Will the media take advantage of sexual harassment allegations to perform even more stringent levels of Cain scrutiny of every word and action from his campaign? New York Times reporter Susan Saulny hinted so in Friday’s “Even Cain’s Old Jokes Face Extra Scrutiny Now.”
Previously, Saulny had quoted leftist Cain-haters Cornel West and Harry Belafonte in an October 19 story fretting over Cain’s playful treatment of black stereotypes on the campaign trail, even quoting a professor who accused Cain of employing “a certain kind of minstrelsy to play to white audiences.”
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams followed a report on the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University by drawing this comparison: "A lot of people watching this scandal unfold at Penn State, watching the human damage pile up, watching an institution get badly soiled, can't help but think of the scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in America. There are a lot of parallels."
In the full report that followed, correspondent Anne Thompson gratuitously used the opportunity to slam the Church: "Almost ten years ago, the Boston Globe broke the story of priests abusing minors and the cover-up by Church officials, shattering the Archdiocese and the faith of many American Catholics. One of its reporters sees parallels in the Penn State case....Critics say these are institutions of power, secrecy, mythology, dominated by men who circled the wagons in a crisis."
Herman Cain has spent his life living and working all over the country -- Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, D.C. -- but never in Chicago.
So it's curious that all the sexual harassment allegations against Cain emanate from Chicago: home of the Daley machine and Obama consigliere David Axelrod.
Suspicions had already fallen on Sheila O'Grady, who is close with David Axelrod and went straight from being former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff to president of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), as being the person who dug up Herman Cain's personnel records from the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
For information on one of Herman Cain's accusers, CNN interviewed her former boss on Wednesday – who just also happened to be a former Clinton advisor and a Democratic strategist at present. Not surprisingly, interviewee Maria Cardona gave the accuser, Karen Kraushaar, a giant thumbs-up and told CNN that Kraushaar had referred to her old boss Herman Cain as a "monster."
Anchor Kyra Phillips never mentioned that Cardona was a Democratic strategist or a former Clinton advisor, and failed to question her if she had any underlying political motive in the case. CNN flashed the title of "Democratic Strategist" under Cardona's name for nine seconds during the interview which lasted over four minutes. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory discussed the political fallout of sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain and the possibility of the Republican presidential candidate being urged to drop out, declaring: "Well, there is no, you know, grand wizard in the party right now who can really force the issue." [Audio available here]
The term "grand wizard" was used as a leadership title in the Ku Klux Klan. Gregory later apologized via Twitter: "'Wizard' remark this morning was a very poor choice of words. Did not mean to make that connection at all. Was not thinking. I apologize." While Gregory may have simply used poor phrasing, if a Republican official or conservative commentator had made that kind of remark, Gregory and others in the media would certainly jump on it. [View video after the jump]
The same networks that ignored sexual allegations against Democrats for months all leaped on Tuesday to interview Sharon Bialek and her liberal advocate Gloria Allred on the morning after she came forward. Between them, ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC devoted over 21 minutes to Bialek, who accused GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of groping her over a decade ago. CNN had Bialek on for eight and a half minutes, and played up how Rush Limbaugh apparently said "not so nice things" about her [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
CBS's The Early Show gave the softest interview, failing to mention the accuser's past bankruptcies or Allred's liberal political leanings, something the other three at least mentioned. Anchor Jeff Glor asked Bialek if she would still vote for Cain if he became the GOP presidential nominee, only after her attorney, Gloria Allred, mentioned that her client was a registered Republican. None of the interviewers raised why Bialek had been fired by the National Restaurant Association before her meeting with Cain (correspondent Jan Crawford noted the firing in a setup piece on CBS).
On Saturday, NewsBusters reported that CNN in the six days after Politico's hit piece on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was published did more stories on that subject than it did on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's connections to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, and America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright combined.
On Fox News Monday, Bill O'Reilly agreed with our analysis saying, "This is disturbing," as did guest Bernie Goldberg who explained, "The reason is fairly obvious and fairly simple. They like Barack Obama and his politics and they don't like Herman Cain and his politics" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A former White House aide that accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her back in 1993 says she's infuriated by the media firestorm caused by anonymous harassment allegations leveled at Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
Speaking with radio's Steve Malzberg Friday, Kathleen Willey said, "Why are we even entertaining, you know, any of this from a person with no name and no face and a spokesperson who isn’t really clear on anything either" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
When it comes to sex, the media apply different standards to Republicans and Democrats.
Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton allegedly trolled for women, using state troopers as his procurers. As president, Clinton engaged in oral sex with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. He lied about it under oath and was impeached, though later acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Other sexual accusations tainted Clinton, including one that he raped one Juanita Broaddrick. That "everybody lies about sex" and "it was just sex" and didn't affect his public responsibilities, were just two of the exculpatory statements from Clinton's Democratic defenders. James Carville slimed Paula Jones, one of Clinton's accusers, by saying you never know what you'll find "when you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park."
In an interview with Michele Bachmann on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer's first four questions pushed Bachmann to comment on the Herman Cain controversy: "As the only woman in this race, I just would like your perspective on all this....Do you think you are hearing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from Herman Cain?"
Bachmann repeatedly told Lauer: "I don't have any comment on this particular issue." However, Lauer persisted: "Is a subject like sexual harassment, and if there – especially if there is more than one instance of it, even back in the '90s, is it a game-ender if it's proven to be true?"
Updated [11:22 ET]: More analysis and full transcript added.
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry reported on Herman Cain's campaign blaming Rick Perry for dredging up sexual harassment allegations against the Republican front-runner and then wondered: "Will this intra-party fight hurt the Republican Party's chance of taking back the White House?" [Audio available here]
Later, in an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Curry touted the back and forth among the GOP primary candidates as a "serious feud" and asked: "Do you think this scandal has affected your party's ability to unseat Barack Obama?" [View video after the jump]
Well, Maureen Dowd’s Wednesday New York Times column on anonymous accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain, “Cain Not Able,” certainly shows she has no fear of causing racial offense, at least when writing about conservative political figures: “Even Barack Obama couldn’t be lucky enough to waltz past two wacky black conservatives, first Alan Keyes and then Cain.”
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS's Betty Nguyen incorrectly reported that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain had been accused of "sexual assault" by two women. Nguyen later accurately reported that the women actually leveled sexual harassment allegations against Cain [video below the jump; audio clip available here].
The fill-in news anchor used the erroneous term during a 14-second news brief 37 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour: "One of two women who accuse Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual assault wants to speak out. The woman's lawyer say she wants to be released from a confidentiality agreement, so that she can publically respond to Cain's recent claims regarding the case."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews urged Herman Cain to admit to sexually harassing women and even predicted what the Republican front-runner might say: "I think even if it's really bad he has to put the context to it. He has to say, 'It was an extraordinary night, I had too many drinks, I normally don't act like that, this is not me.'"[Audio available here; view video after the jump]
Since the Herman Cain sexual harassment story broke late Sunday night, the broadcast networks have covered it extensively: full stories on Monday's morning news shows (ABC's Good Morning America led off their broadcast); full stories on Monday's evening news shows (the CBS Evening News made it their top item) and ABC's Nightline; and the top story on all three Tuesday morning shows.
Cain's accusers are still anonymous. Three women publicly accused Bill Clinton of far more serious instances of sexual harassment in the 1990s, but the networks all but ignored them. The coverage that did exist was often skeptical, insulting and hostile, an astonishing double standard.
CNN's Howard Kurtz on Sunday mocked the hiring of sex scandal plagued former governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) by Fox News.
Hypocritically, the "Reliable Sources" host neglected to mention his own network's prior relationship with the prostitute loving former governor Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
According to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Clarence Thomas' accuser, Anita Hill, is a "living legacy." The cable anchor on Wednesday fawned over the woman who, 20 years ago, charged the now-Supreme Court justice with sexual harassment. At no point did she offer a tough question or challenge the honesty of Hill.
Instead, Mitchell treated the Brandeis professor as a larger than life figure, wondering, "How is it to live with this, this history? You are now part of history. You have been for 20 years."
ABC's Robin Roberts tossed softballs to Anita Hill on Monday, wondering what the "legacy" will be for the "quiet" law professor who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment 20 years ago. The Good Morning America co-host only once challenged Hill about skepticism of her charges.
Although co-host George Stephanopoulos teased the segment by calling the 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings "controversial," Roberts' questions didn't indicate that at all. She prompted, "Take us back. What were your emotions?...Are you still angry?" Later, Roberts fawned, "I know there's still many books to be written, but [what's] your legacy?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
For analysis of the special election in New York's 9th Congressional District, CNN hosted Hilary Rosen – a former Democratic strategist and former interim head of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT civil rights organization.
