If you ever need to know whether to believe the sexual harassment or assault allegations against a politician, just ask yourself how they identify politically. That will, at the very least, let you know how the media will react to the allegations.
If the politician is a Republican, it will be wall-to-wall coverage of the allegations, no matter how thin or dubious. If the politician is a Democrat, the allegations may get an article or two (typically from the “Republicans pounce/seize” angle) and then you’ll never hear about them again.
We are seeing this dynamic yet again following Lindsey Boylan’s more detailed allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). The “D” next to his name tells you exactly how the media has covered Boylan’s post on Medium. CNN has written exactly one news article about Boylan’s detailed post – from the angle that Cuomo denied her allegations. Chris Cillizza has also published an opinion piece about Cuomo’s scandals – including his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times has two news articles about the allegations, as does The Washington Post.
As for the networks, Newsbusters reported that CNN covered the allegations for 96 seconds during daytime programming, with no mentions during evening or primetime shows. MSNBC hosts, meanwhile, noted the allegations a couple times during daytime programming, while it was discussed briefly on their “Morning Joe” program. Host Chuck Todd, however, dedicated a whopping seven-minute-and-23-second segment to all of Cuomo’s scandals. Boylan’s post was published on Wednesday. That evening, none of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) covered the allegations.
This lack of coverage (or, appropriate amount of coverage, depending on your view) is in stark contrast to how these same networks and outlets cover allegations against Republicans. At this point after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused, the networks had run wall-to-wall coverage of the allegations, with numerous articles from all the major outlets. These outlets sought to add to the story by contacting Kavanaugh’s childhood friends, coworkers, neighbors – anyone who might potentially add more dirt to the story. Contrast that with Cuomo, who has allegedly sexually harassed multiple women, according to Boylan, yet these women have apparently not been contacted by the major media outlets and had their stories told, even anonymously. With how quickly these outlets were able to get these same kinds of testimonials against Republicans, one would think it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to seek out additional allegations – unless they aren’t looking.
And Kavanaugh isn’t the only example. Allegations against former President Donald Trump also received non-stop coverage, as did domestic violence allegations against one of his senior officials, Rob Porter.
Some of those allegations were dubious on their face, while others couldn’t even prove they had ever been in the same room as the person being accused, as with Kavanaugh. It never mattered, however, as the allegations were reported as if true with little to no investigation of even basic facts.
Meanwhile, allegations against prominent Democrats like Cuomo, President Joe Biden, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, are swept under the rug, barely covered, or reported as if they are false, again without any investigation.
Many of the allegations against members of both parties have at least some issues that call into question their credibility. Biden’s accuser said the assault happened in a place that does not exist. Kavanaugh’s accuser had no proof she was ever in the same place as him. Porter’s accuser’s stories don’t line up with publicly available information.
Other allegations came at suspicious times, when the accused was set for a promotion or some other achievement. Yet issues like these are ignored only when the accused is a Democrat.
The reason conservatives get so upset over this kind of biased coverage is because many of these same Democrats demand that women be believed and have tried to take away due process from the accused, yet when the allegations are against them, suddenly due process is important.
Biden spent years advocating against due process, first with the Violence Against Women Act and then with the Obama administration’s campus sexual assault policies, which insisted due process was anathema to justice and that women must be believed. Cuomo, too, has advocated for these policies, adopting affirmative consent rules (which basically state there is no such thing as consent, because a woman can always claim she was drunk, or scared, or didn’t really mean it when she said “yes”). Cuomo also told Kavanaugh’s accuser “and all survivors of sexual assault, we believe you and we will fight for you.” He also blasted the Trump administration for allegedly diminishing women’s stories of assault and harassment. Now that the allegations are against him, he says women should be believed, but not this particular woman.
Democrats and the media need to be consistent, either all women are to be believed outright without question, or allegations need to be thoroughly reviewed and questioned. The rules can’t apply to some people and not others.
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