Lewinsky scandal broke, parents and some...

AFTER THE MONICA

March 09, 1998

AFTER THE MONICA Lewinsky scandal broke, parents and some columnists raised concerns about how to explain this very adult story to young people. A weekly supplement that Time magazine produces for children, used in some Maryland classrooms to teach current events, had an interesting pint-sized take on the alleged affairs d'state:

"President Clinton faces serious charges. People for and against Clinton say that if the charges are true, he could be in big trouble. But no one knows the whole truth yet," Time for Kids reported in an issue last month. "A woman who used to work at the White House claims to have proof that President Clinton had a young girlfriend named Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky also used to work at the White House. Most Americans would strongly disapprove of the married President's having a girlfriend.

"President Clinton insists that Lewinsky was never his girlfriend and that he never lied or asked anyone else to. Until all the legal questions are answered, there will be a lot of talk -- and news reports -- about the President's honesty and honor." An accompanying photo of the first lady looking admiringly at her husband helped reassure young readers.

Alas, Washington keeps presenting educators with new frontiers in teaching civics. And you thought TV's "South Park" was troubling.

ADD ANOTHER gem to the architectural tiara of Mount Vernon Place. The ornate top-floor North Hall of the Peabody Conservatory, with its plaster Parthenon frieze and skylight, has been renovated.

Now named after Leith Symington Griswold, who studied at the Peabody in the 1920s and 1930s, the hall boasts a new concert-quality Holtkamp pipe organ. At the end of the summer, a 16th-century Flemish Renaissance tapestry depicting the triumphs of Roman general Scipio Africanus, conqueror of Hannibal, will be rehung in the hall after a 17-year restoration.

Before the turn of the century, that hall was the home of Baltimore's first art gallery. It now promises to become a popular recital venue -- in addition to serving as a rehearsal space for the Peabody orchestra.

The Mount Vernon area is in the midst of a campaign to turn its many art institutions into a more identifiable cultural district. The latest Peabody face-lift -- and a $2 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin H. Griswold IV to endow the hall and piano scholarships -- advances that goal.

IT IS ALL too common for print journalists to belittle their broadcast counterparts for any number of alleged sins. One person who throughout his long career in television news escaped such criticism -- and for very good reason -- was Fred W. Friendly.

Mr. Friendly, who died last week at age 82, was a pioneer in television news. He produced Edward R. Murrow's famous broadcasts on Sen. Joseph McCarthy and "Harvest of Shame," the still-powerful 1960 documentary on the plight of migrant workers.

Later, he served as president of CBS News, Ford Foundation adviser, outspoken First Amendment champion, promoter of journalism ethics and one of the faculty stars of the Columbia University School of Journalism.

It was, especially, in that last role that he touched the lives and minds of many young journalists, who fondly recall Mr. Friendly's wit and pointed critiques. He will be missed.

Pub Date: 3/09/98

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