Former senator william s. cohen noted that "the danger inherent in a congressional committee investigtion is that the person under scrutiny willnot survive with his reputaion intact or...

Former senator william s. cohen noted that "the danger inherent in a congressional committee investigtion is that the person under scrutiny will

not survive with his reputaion intact or unstained...Acts of innocence or error when magnified under the microscope of the committee ans the ...nationak television networks will emerge as calculated wrongdoing" ...


so heres my question!.  How your live might change if you were the focus of the media during such an investigation? would your reputation remain "intact and unstained"? why or why not?



us gov


Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are plenty of examples to choose from to reinforce this idea.  Clarence Thomas now has a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but no one who was alive and watching during his confirmation hearings is going to forget the lurid details of the sexual harassment charges against him in the early 1990's.

During the McCarthy Era of the Second Red Scare, thousands of Americans had their careers and reputations destroyed simply by public association with the idea of communism.  They never received an apology or compensation for this.

Some would argue that Bill Clinton's crime of perjury in the late 1990s, given that he lied about an affair which was not illegal even if it was unpopular and immoral, was not worth a year and a half long investigation and $34 million in costs, but right or wrong, his Presidency will forever be associated with that one event.  True, Clinton already had a bad reputation in that department, but the congressional impeachment hearings were quite the circus, and they had their desired effect.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Individuals will have to face their own set of personal challenges with such a question.  I think that different people will have their own questions and answers to this topic.  Indeed, the harsh glare of a Congressional Committee inquiry would be challenging and individuals will have to endure quite a bit through it.  Depending on the level of inquiry and wrongdoing accused and proved through it, there will be repercussions.  Some individuals might be able to endure such a difficult time, while others might find the pressure too much to bear.  One thing that should be taken into account is that infamy, for the most part, is a noticeable condition for a certain period of time.  Today's casualty through the media is in existence as long as they are a part of the media cycle and when some other poor soul's infamy becomes center stage, this is where the focus is placed.  Perhaps, seeing the attention from a Congressional inquiry as temporary and fleeting, to a certain extent, might fit into the calculation.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the most part, this is surely a question you must answer for yourself because your life and your past is not the same as mine or that of any other person.

In general, I cannot believe anyone would be able to have their life completely scrutinized without having their reputation in some way tarnished.  I have surely said and done things while teaching that I would not want everyone to know I did and said.

As far as how my life would change, I imagine I would have a lot fewer friends.  People would probably think there was something wrong with me.  We all do wrong and our mistakes are not that big a deal.  But when they get played up outside the context of our whole life, they sound really bad.