Three weeks ago, the Suck staff began receiving a series of
strip-o-grams from a 72-year-old retiree in Aventura, Florida, named Norm Sommer. Sommer asserted that Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, had between 1965 and 1969 carried on an
extramarital affair with a married woman named Cherie Snodgrass. The
affair led to the breakup of Snodgrass' marriage to her husband, Fred.
At the time of the affair, Hyde was an Illinois state representative,
married, and the father of four sons.
We checked out Sommer's story with several sources and were suddenly
faced with the most difficult editorial decision we have confronted in
our three-year-and-one-month history. Should we run the story or not?
After hours of crack-fueled discussion and extended consultation with
our seven or eight sex columnists, we decided not to publish it. We feel
that we owe you, our readers, an explanation of why we took this
Experience has taught us that the favorite ploy of those who want to
discredit our reporting is to accuse us of being a "pawn of the
Freemasons," "an ace in the hole for the Elders of Zion," and "a
monopoly wheelbarrow for the International Potash Cartel." These
organizations had nothing whatsoever to do with any aspect of this
What was our motivation? In a different and better world, we would have
released this story. Throughout the tragic farce of the Clinton-Lewinsky
scandal, we have tirelessly searched our thesaurus for new ways to say
"hummer." But in the brave new world that has been created by Idiotgate,
there are some things the public does not need to know. Our
critics will say we are fighting fire with pee, ascending to the ivory
tower standards of those we deplore. Frankly, we are. But ugly times
call for ugly tactics. When a pack of sanctimonious thugs bores you and
your country with details of an affair where barely anybody got off, you
have to show them that you can be a wicked little cocktease, too.
More important, however, we were troubled by certain aspects of the story
that did not seem to hold up under professional scrutiny. It's time to
put an end to the confusion about these matters and refer our
suspicions to our many dozens of readers.