Ed Driscoll

'The Perfect Storm of Media Hypocrisy'

Andrew McCarthy on the Politico’s drive-by hit on Herman Cain:

This controversy is the perfect storm of (a) media hypocrisy: given the bar set by Clinton/Edwards/Ted Kennedy/et al., the worst possible case of what Cain is accused of — if you draw every conceivable negative inference against him — doesn’t come close to being a story, yet the lefty media energetically dig into Cain after having buried the exponentially worse Democrat scandals; (b) the special bull’s-eye fitted on black conservatives: their example of self-reliance and independent thinking makes them such a threat to the “social justice” narrative that, when it comes to destroying them, anything goes; (c) sexual harassment: a social-engineering caprice the arbitrary standards of which can turn routine — not admirable, often unsavory, but entirely unremarkable — human behavior into legal ruin; and (d) the litigious nanny state: with human life hyper-regulated and legal fees hyper-expensive, ordinary human behavior becomes grist for extortionate lawsuits that parties settle on the cheap because the cost of fighting is prohibitive — and later, these parties end up sounding like jackasses if asked about the suits, at least in part because, if you say something strong in your defense, you risk violating the standard reciprocal confidentiality provision and thus reopening the whole expensive, embarrassing business.

As Michael Walsh adds, “Congratulations — you’ve just effected the Apostle Saul’s famous Rule No. 13: ‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.’ And that’s what’s happening to Herman Cain right now.”

On the other hand, with that polarization comes publicity. “Well, Herman Cain’s Name ID Issues Are a Thing of the Past,” Jim Geraghty quips:

Do you know Herman Cain?

I don’t. I doubt you do, either. Even if you know him personally, you cannot know, with absolute certainty, what happened when he interacted with the employee who lodged a sexual harassment charge against him when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association. You may think you know. You may feel you’ve spent enough time around him to be absolutely certain that he wouldn’t be capable of boorish or hostile or abusive behavior. Certainly, the vast majority of the people who have worked with him over the years have found him charming, warm and a perfect gentleman.

Except that I’ll bet that staffers and supporters of Mark Sanford didn’t see his scandal coming, either.

Sadly, excellence or high achievement or even high character in one aspect of one’s life does not guarantee high character in other aspects of life. Duke Cunningham was the lone flying ace from the Vietnam era, and one of the earliest graduates of Top Gun school. Throughout the 1990s, there were fewer House conservatives more well-liked. And he pled guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Rudy Giuliani was a fantastic mayor and a sterling leader in a crisi. He sounds like he was, at least in the past, an extraordinarily difficult husband.

So while we may like Herman Cain, and we may find the claims a bit sketchy, we cannot know that he did nothing wrong here.

Get ready for round two to break shortly: “Lawyer for Cain’s accuser: She wants to tell her side of the story.”

Update: An Insta-reader emails:

I’m at one airport, my sister’s at another, and of course they’re both playing CNN, and it’s wall-to-wall coverage of Cain and the harassment charge. Two things: first, they aren’t bringing people on who will defend Cain or at least criticize the poor reporting involved, and second, they are reporting and commenting on it as though it is hard fact and there are no questions about what went on. And all this with thousands of people as a captive audience, getting fed the narrative that Cain either lacks integrity and is a pervert, or is an amateur. I’m sure this is all coincidence. Your question about whether or not Politico would have run a similar piece about Obama stands for CNN as well. Somehow I don’t see Wolf Blitzer allowing this sort of one-sided attack to go unchallenged if the attack was against Obama. As Rush says, the elites will always show you who they’re afraid of.

Actually, we know exactly how CNN would respond to the story if it involved Obama, if past memory hole performance is any guarantee of future obfuscation:

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