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Isikoff: I Had 'Certain Homicidal Tendencies' After Drudge Scooped the Lewinsky Story

1:36 PM, Dec 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In Newsweek's final print edition, Michael Isikoff writes about when the magazine decided to hold the story of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. "The decision was final: Newsweek would hold the story," Isikoff writes, saying that "the brass wanted more work" done on the story before going to print with it.

A few days later, the story of the decade would be broken by the Drudge Report. "It didn’t take long, of course, for it to explode," writes the former Newsweek writer. "Early Sunday morning, Internet scribe Matt Drudge popped his screaming 'World Exclusive': 'NEWSWEEK KILLS STORY ON WHITE HOUSE INTERN ... SEX RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT.'"

Isikoff confesses that he had "certain homicidal tendencies" after being scooped. "As the truth began to unfold, and Newsweek’s insider knowledge became clear, The New York Times asked if I was suicidal when the story was spiked," he writes. "I don’t know about suicidal, I replied."

Isikoff says he told those who asked about whether he was suicidal, "I won’t deny certain homicidal tendencies."

But he suggests all worked out for him and the now defunct Newsweek magazine in the end. "Still, I had a job—and we had a magazine to put out. We published our first account on Newsweek’s website Tuesday night. And that weekend, Thomas masterfully weaved our reporting into a riveting cover story that laid out more details than anybody imagined about how the whole strange story had come about, who the characters were, and what was and wasn’t on the crucial tapes. It was the ultimate Washington “must read”—and Newsweek went on to win the National Magazine Award (and many other honors) for it. I would have preferred we had it first, of course. But we settled for having it better than anybody else," concludes Isikoff.

UPDATE: Isikoff emails to request that I add this note: "Isikoff's comment- in context, clearly in jest- was published by the NY Times nearly 15 years ago."

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