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Lewinsky interview draws disdain at Coe

Posted March 4, 1999

By Douglas Neumann
Gazette staff writer

Related information: Investigating the President -- An AP special report
Previous coverage: Local coverage of the Clinton scandal

Monica Lewinsky and Barbara Walters had the rapt attention of a few students last night at Coe College's Gage Memorial Union.

"Everybody I know is watching it," said Andria Lampkin.

But a political science club opted to lounge away from the television in the union, figuring the interview on ABC-TV was more entertainment than it was significant history.

"It's just a big old joke," said club member Chad Shearer. "It's not important now because it's over. Nobody cares about it now. It's going to be a little blurb in history books."

Julia Saari said the frequency and expense of commercials made the event more like the Super Bowl than a news program.

"It's sensationalism," she said. "It's one step away from tabloid journalism."

Several club members rolled their eyes and chuckled a few times when they overheard Lewinsky weeping on the televised interview.

Those students who were watching intently seemed to share the political science club's distaste for Lewinsky.

"She showed no remorse at all," Lampkin said. "Her face just lit up when she talked about the affair. I have no sympathy for her. I don't even empathize with her."

But Lampkin and Joy Begnaud wanted to watch the interview as sort of the final chapter in an important story.

"It's been the biggest story for a long time," Begnaud said. "It's probably the biggest story of my life. I'm just curious to know about the woman who corrupted the White House."

Bruce Nesmith, a political science professor at Coe, took a seat with his club away from the television.

Lewinsky, Nesmith said, will be linked to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. But the impeachment itself won't rank among the most important events of the 20th century, he said, noting that the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson barely gets a day of coverage in high school and college lessons.

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