Do the Levys and the Media Owe Gary Condit an Apology?

May 29, 2002

by Mary Mostert, Analyst - Banner of Liberty

Last summer, when the search for Chandra Levy was at fever pitch, the nation’s media, especially the television networks, did a real hatchet job on Congressman Gary Condit, based entirely on an unidentified leak from the Washington, D. C. police department.

Over time, in the minds of most Americans, the charge in the “leak” that Gary Condit “admitted” having a “romantic relationship” with Chandra Levy became a fact. Gary Condit, a man who married at age twenty and thirty-four years later is still married to the same woman, was vilified as an adulterer and, possibly a murderer.

I received some of the most incredible e-mail during that period of time from people who had it all worked out in their heads as to how Gary Condit killed Levy, why he killed her and where the body was buried. I also received an e-mail with a picture of Chandra sitting in front of government buildings in Israel and a story that she was actually in Israel in hiding. Naturally, I didn’t use the picture, knowing how easy it is to fake pictures these days.

I would write back and ask how it was possible for Gary Condit to have worked a murder and hiding a body into his busy schedule on the House floor on May 1, 2001, when he voted several times. I received replies saying he could have accomplished it all in the two hours between votes by “driving to Chandra’s apartment, killing her and hiding the body.”

Since Condit almost never drives a car to the Capitol, I thought his ability to do that, on foot, would have probably been a superhuman feat.

Of course now that Chandra Levy’s remains have been found, we suddenly are getting information apparently kept secret by the media and the Washington Police about two other attacks on women in Rock Creek Park within days or weeks of Chandra’s disappearance. Many other questions need to be answered.

Why did the Washington Police only make a short search of Rock Creek Park after they had arrested Ingmar Guandeque, who attacked the two female joggers in the same area of the Park Levy’s body was found? Why wasn’t Gaundeque’s first reported attack, a mere two weeks after Chandra’s disappearance, ever mentioned by the media? And, why did it take the second attack by the same man who is now serving a 10 year prison term for those attacks (1) on July 1, 2002 to move the Washington Police to finally search Rock Creek Park? And, since both of the other attacks took place near where Levy’s remains were recently found, why did the police fail to thoroughly search that section of the park, instead of wasting so much time and personnel questioning Gary Condit, searching his apartment and demanding lie detector tests?

Everyone knows that a real suspect cannot, under our Constitution, be required to take a test which could lead to them testifying against themselves. While Gaundeque did not volunteer having killed Chandra Levy, he obviously should be the #1 suspect - beginning about May 15, 2001. Why was his very existence kept a secret while the media whipped up a concocted frenzy of suspicion and hate for Gary Condit?

Condit’s hometown paper, the Modesto Bee, reported Monday, “Media interest in Levy wanes.” (2) Even Fox News, which had almost daily demands for the resignation of Condit last summer, is not giving the new turn of events much time and space. Robert Zimmerman, a spokesman for Fox News Channel in New York, stated: “Already, Fox has scaled back its talk-show coverage of the case. Her body was found. Now itís a whodunit. When there are breaks in the case, there will be some coverage."

Finding the body was not needed when Fox News and other media were trying, convicting and sentencing Gary Condit to political oblivion for his supposed “affair,” based on an unverifiable “rumor.” Gary Condit cooperated with the police, but he correctly observed that it’s not the job of the media to investigate the disappearance of Chandra Levy. Unfortunately, the police did a very poor job of investigating and added fuel to the media’s fire.

Condit even answered the media’s incredibly stupid questions, such as Connie Chung’s “Did you kill Chandra Levy?” (3) However, he refused to discuss his relationship with Chandra Levy to satisfy the sexual curiosity of reporters. Was it romantic? What did they do? Did Chandra have a crush on him? She dreamed of “being faithful” to him, a married man, for “five years until he retired from politics” and then “getting married and having his baby.”

Right. What every sixty-year-old retiree needs is a new wife, a new baby and a wrecked family?

Actually, there’s a lot that Fox News could be talking about. For starters, it could apologize for destroying Condit’s reputation and for trying to wreck the Condit family. They didn’t succeed in wrecking his family. In the words of Chad and Cadee Condit, the Congressman’s son and daughter who resigned $110,00 and $52,000 per year jobs in Governor Gray Davis’ office over the governor’s negative comments about their dad, (4) “The Condits are a very proud and loyal family, not only in the good times but in the darkest hours." That commitment to their family cost all working members of the Condit family their jobs.

Some of the most vicious web sites on the Internet are aimed at Gary Condit. And, I suspect the solidarity of his family will make some of those web sites even more vicious. Gary Condit is still smiling. In an era when most American families are floundering, the strength and solidarity of the Condit family is, or should be, inspiring to others.

Bill Clinton was not driven out of office, even though there was a huge amount of proof laid out in court cases and the Starr Report. Gary Condit has been driven out of office with absolutely no proof that he has done anything immoral, much less illegal.

I think Condit’s wife Carolyn and his children Chad and Cadee know a whole lot more about the kind of person Congressman Gary Condit is than the rumor mongering commentators and reporters who simply have speculated about what “might” have happened - just like the people who wrote me e-mail about Levy being buried in a parking lot in Virginia or hiding out in Israel. It was mostly speculation, rumor and outright lies.

I think a lot of people, including Chandra’s parents, should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done to Gary Condit and what they have tried very hard to do to the Condit family. It’s cost the Condit family a small fortune in money - but the most important thing - their family - has survived.

1. U.S. Department of Justice - February 8, 2002 - Attacker of women in Rock Creek Park receives 10-year prison sentence
2. Modesto Bee - May 27, 2002 - Media interest in Levy wanes
3. Banner of Liberty - Chungís Silly Question: "Did You Kill Chandra Levy?"- August 24, 2001
4. CNN August 28, 2001 - “The Condits are a very proud and loyal family, not only in the good times but in the darkest hours."


Mary Mostert was writing professionally on political issues as a teen-ager in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s. In the 1960s, she wrote a weekly column for the Rochester Times Union, a Gannett paper and was one of 52 American women who attended the 17 Nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland to ban testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. She was a licensed building contractor for 29 years, as she raised her six children. She served an 18 month mission as Public Affairs Director for the Africa Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990-91. In the 1990s she wrote a book, Coming Home, Families Can Stop the Unraveling of America, edited the Reagan Monthly Monitor and talk show host Michael Reagan’s Information Interchange for seven years. She now operates the website, Banner of Liberty.

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