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Opener / Andrew Tuck

Heart of the matter

1 We’re perhaps a little late to the party but this week we’ve been watching Impeachment: American Crime Story. It’s a 10-part drama about the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair, and you get to see it from everyone’s angle: President Clinton, Hillary, Linda Tripp (notorious at the time for taping her conversations with naïve colleague Lewinsky), Paula Jones (who had accused the president of sexual harassment), Juanita Broaddrick (who alleges that Clinton raped her) and, of course, Lewinsky.Back in 1998 the tale of Lewinsky, the young White House intern who became involved with the president, dominated the news and threatened to end Clinton’s tenure. In the end both he and Hillary seemed to walk away relatively unscathed, while the women with whom he had been involved were trashed.While this is just a version of events, and a drama, it does something unsettling: it makes you look back on a long-running story and reflect on your role as a TV viewer, or newspaper reader, in it. The push to impeach Clinton was undoubtedly partisan (and, meanwhile, he was doing genuinely good things at the time, such as helping secure a peace deal in Northern Ireland), so many people kind of wished the matter would just go away. And the infamous cigar story and semen-stained-dress were also a bit too sordid for you to drum up much empathy for anyone involved. But looking back now you wonder how we stood by, as commentators, comedians and writers stepped up to destroy Lewinsky and shield the Clintons. You even feel for Linda Tripp, who is judged by the media as much on her weight and looks as she is on her failings as a friend to Lewinsky.Back in 1999, I went to a friend’s birthday party and Monica Lewinsky was there. It was a packed room and I couldn’t think of anything to say and so I never got to meet her. I wish I had.2 We have a new Americas editor and as you read this he’s sitting on a flight in-bound to Los Angeles (hopefully not snoozing but rather writing a list of all the stories he’s going to report for me). He’s called Chris Lord and you may recognise the name as he used to work for us before, both in London and as our bureau chief in Istanbul.He was stationed in the city in July 2016 during the failed coup attempt but had gone away for the weekend to stay on the Princes Islands in the Bosphorus. He had to hitch a ride back into Istanbul on a boat belonging to a supporter of President Erdogan and arrived to the roar of a renegade fighter jet buzzing low over the city. For some reason, he decided to come back to London and later left Monocle for a four-year stint as a news producer for BBC Radio 4 (as well as finally finishing a book with the photographer Jon Tonks – see our culture picks below). But I have now lured him back again.The US remains our biggest market for magazine sales and radio listeners, so it will be great having him on the ground and expanding our US coverage. And Chris also has the stamina to follow long-twisting news narratives and the ability to step back to see where the real story is. He would have been a good addition to the team on Impeachment. You can contact Chris with story ideas (and even LA restaurant recommendations) at cl@monocle.com.

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