Local News

Starr Report Floods the Internet

Posted September 10, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Even before theStarr reportwas released to the public, phone lines were jammed with people trying to get online and check it out.

The report is hundreds of pages long. Every single word can be read on the internet.

This is not the first time members of Congress have been faced with the possibility of impeaching a president, but it is the first time the public had access to the same information that they have.

The Lewinsky story broke, and Clinton was accused. It is all on the internet for everyone to read, andN.C. Statestudent Laurie Landsittel wasted no time logging on.

"I didn't know that their relationship went on from '95 or '96 to '98," Landsittel said. "I didn't know it had continued that long."

Cyber-surfers like Landsittel clogged the internet when the Starr report appeared on a number of government and news web sites includingwral-tv.com.

"I was just interested in what it had to say, and what was the truth," Landsittel said.

The report on TV-5's web page received 320 hits in the first ten minutes it was available Friday afternoon. National news organizations, likeCNN, recorded 400,000 hits per minute, and traffic at theAssociated Press web pagewas 20 times higher than normal.

"I don't believe this kind of stuff," cyber-surfer Piyush Sanghai said.

So what's the attraction? Evidence of wrongdoing? Grounds for impeachment? Perhaps it is the lurid details of sexual encounters which have some readers biting their nails in disbelief.

"They try to hide a lot of information from the people in general and now that it's out in the open, it's just unbelievable," Sanghai said.

Members of Congress will use the Starr report to formula opinions on whether impeachment hearings should begin, and now thanks to the internet everyone else will be too.

Some observers are calling Friday the Internet's busiest day ever.