When reporters began to ask last weekend about a bruising profile of Bill Clinton that appears in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine, the former president's aides struck back with this scathing rebuttal.
To: Interested Parties
Re: Vanity Fair Article on President Clinton
Date: June 1, 2008
A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece, published in this month's Vanity Fair magazine regarding former President Bill Clinton repeats many past attacks on him, ignores much prior positive coverage, includes numerous errors, and ultimately breaks no new ground. It is, in short, journalism of personal destruction at its worst.
Any balanced account of President Clinton's post-presidency - which other publications have referred to as one of "a great philanthropist;" the face of "the power of philanthropy" and "a major force in fighting the pandemic [HIV/AIDS]" - would recognize that the lion's share of his work is his multi-million dollar charitable foundation, which works in almost 50 countries around the world. [The Economist, 9/23/06; Fortune Magazine, 9/7/06; The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/04] Vanity Fair, however, has chosen to publish thousands of words on former President Clinton, but to devote only a single paragraph to his enormous charitable accomplishments.
The piece also takes gratuitous and baseless shots at President Clinton's longtime Counselor, Doug Band, a key architect of the post-presidency, in sections that are rife with mistakes and which, in particularly galling taste, go as far as to criticize Band's wife, who started, and is the CEO of a multi-million dollar global company. The article even criticizes his wedding. The critiques of Band are baseless, and President Clinton has credited Band with being the originator of CGI and has noted that "I couldn't have done half of what I have done in my post-presidency without him."
The author, Todd Purdum, acknowledges speaking to over 50 people (almost all of them anonymous Washington insiders) before contacting President Clinton's office about his piece. Though he researched the piece for several months, his first contact with President Clinton's office was several weeks before he closed the story. Most revealing is one simple fact: President Clinton has helped save the lives of more than 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency, and Vanity Fair couldn't find time to talk to even one of them for comment.
Below are facts and information for those who want to know the real story.
I. The Real Facts about President Clinton's Post-presidency
II. Vanity Fair's Troubling Ethical History
III. Fact versus Fiction About this Piece
I. THE REAL FACTS ABOUT PRESIDENT CLINTON'S POST-PRESIDENCY
In six years, the William J. Clinton Foundation has grown from a small staff with two offices in the U.S. into a leading global non-governmental organization, with over 800 staff and volunteers in 44 nations with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.
The Clinton Foundation is made up of seven initiatives that address some of the most pressing global challenges, including HIV/AIDS, climate change, childhood obesity in the United States and economic development around the world.
The Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) is focused on expanding access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment. Through the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative:
1.4 million people - nearly half of all people on treatment - have access to HIV/AIDS treatment at reduced prices reflecting CHAI negotiations.