What a gloriously happy month it has been for the news media! Not only have they had their way with quantities of titillating details of the Clinton sex scandal—each of them yielding up its secret but reluctantly to the seducer’s touch—they have also had the sauce to pleasure afforded by their continual self-flagellation. Hardly had the news broken of Linda Tripp’s recordings of Monica Lewinsky’s confessions before conscience-stricken journalists were professing themselves sick of the whole business. “The scandal is less than a week old,” wrote Linton Weeks in the Style section of The Washington Post, “but already a quiet disgust is spreading across the land. In the face of a round-the-clock onslaught of tidbits and titillations, many Americans are eager to learn the truth. But the unsavory details are giving them heartburn.”

On the same page, Tom Shales, the...

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