nancy Jane Moore
It seems we have a new sex scandal brewing in official Washington, D.C. A woman has been charged with running a high-class call-girl operation (i.e., one aimed at upper class men). A deputy secretary of state has already resigned.
The so-called "Washington Madam" says it was just an escort service with massages. Her girls (who apparently included women in their 50s) didn't have sex with the clients. If you believe that, I'd like to offer you a great deal on that bridge in Brooklyn.
ABC News is all over this story. They're interviewing the madam on 20/20 tonight. Apparently they have her client list and plan to divulge some names -- though I don't know whether that's on 20/20 or on their regular news program. If you care, watch both.
Frankly, I don't care. Oh, it says something about the inherent sexism of our society if powerful men prefer the pretense that comes from hiring a woman -- whether as arm candy or for sex -- to the messy nature of actual relationships. And given that the current administration is given to religious self-righteousness about sex, it's amusing to catch some of their people with their pants down.
But I doubt there's really much going on here that affects the security of the country or even the running of the government. The real scandal of this administration isn't who's screwing who; it's the growing gap between rich and poor, the incompetent handling of key governmental responsibilities like disaster relief, the full-scale assault on our civil liberties, and -- most importantly -- an unnecessary and unsuccessful war that has sacrificed a significant percentage of our armed forces and only made our country more vulnerable.
The sex scandal isn't dominating the airwaves and front pages yet, but I fear that it will. Washington loves a sex scandal -- witness all the nonsense over Bill Clinton's games with his intern. Since this will be a Republican sex scandal, it allows the press to feel all self-righteous about covering it. After all, this scandal makes it tit for tat between the parties, and that's what passes for objectivity way too often.
I hope I'm wrong. The media have finally begun to take on the real failures of the Bush administration after years of inaction. Bill Moyers reported on the media's failures thoroughly in "Buying the War," the first broadcast of his new PBS program, Bill Moyers Journal. But the coverage of late has been significantly better. I'd hate to see good reporters get sidetracked by a garden-variety sex scandal.