Politico’s Attack on Cain Reveals More About the Sad State of Journalism Than it Does Anything Else – UPDATED
Okay, in case you were wondering, no, I have not been hiding in a cave for the past week concerning the Politico hatchet job on Herman Cain. I just refuse to get sucked into a manufactured scandal which has no merit.
Having lived through the ’90s and observed numerous allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace during that era—none of which were even close to being genuine—I have little doubt that these allegations against Mr. Cain are not even remotely close to being legitimate. If they actually had any merit, Mr. Cain would have been immediately terminated and the settlements would have been in the millions, not the tens of thousands; Such was the standard operating procedure back in the ’90s.
Furthermore, the overwhelming amount of support Mr. Cain has received from those who worked with him in the ’90s just goes to further my resolve that Mr. Cain stands wrongly accused.
In short, there is no “there” there. It’s a typical hatchet job.
The usual way in which these Lame Stream Media hatchet jobs go is thus:
An unnamed source reveals a non-issue issue right before a leading candidate is scheduled for a media blitz to talk about his/her platform; The Lame Stream Media (LSM) then hypes up the perceived scandal and continually forces the candidate to respond to the accusations, thus preventing the candidate from being able to talk about his/her platform (Case in point: Have you heard anything about 9-9-9 lately? ); If the candidate refuses to answer such ridiculous allegations, the LSM attacks him/her for being silent; If the candidate responds to the allegations, the responses are sifted for any signs of a perceived discontinuity, which is then touted and exploited by the LSM as some sort of proof that the candidate is lying; No matter how well or how poorly the candidate handles the allegations, the LSM launches a barrage of articles stating that the candidate’s handling of the situation just proves that he/she is not competent enough for the position he/she is running for; Once the allegations begin losing traction, the LSM then drags the accuser or accusers out of the closet to elevate the hatchet job and keep it in the public’s eye by repeating the same baseless claims.
I mean, really, what’s the accuser going to say? “I was lying my @ss off?” No! Certainly not! The accuser, having now found him or herself in the limelight, will continue perpetuating the lie. Any inconsistencies in the accuser’s stories will be ignored by the LSM. In fact, the LSM will spin the accuser’s story as being the gospel truth and use it to further attack the candidate’s version of events.
Once the LSM has sufficiently eroded the candidate’s base and destroyed any chances of winning, the LSM, like a trapdoor spider, will crawl back into its hole and lie in wait for the next victim to come along.
That’s the reality of it. That’s how it works.
Those of us who have watched the political war being waged over the past few decades already knew that the LSM was going to target Mr. Cain with a trumped up scandal the moment he started polling higher than the GOPher’s horse, Mitt Romney. And, the moment Mr. Cain beat Obama in a head-to-head poll, we absolutely knew the typebars were striking the ink ribbons.
All that being said, I would like to thank Politico for publishing their hatchet job hit piece. Why? Because it has separated the wheat from the chaff on the Right Wing blogosphere. Now, there are no questions in my mind as to who is actually running a Conservative website and who is just a poser running a GOP website; These posers are using this tripe to destroy the one actual Conservative who has the best chance at beating Obama, while propping up establishment GOPhers like the GOPhtard Mitt Romney, the Bush protege—ill-performing in debates, but gee, his hair sure looks good—Rick Perry (can you imagine him trying to debate Obama? Obama would make mincemeat of him), the “Hey, I dated and married my high school teacher, then had an affair with a woman who became my second wife, who I eventually screwed around on and dumped for my third wife—who I will probably leave for another future wife,” Newt Gingrich, or, the “America is to blame for 9-11” nutjob Ron Paul.
True, there are other Conservative candidates, but, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of beating the established GOPhers.
So, thank you again, Politico, for helping us separate the wheat from the chaff. Now we know that Hot Air, Ace of Spades, The Gateway Pundit, and Pajamas Media don’t really want a Conservative for President; they want another GOPher to continue destroying the White House lawn:
UPDATE: Ace, over at Ace of Spades has finally issued what I will take as an admission of error from him:
“So based on her apparently talking to Politico, I thought at least she really believed there was a strong sexual harassment case here.
“But now she says “Nevermind,” essentially.
“So now I’m thinking her claim was trumped up.”
That’s probably about as close to an apology as we will get from Ace, so I’ll take it. Ace, you’re back on my bookmark list.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Politico?
By ROBERT STACY MCCAIN – The American Spectator
WASHINGTON, D.C. — “What the [bleep] is Politico doing?” said the man on the phone. “And how the [bleep] are they getting away with this [bleep]?”
