Deborah Jeane Palfrey appeared on 20/20 last night as part of ABC News story on the D.C. Madam case but, contrary to some expectations, the ABC report did not reveal the names of alleged clients of her service:
During several weeks of calls to possible clients of the woman dubbed the D.C. Madam, Brian Ross of ABC confirmed that some fairly important people had used her escort service.
But when he put together last night’s segment for “20/20,” the network’s chief investigative reporter decided against outing anyone beyond the two people who already had been identified.
“Their names won’t mean anything to our audience,” Ross said in an interview. “They just weren’t newsworthy enough.” Instead, he said, “what we really wanted to do is demonstrate the range of official Washington” involved with the escort service.
Their positions, as described by Ross, made them important, at least by the capital’s standards: A federal prosecutor, who recently died. A handful of military officers, including the head of an Air Force intelligence squadron. A senior official at the World Bank and other officials at NASA and the International Monetary Fund. Corporate CEOs. And lobbyists, both Democratic and Republican.
But their relative anonymity spared them exposure as a result of the decision by Ross, “20/20″ Executive Producer David Sloan and Senior Vice President Kerry Smith.
So, apparently, no Congressman or Senators, no members of the White House staff, not even a Supreme Court law clerk. None of them were on the list. What’s even worse, it sounds like this story may not end up being nearly as titillating as we’d hoped:
While he could be criticized for withholding the names of officials who may have hired prostitutes, Ross said he is comfortable with the decision. In the end, the story didn’t quite live up to its much-ballyhooed billing.
“Like much of Washington, it turns out this is pretty dull stuff,” Ross said.
Say what you will about the French, but at least they can produce a good sex scandal or two every few years.