One day, we may look back and dub this month in cable news history “the return of the pervert,” as CNN and MSNBC welcomed back commentators and contributors accused of sexual harassment or other carnal improprieties to their airwaves. Abusing their position to obtain sexual favors, exposing themselves, or racking up a years-long history of inappropriate comments to female guests and co-workers could not stand in the way of Leftists’ return to the class of punditry.
Everyone from former Rep. Katie Hill (D, naturally, CA), to Jeffrey Toobin, to Chris Matthews have shaken off the muck of scandal and plunged into the ranks of cable news talking heads.
Katie Hill’s “throuple” with a young staffer exploded into public view after the Daily Mail published photos of Hill and her then-husband pawing a woman roughly half her age. The power differential between Hill and the employee raised questions of sexual harassment in the age of #MeToo. Still, CNN not only invited Hill, who spent less than a year in Congress, to offer commentary on a subject about which she clearly had no expertise, but CNN host Brianna Keilar practically begged her to return to politics.
Meanwhile at MSNBC, Joy Reid ushered her predecessor, Chris Matthews — who faced amorphous-yet-sustained charges of making inappropriate comments to female guests — back into his old time slot as a political commentator earlier this month. Days later, “Deadline White House” host Nicolle Wallace introduced “my friend, Chris Matthews” to her viewers. (He went on to say that Donald Trump “is up there with Benedict Arnold right now.”)
Most conspicuous by his on-air presence was former CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, whom CNN jerked back onto the airwaves after a suspension for exposing himself while masturbating during a Zoom call with fellow employees at The New Yorker magazine. “Look, if you can’t recover from masturbating on a Zoom in front of colleagues, is this even America anymore?” quipped Curt Mills of The American Conservative. Fellow CNN hack Ana Navarro covered Toobin (which is more than Toobin ever did), telling “The View” that her colleague “didn’t have the intent to sexually harass somebody. He was sexually harassing himself maybe.” But flashing your penis in front of co-workers would fall well within the sexual harassment guidelines of any business. If a work-from-home employee accidentally exposed himself in front of others on a Zoom call during the pandemic, it is inconceivable that he would remain employed by the end of the day. The double standards of the left-of-center chattering class hardly confine themselves to sex, as Chris Cuomo’s continued tenure at CNN proves.
While Leftists get an endless stream of waivers, exemptions, and second-chances, conservatives get a pink slip. The lowest-rated cable news network has canceled its contract with every conservative commentator who didn’t vote for Joe Biden — which is to say, every conservative commentator. It fired Jeffrey Lord because Lord, who is Jewish, used the phrase “Sieg Heil” on social media; it now refers to disagreements about the 2020 election as “The Big Lie” every 10 minutes.
CNN hired, then fired, conservative commentator Ed Martin, who hosts the “Pro-America Report” on the radio, within four months in 2017. While he held the position, Martin offended the network by not changing his views — something Ana Navarro could not defend. She once exploded at Martin, “I barely know your name; I have no idea who you are. I never insult you.” At the time of his hiring, Lord called Martin a “smart guy” who “will say things that go against the grain. After a while it will add up, and there will surely be those pushing to get rid of him.”
His prediction underlines that the only relevant factor in the networks’ HR decisions is the approval of the network’s uniformly Leftist hosts. Brian Stelter explained that Toobin came back to CNN, because “[s]ome anchors and hosts at CNN” had “expressed a desire to have Toobin back on their shows, since he has been a leading legal voice on television for decades.” But why did former Senator Rick Santorum get the boot at the network? A “CNN senior executive” told HuffPost that CNN took Santorum off the payroll, because “none of the anchors wanted to book him, so he was essentially benched, anyway.”
While welcoming Toobin back to the air, Alisyn Camerota warmly said, “Jeffrey, many of us have really missed having your legal analysis to guide us on our programs, so let me be the first to welcome you back.” Who will be the first to welcome back Santorum, Martin, Lord, Lewandowski, or anyone outside the ACELA Corridor with the temerity to say that 74 million Republican voters were not motivated by racial bias against … Joe Biden?
CNN insiders say subjectivity is the entire point: The network deliberately maintains vague ethical standards, so that it can apply them selectively based on the person’s political ideology. “You won’t see any rules that are etched in stone so that a violation could be a firing offense,” said Steve Holmes, who worked at CNN for more than a decade. “They can’t say that [Cuomo]’s violated any written policies because there aren’t any, period.”
It’s not just a double standard. It’s not merely bias. It’s the networks’ conscious moral decision that the acceptance, much less the expression, of conservative thought is worse than sexually boorish or utterly inappropriate actions; that Judeo-Christian morality is immoral and more sullying than the sexually motivated abuse of power, indecent exposure, or violating (admittedly ill-defined and ever-shifting) standards that make females express discomfort. But then any movement promoting transgenderism has long ago dispensed with the importance of women’s feelings and safety. This was visible in a media that mocked Mike Pence for refusing to have dinner alone with a member of the opposite sex, then remained silent as newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris co-hosted an event on “empowering women and girls” with Bill Clinton.
The media have adopted the inversion of Western morality. They have brought about what German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called “[t]he transvaluation of Christian values — an attempt with all available means, all instincts and all the resources of genius to bring about a triumph of the opposite values, the more noble values.” In his book appropriately titled The Antichrist, he wrote, “This has been the one great war of the past; there has never been a more critical question.”
The reemergence of Toobin, Hill, and others indicate that the media want to fight that war with as many allies as possible.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.