Those of us whose memories stretch beyond lunchtime will recall la DePaulo as the hard bitten scribe who spent the summer of 2001 all but accusing former congressman Gary Condit of having murdered Chandra Levy. She wrote an extended magazine treatment for Talk that, now that the actual murderer's turned up, can be used as a textbook example of what happens when you combine sub-tabloid hyperventilation--"Chandra was waiting for her man." Hubba-hubba!--with the professional standards of the nitwit on the next barstool. Get an account of a ballgame as wrong in a 25,000-circulation daily as she did the biggest story of that summer, and you're sweeping out the print shop by dawn. Anyway. Here's the lameass mea culpa.
Lameass is far too kind. Her self-serving little screed really should prevent her from ever practicing journalism again. This woman was convinced that Gary Condit killed Chandra Levy and she went on television day after day for months to make that case. She was wrong. And yet she justifies her witchunting by saying he acted suspiciously. I guess in the world of big time journalism that's what passes for ethics.
I will never forget a moment during the Summer of Chandra in 2001 when I ended up on an elevator at CNN with Jeff Greenfield. He turned to me and said, “So, if a serial killer did this, will you apologize to Gary Condit?” To which I, being in the asshole-mood that I was, replied: “So, if Condit did this, will you apologize to all the serial killers?” I laughed. He did not.
But OK, let’s give Gary Condit his due. He wasn’t the murderer, after all. And worse: The poor bastard has gone from the perch of power to scooping Baskin-Robbins ice cream in Carefree, Arizona, and making ends meet with multimillion-dollar libel suits. (I remember when I first heard the Baskin-Robbins thing. Chandra’s favorite ice cream, I thought—smooth move, Gary.)
Now with the imminent arrest of Ingmar Guandique, Chandra Levy is being remembered once more. The other night on Fox News, Geraldo Rivera had the good sense (or shamelessness) to ask the same question to Bob Levy, Chandra’s still-distraught father that Jeff Greenfield had once asked me: Did he think Gary Condit deserved an apology? Bob stumbled through his answer—“A lot of things were going on at that time. There were certain actions that were suspicious and devious.”—You had to see his expression to know what he was really feeling: He screwed my daughter.
In every sense.
And at the end of the day, we still can’t forgive him for that.
What is she, a priest? What possible standing does this person have to be issuing forgiveness to anyone? Her presumptuousness literally knows no bounds.
The man is gulty of having an affair, which destroyed his life, and which had nothing whatsoever to do with the disappearance and murder of Chandra Levy. Gary Condit didn't even break any laws. But DePaulo still insists that he is some sort of sociopath --- and excuses her own disgusting behavior by comparing his "crime" to homicide saying he deserved the twisted obsession in which she and her cohorts drowned themselves that horrid summer. (But then that particular illness had been prevalent in Washington for some years at that point, hadn't it?)I submit that she is the one with the problem, a big one. And it's a problem that renders her incapable of being a reliable journalist. If she cannot see that wrongly accusing someone of being a murderer requires a serious reevaluation of where she went wrong and a sincere apology for doing it, then she can't be trusted. She obviously has no ethical compass.