On Friday, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski spoke about her reservations regarding Al Franken’s resignation, and her belief that the #MeToo movement might be stepping over the line, saying she’s "concerned for women who are legitimately sexually harassed in the workplace across America, and where this is taking us."
Brzezinski first quoted a Washington Post article by Ruth Marcus titled: "Was Al Franken's Punishment Fair?"
There is no doubt, in the case of Al Franken, that Democrats are better off with the Minnesota senator gone. There's more doubt about whether justice was done. The political calculus a simple: Franken had to go. With the grotesque picture of him groping, or pretending to grope, the breasts of a fellow USO performer, he would have been a nonstop distraction, muddling Democrats' case against alleged groper President Trump and alleged child molester Roy Moore. Franken paid not only for their sins but also for the alleged behavior of Bill Clinton two decades ago. Democrats underreacted then and consequently were impelled to overreact now.
Brzezinski then editorialized:
All this time ... we've never really talked about the woman who first came out against Al Franken. ... I'm surprised that you think a comedian's picture of a performer, Playboy model who goes on Hannity, who voted for Trump, you know, I see some politics there. But I haven't brought that up every step of the way because, of course, in this #metoo environment, you must always just believe the women. And I think that there's a lot of reasons why we need to look at the women seriously and believe them, and in many cases — like for example, I spoke to accusers [of] Mark Halperin, which he admits to a lot of what he's accused of doing. I spoke to them; I believe them. I'm just wondering if all women need to be believed, and I'm concerned that we are being the judge, the jury, and the cops here, and so did Senate Democrats getting ahead of their skis, and trust me, Kirsten Gillibrand, I want you to run for president, but you've gotta keep it real.
I would appreciate if senators, Democratic senators, would say "the photo is too dangerous, we recognize the work that he’s done for women" — I have a list of legislation he sponsored for victims of domestic violence and rape survivors — "We appreciate his work. At this time, right now, that picture is too politically damaging, and we'd prefer if he step aside." That would have been a more honest way of asking him to step down. In my opinion, just my opinion, I feel like we are ... we've got a machine gun [out] and we're just going around the room with every man that perhaps we don't like politically. I don't know.
Brzezinski then quoted a New Yorker article by Masha Gessen titled: "Al Franken's Resignation and the Selective Force of #MeToo."
The case of Franken makes it all that much more clear that this conversation is, in fact, about sex, not about power, violence, or illegal acts. The accusations against him, which involve groping and forcible kissing, arguably fall into the emergent, undefined, and most likely undefinable category of "sexual misconduct." Put more simply, Franken stands accused of acting repeatedly like a jerk, and he denies that he acted this way. The entire sequence of events, from the initial accusations to Franken's resignation, is based on the premise that Americans, as a society, or at least half of a society, should be policing non-criminal behavior related to sex.
... If only Franken's heartbreakingly articulate expression of his loss were capable of focusing our attention on this root, and on the dangers of the drive to police sex.
Here’s the video (pertinent portion begins at the 1:42 mark):