I don’t believe the accusations against Justin Fairfax, the Democratic lieutenant governor of Virginia. I don’t necessarily disbelieve them, either. At this point there is not enough evidence or corroboration to form an opinion on the matter one way or another. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence until his accuser can produce evidence to the contrary.
All things being equal, I would agree with The Washington Post’s decision to punt the story a year ago when it was initially brought to them. I would also respect the media’s exceedingly light treatment of the accusations. CNN didn’t have one single article about Justin Fairfax on their homepage this morning. A day later and they’d already banished the story to the cyber hinterlands. Objectively, in a vacuum, that’s probably the right thing to do. But we are not in a vacuum and things are not equal.
The Washington Post and other mainstream outlets have no problem running with, reporting on, and generally making a huge deal about, uncorroborated sexual assault allegations against Republicans and random college kids. Of course the most prominent example of this is Kavanaugh, who was smeared for weeks with completely unproven, unsubstantiated, evidence-less assault claims, and then smeared again for another few weeks for being too passionate in his rebuttal of those claims. Clearly, their hesitancy with the Fairfax allegations isn’t due to caution and journalistic integrity. Rather, the exact opposite on both counts. The news media, with few exceptions, is a PR machine for the Democratic Party, and that fact becomes painfully obvious when it comes to these kinds of scandals.
Some have argued that the Kavanaugh allegations deserved more attention because they were more credible. I don’t think the people who make this argument actually believe it. How could they? Any objective comparison reveals that Fairfax’s accuser is vastly more credible than Christine Ford. Let’s take a look:
1) Ford waited 30 years to alert the media about Kavanaugh’s alleged crime, even though he’d been in public life for decades. Fairfax’s accuser waited less than half that time, and came forward as soon as he started running for statewide office.
2) Ford didn’t know the location of the alleged assault. Fairfax’s accuser can report the exact location. She says it happened at a hotel in Boston.
3) Ford didn’t know the date or even year of the alleged assault. Fairfax can give a precise date, as it allegedly occurred during the DNC convention in 2004.
4) Kavanaugh denied any sexual contact with Ford of any kind. Fairfax admits to a sexual encounter but claims it was consensual.
5) Ford’s claims were not only uncorroborated but directly contradicted by the supposed eye witnesses. Fairfax, as of now, has no exonerating witnesses.
None of this proves that Fairfax is guilty. It’s still just a he said-she said type of thing. Just because an accuser can name a date and place doesn’t mean her accusation is true. Just because Fairfax admits to sexual contact with the accuser doesn’t mean he assaulted her. But an accusation that includes these details is certainly more credible than an accusation lacking them.
There is plenty of reason to give both Kavanaugh and Fairfax the benefit of the doubt. There is some reason to believe in Kavanaugh’s innocence while remaining skeptical about Fairfax. There is no rational or honest reason to believe Kavanaugh accuser’s and not Fairfax’s. There is no good reason to treat the former as news and the latter as hearsay. Unless you are a lying, manipulating propaganda merchant.