Claim: In a 1987 interview, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr decried "perverts who provide the media with pornographic material."
Origins: Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, the man who conducted investigations that led to reports and videotapes containing graphic descriptions of sexual activity between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky flooding the media, violated the proclamation he allegedly made to "60 Minutes" correspondent Diane Sawyer in a 1987 interview:
Public media should not contain explicit or implied descriptions of sex acts. Our society should be purged of the perverts who provide the media with pornographic material while pretending it has some redeeming social value under the public's 'right to know.'
you should expect, this quote is too good to be true. It's a clever counterpoint to the now notorious statements made about Nixon's impeachment in 1974 by a young University of Arkansas law professor named Bill Clinton, but it's also a complete fabrication. According to CBS, Kenneth Starr — then a judge with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia — did not appear on 60 Minutes in 1987 (if he had, we certainly would have seen a clip of this appearance a few thousand times by now), nor was there any newsworthy reason why he would have been interviewed or made such a statement that year. (According to Salon, Starr had ruled in a case brought by CBS that year, but it had nothing to do with pornography.) Moreover, the statement attributed to Starr doesn't appear in any judicial documents issued by him during his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals, nor does it sound like something Starr would say or write.
We should still sit back and marvel at how far and fast something so obviously phony can spread these days.
founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.