Politics

Monica Lewinsky says Fox News 'dream was my nightmare'

Times op-ed describes media emploitation

(CNN) - Monica Lewinsky is sharing her unique perspective in the wake of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes' passing, accusing him of building his network on the story of her relationship with then-President Bill Clinton, which made her life a "nightmare."

"Mr. Ailes, a former Republican political operative, took the story of the affair and the trial that followed and made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed Monday. "Their dream was my nightmare. My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly."

"Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings," the former White House intern added.

Ailes, who founded the Fox News Channel two years before the Lewinsky affair went public, died last week less than a year after being forced out of the chairmanship amid sexual harassment allegations. He was 77.

In her op-ed, Lewinsky cited comments made years ago by Fox News executive John Moody, who said Lewinsky's scandal "put us on the news map."

Lewinsky said Ailes' decision to oversee a strategy to "exploit" her personal crisis for the sake of creating a brand made her suicidal.

"My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail --- I was the original target of Kenneth Starr's investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit and other alleged crimes --- or worse, me taking my own life," she added. "Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy."

Lewinsky has since become an advocate against bullying and said the mainstream media used her scandal to further "a culture of humiliation."

"Our world --- of cyberbullying and chyrons, trolls and tweets --- was forged in 1998," she wrote. "It is, as the historian Nicolaus Mills has put it, a 'culture of humiliation,' in which those who prey on the vulnerable in the service of clicks and ratings are handsomely rewarded."


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