Reporters rival sailors for their proficiency in profanity, and one of the most experienced political journalists in Washington was cussing a blue streak Thursday evening as he railed against the shoddiness of Politico‘s reporting on the Herman Cain “scandal.”
Scare-quotes around the word “scandal” are necessary in that, as of Thursday night, Americans still had only vague suggestions of what it is Cain is accused of having done to women who worked at the National Restaurant Association during his tenure as president of that organization in the late 1990s.
“Five days!” yelled the veteran reporter on the phone. “Five days and what have we got? Nothing! What the [bleep] were they thinking about, running with a piece of [bleep] story like that?”
The excrement to which my friend referred was the 2,100-word article Politico published Sunday, the lead paragraph of which read: “During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.”
So far, so good — this is true, as Cain himself has confirmed, but the shortcomings of Politico‘s article become obvious to anyone who reads beyond the first paragraph. All of the sources cited for the accusations against Cain were anonymous, and the accusations were described in such general terms that readers were left to wonder, “What exactly did Cain do?”
Despite the dribbling out of “details” this week, we still don’t have the names of the accusers or anything like a coherent narrative of what Cain allegedly did. This was shocking to my friend the veteran journalist, who bent my ear for 45 minutes with blistering denunciations of Politico‘s shoddy reporting. “What have they got? They got nothing,” he said, finally managing to speak two consecutive sentences without a cuss word.
After that call ended, I finally got a call-back from Cain’s campaign chief of staff, Mark Block. I’d called him hours earlier to get his reaction to a PJM article that seemed to provide some details of the accusations. But long before Block called back, PJM had issued a correction that reduced the big scoop to the revelation that lobbyists like to have parties at a restaurant called Ciao Baby Cucina. And, like my friend the veteran journalist, Block wanted to talk aboutPolitico‘s shoddy reporting. Block said someone had e-mailed him the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. “I haven’t had a chance yet to forward it to the reporter and the editor at Politico, but if they lived up to the code of ethics, they both should resign,” the pack-a-day campaign wizard said.
“We’re not playing their games anymore,” Block said. “The American people are sick and tired of the cesspool in Washington, D.C. We’re not responding to any more inquiries, any more questions — period, end of story.”
This morning at breakfast, I picked up The Washington Times and saw Wes Pruden’s column, which absolutely nailed it:
Politico, the political daily of liberal pedigree that set the hounds on Mr. Cain, has not said what he is guilty of, or when, or where, or who says so. Innuendo is enough. Politico says it has a half-dozen sources “shedding light on different aspects of the complaints.” Once upon a time, a reporter trying to get a story merely “shedding light” on “aspects” past a gruff old city editor would have been thrown down the stairs if the gruff old city editor was having a particularly bad day.
Having spent a decade working in Pruden’s newsroom, I can attest that he would have summarily fired anyone who even suggested that his newspaper publish anything as shoddy as what Politico published on Sunday. Throwing the fired employee down the stairs, however, might be considered “harassment.”
The other big headline today was in the Washington Post: “Cain rises in Post-ABC poll despite scandal; most Republicans dismiss allegations.” Clearly, Block is onto something when he says Americans are sick and tired of the “cesspool” standards of D.C. media — and even some in the D.C. media are sick and tired of it. The question now is why more reporters aren’t beginning to ask questions about Politico? Why aren’t the Washington Post and the New York Times and other respectable news organizations investigating how and why Politico dropped this stink bomb of thinly-sourced innuendo in the middle of the Republican presidential primary? Who tipped them, and what kind of agenda are they pursuing?
Who, what, when, where, why and how — somebody once taught me that these are questions journalists are supposed to ask. And somebody needs to start asking those questions aboutPolitico. Stephen Engleberg’s criticism in Pro Publica is a good starting point, but it’s only a start.
The question of motive has been raised: Was this attack on Herman Cain done at the behest of his Republican rivals? Or has Cain gotten a rude introduction to Team Obama’s Chicago-style methods? Between epithets and obscenities Thursday night, my veteran journalist friend voiced his own suspicion that the White House was behind the Politico story. Cain is “their worst nightmare,” he said. “He’s the American dream — they gotta be scared to death of that guy.”
And this points back to the real scandal this week, as expressed in a question by Jeff Goldstein at the Protein Wisdom blog: “What did Politico know and when did they know it?“Explore posts in the same categories: Media Bias, politics