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THE CLINTON INVESTIGATION

Across Globe, More Media Outlets Become Monica-Free

October 03, 1998| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In isolated spots around the country and the world, the plea is being heard for relief from the President Clinton-Monica S. Lewinsky case.

Tune to a Seattle radio station that has declared itself a Clinton-free zone. Read a news release stamped "100% Monica-Free."

Pick up a newspaper from Portugal, where news organizations are voluntarily censoring coverage of the president's private life.

Even Monica Free, a homemaker from Waterloo, Iowa, hopes the news will soon reflect her name.

"It's a mess. People are weary of it all," Free says.

In Seattle, KJR-FM, a classic hits station, has banned the word "Clinton" from the air. When a caller or disc jockey slips, a game-show buzzer sounds, a cash register clanks "cha-ching," and the radio station drops $10 into a children's charity fund. The balance is $370.

"We just decided that everybody knows what's going on about the story, so let's just be the one place in the world where people can go and not hear about it," program director Gary Bryan said.

America's preoccupation with the Lewinsky-Clinton affair so frustrated the Washington-based Alliance for Better Campaigns that it stamped "100% Monica-Free" in red ink on the front of envelopes containing a recent news release.

Sympathetic to Monica-weary readers, the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., gave readers a Monica-free day. That was in February, when the story was just a month old. The paper didn't even run a "Doonesbury" comic that would have violated the one-day blackout.

Newspapers overseas are going a step further.

A German paper, Hamburg Morgenpost, expressed its disgust with coverage of the president's private life by recently running two pages that were blank except for headlines that said: "Clinton's Porno Hearing" and "Not With Us!"

Lewinsky's notoriety may even be leading new parents to establish Monica-free zones at home. Last year, 103 girls born in New Jersey were named Monica, compared with 49 during the first seven months of this year, a statewide survey found.

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