The network simply listed Rosen as a "CNN political contributor," failing to disclose her past as a Democratic strategist. Not surprisingly, Rosen downplayed the shock of a Republican victory in former Congressman Anthony Weiner's district, which had been Democratic since the 1920s, remarking that "there's too much made of it."
CNN's legal contributor, and former legal analyst, Sunny Hostin stated Tuesday that the sex abuse cases involving the Catholic clergy could be considered war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"I mean this is a war crimes tribunal and that is not to say that perhaps these crimes don't qualify as war crimes because we know that sex crimes and sexual violence do qualify," she maintained. However, she added that most cases seen by the ICC stem from genocide or violence in war-torn countries.
Hostin's statement came during CNN's coverage of the efforts of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to have the pope prosecuted by the ICC for "crimes against humanity."
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
A prominent Democratic politician who was banned from receiving federal aid three years ago over fraud charges is once again raking in government funds from the very same program he abused. It pays to be a FOTO — Friend of the Obamas.
Our publicly subsidized con artist is Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson. He donated the maximum individual amount to Obama for America, campaigned across the country for Obama in 2008, and bragged to California media during his mayoral run about his friendship and access to both Barack and Michelle Obama. The Obama administration's Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently bestowed Johnson's city with an AmeriCorps grant worth more than $650,000.
One disgraced former governor hosted another disgraced former governor Monday night to praise New York's same-sex marriage bill. CNN's In the Arena host Eliot Spitzer brought on former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey to discuss the bill in what turned out to be love-fest in honor of McGreevey's pro-gay sentiments.
McGreevey, a Democrat, announced he was gay in 2004 while he was in office as governor of New Jersey. The announcement came as he resigned from office revealing that he had an gay affair with another man while married to his wife.
In the aftermath of the exposure and resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from Congress, his colleagues, some journalists, ethicists and pundits are trying to sort out what it means. Has a new standard been created in Washington? How can Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) remain in office under an ethical cloud about money and Weiner be forced to resign because he had fantasy sex? It wasn't even "real" sex, like Bill Clinton had. Clinton also lied about sex and was impeached for lying (but not for the sex because as actress Janeane Garofalo told Bill Maher recently, "everyone lies about sex"). Some wondered then if standards had fallen for occupants of the Oval Office, or whether the behavior of Clinton and some Republicans mirror a national moral decline?
The sour grapes were incredibly sour on the Thom Hartmann radio show on Thursday when they led off with the news that Anthony Weiner was resigning. Broadcasting live from the Netroots Nation hootenanny in Minneapolis, Hartmann went right from an admitted sex scandal to an unproven old story from last November in the National Enquirer:
Looks like Anthony Weiner’s about to step down. John Boehner’s involved in a major sex scandal. It’s all over the page of the National Enquirer. Two different women, they’re naming the women. So this is this is shades of the John Edwards revisit.
Now that disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has resigned, the media are not only trying to help resuscitate his career but also coming up with reasons why he wasn't that well liked anyway.
Jumping on the bandwagon was the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman who told MSNBC's Chris Matthews Friday, "I also don't think a lot of people loved the fact that he was on Fox a lot" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As news broke Thursday morning of Congressman Anthony Weiner's upcoming resignation, congressional correspondent Luke Russert appeared on NBC's Today and sympathetically declared: "...this is really a sad ending, a lot would say, to what was once a bright, promising political career."
Moments later, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd similarly touted Weiner's role in Democratic politics: "...he was serving as sort of the bombastic angry progressive, you know, trying to almost be the anti-Tea Party liberal in Congress taking on these folks. He'd become sort of a hero to the more progressive left, who were always upset that Democrats don't stand up for themselves. So here was the guy that had all this potential to become a huge political figure..."
From listening to CNN's pre- and post-Weiner press conference commentary, one could be forgiven for thinking they were already attempting to jumpstart the congressman's political career. Already one former politician caught in a sex scandal is using his prime-time position at CNN to rehabilitate his image.
"Sad" and "tragic" were words used by CNN's political team to describe Weiner's resignation given that he was a "rising star" in the Democrat Party. CNN's Wolf Blitzer told colleague John King, "It's almost tragic, John, because as you've been pointing out, [Weiner] was really the front-runner to become the next mayor of New York City after Michael Bloomberg."
Chris Matthews on Thursday said Fox News ought to hire disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to play the "typical liberal with all the lifestyle qualities of a typical liberal" to talk about "the latest scandal every night."
Politico's Ben Smith responded to the "Hardball" host, "I asked them about it today. They didn’t buy it. They referred me to CNN" (video follows with transcript and commentary):