The Washington Gadfly
It's the Serotonin, Stupid.

Chimpstein.com is not a blog.

Pre-Internet, back when information highway meant a road with lots of signs, the guy who incessantly barraged strangers with ill-informed and incoherent opinions about current events was considered a public nuisance.

The poor soul who sits in the corner of McDonald's muttering to himself over a cup of coffee about the government.

Or he might have been known as a pompous windbag; the person you have the misfortune of being seated next to on an airplane.

Today, he's a blogger.

And celebrated.

Quoted frequently by journalists who are too lazy to pick up the phone, pound the pavement or interview experts.

Why should bloggers have any credibility?

It's a safe bet that only a minuscule fraction of those who leave what New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman calls blogorhea all over the information highway have ever written for money. Some don't even write under their own names.

They have, generally speaking, no editors. No fact-checking. No nothing except whatever opinions happen to pop into their precious little heads.

Rebetzin Esther Jungreis, known as the Jewish Billy Graham because she proselytizes other Jews, once said at her Torah class that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky epitomized everything wrong about American life.

Ditto for bloggers.

Mistaking feelings for facts. The public discussion of what was once private. (Today, women "blog" about their sex lives; they once kept the details in carefully hidden notebooks.)

Self-absorption. The demand for immediate gratification. Do whatever feels right. Talk before you think.

This is the stuff which demoralizes society.

What then is chimpstein.com?

It is a news website, with an investigative bent, named for the most illustrious Simian-American since Ham the Space Chimp.

Chimpstein breaks stories and finds overlooked material, rather than just comment on whatever the New York Times or the Washington Post publishes; or comment on the commentary. Its chief writer and investigative reporter, Eric Breindel's only protégé, once specialized in turning liberal sacred cows into kosher red meat for neo-cons but now accords the right equal scrutiny. Chimpstein exclusives have been quoted by the Washington Times, Forward, Washington Jewish Week, Lloyd Grove's New York Daily News gossip column and Radar magazine

Advertisements for myself:

"You have the best sense of humor of anyone at the editorial page. You are the first one in and the last one to leave. That kind of thing counts a lot with me."
--New York Post Editorial Page Editor Eric Breindel, October 1995

"You have done a brave and courageous thing. You're learning a lesson about the right that I learned about the left a long time ago ... They are guilty of grotesque double standards, worst of all the Jews among them."
--TNR Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz, May 2001 and June 2001

"We should remember that Gahr's 'offense' was ... something that everyone except those who put service to the cause above all us would be a form of public service."
--New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch, May 2001

"Keep up the adequate work."
--Washington Times political reporter Ralph Hallow, June 2001

"Give [your parents] my best from this ex-demented you know what. Tell them they must have done something right to have raised a son who sticks to principle. Rare indeed in this city."
--Free Congress Foundation chairman Paul Weyrich, right after his remarkable visit to the Holocaust Museum, for which he refused to seek advance publicity, April 2002

"I have an Uncle Bertram."
--Todler-American leader BeccaChimp, 2004

Is the otherwise ebullient Bill Clinton under treatment for clinical depression?

The ex-president is "taking antidepressants," says a well-informed source; let's just pick a random pseudonym for chimpstein's confidential informant.

How about ... W. Mark Felt?

Actually, Dr. Felt. He's a psychiatrist colleague of Clinton's physician, who would have blatantly violated confidentiality laws if he divulged the information to any other doctor without Clinton's consent.

It's not surprise that he blabbed; doctors have big mouths and love to boast about their famous patients. But Clinton on antidepressants could be quite a shocker.

He is not known to have any prior history of depression or even to have devoted a major speech to the aliment, which the National Mental Health Association says afflicts 19 million Americans each year. It is not listed in the index for his gargantuan autobiography.

But the man just one election away from being the nation's first First Husband, had open heart surgery in September 2004. The procedure can induce depression.

Why would Clinton, who blathers about almost everything personal, keep quiet about the new medication he is said to take?

I have no comment on whether the White House got you fired," says Hudson fellow Michael Horowitz. "I have no comment until the end of time.

One possible explanation: there is no depression lobby.

Unlike other diseases, you don't gain political capital by discussing your own bouts with clinical depression or travails that loved ones suffered.

Is he worried that discussion could lead to some embarrassing questions since one well-known side-effect of antidepressants is delayed ejaculation?

Does that mean next time around Clinton could be less likely to leave his calling card on an ambitious underling's blue dress?

But conservatives shouldn't make too many jokes. Unlike multiple divorcee/guardian of family values Rush Limbaugh, at least Clinton can get his pills without any question of illegality.

Although Clinton is synonymous with dishonesty going public about the medication could help Americans understand the truth about depression.

Contrary to oft-repeated assertions by certain simpletons on the right, Prozac and other SSRIs are not happy pills dispensed promiscuously by doctors in the throes of our therapeutic culture. It would be equally inane to claim that diabetics are given more insulin than they need because health freaks on the left exaggerate the dangers of sugar.

All but the abysmally ignorant understand full well that depression, caused by chemical imbalance, not excessive angst, is a serious medical condition which, like any other, often requires medication.

If untreated and severe it can lead to suicide.

Depression also exacerbates other common medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.

Clinton's press office did not respond to requests for comment

If pressed, however, might Clinton get cagey.

"Yes, I took Prozac. But I didn't swallow."

   Evan Gahr EvanGahr@aol.com, a former press critic for the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, recently broke the story of a race discrimination lawsuit against the Washington Post. He has written for almost every major conservative publication.