The New Yorker Finally Sees the Light on Due Process — to Defend Al Franken
After years of pretending that due process is a thing of the past and all we need is to #BelieveWomen, the Democrats have decided that conservative women should be thoroughly investigated when they make #MeToo claims, (especially if the claims bring down a Democrat).
Al Franken was forced by fellow Democrats to resign his Senate seat over a photo of the former comedian appearing to grab the breasts of a conservative talk show host while she was sleeping. She also accused him of forcing a kiss on her that was unwanted that he had written into a skit for a USO tour she performed with the former senator. After “rushing to judgement” as they now claim they did, the Democrats have unleashed the far-left New Yorker to tear conservative talk show host Leeann Tweeden’s life apart. Seven Democrat lawmakers now say they regret urging Franken to resign and, magically, there is a painfully long exposé to go along with their confession in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer.
The microscope was turned up to full power as the crack reporters at the New Yorker turned their fury and rage over losing Franken onto a woman who had actual photographic evidence of the abuse she says she suffered (unlike any of the other accusers in the #MeToo scandals, including their favorite victim, Christine Blasey-Ford, who never had any evidence).
The New Yorker’s big "gotcha" is that Franken actually wrote the skit, that Tweeden claimed she thought was written for her, years before and performed it with other people. That still doesn’t explain away her feeling that he asked her to perform it so he could put his lips on her. How was she supposed to know when he wrote it? It’s not a stretch to imagine that Tweeden did not follow Franken’s comedy routines with any kind of scrutiny or interest.
Not only did the reporters at the New Yorker talk with every single person on that USO tour, including a trombone player, in order to find evidence that Tweeden was lying, they even tracked down her old employers at KABC, one of whom is a disgruntled Never Trumper and another one, Drew Hayes, had the unforgivable misfortune to post a photo of his Christmas tree that was “decorated with a crocheted Trump ornament.” These dastardly people, according to the New Yorker, put out Tweeden’s story along with Nathan Baker, who contributed to (gasp!) PJ Media the “hyper-partisan conservative platform,” without fully interrogating every single person who ever met Tweeden. It’s amusing to hear PJM described that way by the hyper-partisan New Yorker that puts illustrations like this on its cover.
Do they really see themselves as unbiased? And do they really want to accuse others in the media of not fully vetting #MeToo stories? They might want to remember their own reporting on Christine Blasey Ford’s unbelievable account of her “trauma” at the hands of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The New Yorker quoted Dick Durbin, as if he knows anything about truthfulness: “A polished liar can create a seamless story, but a trauma survivor cannot be expected to remember every painful detail.” If that’s true, then why didn’t the New Yorker go to bat for Tweeden on the same premise? Instead they picked her story apart piece by piece to cast doubt over every claim she made, including photographic evidence!
Al Franken is depicted in this piece as a long-suffering sad sack who really didn’t deserve any of the consequences he got. Poor, sad, multi-millionaire.
There had been occasional sightings of him: in Washington, people mentioned having glimpsed him riding the Metro or browsing alone in a bookstore; there was gossip that he had fallen into a depression, and had been seen in a fetal position on a friend’s couch...
Holding his head in his hands, he said, “I don’t think people who have been sexually assaulted, and those kinds of things, want to hear from people who have been #MeToo’d that they’re victims.” Yet, he added, being on the losing side of the #MeToo movement, which he fervently supports, has led him to spend time thinking about such matters as due process, proportionality of punishment, and the consequences of Internet-fuelled outrage. He told me that his therapist had likened his experience to “what happens when primates are shunned and humiliated by the rest of the other primates.” Their reaction, Franken said, with a mirthless laugh, “is ‘I’m going to die alone in the jungle.’ ”
I wonder if Brett Kavanaugh can relate to that. If anyone in the media had bothered to tear Christine Blasey Ford’s life apart like this New Yorker article did to Tweeden, perhaps they would have discovered things like this: she had no witnesses to back her up; her star witness said it never happened; she lied about being afraid to fly; and she was refuted by 200 of Kavanaugh’s female acquaintances who signed a letter of support for him.
Strangely, the same kind of information has the New Yorker convinced that Franken didn’t do it. “His staff, too, was flabbergasted. Franken had many high-level women advisers, including a chief of staff and a communications director. They ran his campaigns, did his polling, raised funds, and directed his state office.” Brett Kavanaugh had two hundred women who vouched for him. No one cared about his due process, especially not the New Yorker.
In the same article, though, they admit that Franken's staff had to babysit him to keep him from doing stupid things that could end his career one day.
Staffers were accustomed to keeping a close eye on Franken, but only because they feared that his sense of humor might get him into trouble. This had occasionally happened: in his first campaign, he’d barely survived a flap about a tasteless article that he had once written, for Playboy, about scientific advances in sex robots...Alana Petersen, his longtime state director, told me that she had trained Franken’s staff to place someone within arm’s reach whenever he was in public. These minders took names of potential donors, followed up on constituents’ questions, and stood guard against possibly offensive humor.
His sense of humor did get him in trouble and there's photographic evidence of it. What he did to a sleeping woman is not okay. I wouldn't be okay with it if it were me, and I certainly wouldn't be okay with it if it were my daughter. I don't think you could find a parent alive who would find what he did "funny."
The New Yorker argues that the groping photo isn't really harassment because Tweeden acted in bawdy skits with him onstage and was professional about it. Consenting to telling sexual jokes in front of an audience with a guy you think is a creep is not at all the same as being groped while you're sleeping by that guy while someone is taking photos. How the New Yorker expects to be taken seriously is incredible.
They didn’t realize that although Tweeden claimed she never let Franken get near her face after the first rehearsal, there were numerous images of her performing the kiss scene with Franken afterward. Nor did they review the script or the photographs showing Tweeden laughing onstage as Franken struck the same “breast exam” pose.
What’s certain is that women can and do lie about sexual assault. I’ve written a whole book about it. Believe Evidence: The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo lays out example after example throughout history and the present where women have lied to destroy careers, put men in prison or even have them killed. Women are not believable because they have XX chromosomes. They are only believable based on the evidence they present. Tweeden’s evidence is far more convincing than Blasey Ford’s but Tweeden is the one getting called a liar in the national press today.
Buy my book if you need extra convincing about who is believable in this scenario. Spoiler alert: It’s not the New Yorker.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; the death of due process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow her on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter