Politico Fair And Balanced? Hardly

November 5, 2011

Bill Jacobson doesn't seem to be thinking very straight, given his reaction to Politico's latest Cainimania item.

After spending a week portraying Herman Cain as a sexual predator, allegations which so far have resulted in NO FACTS sustantiating(sic) the innuendo, Politico now wants to be fair and balanced and tell us that Cain actually led industry efforts to fight sexual harassment, Under Herman Cain, NRA launched Sex Harassment Fight:

Jacobson seems to entirely miss the more subtle, though still obvious, slant of the piece. They're portraying Cain as someone who mostly viewed sexual harassment charges as a threat to business, not someone more likely to be sensitive to how a woman should be treated in the workplace. They're also emphasizing the point that Cain was well aware of the issue, while not backing down from any of their reporting. Claiming some type of victory, however small, when the opposition is still on the attack isn't a sound strategy.

Industry officials saw it coming — none other than Cain himself warned as long ago as 1991 that changes in federal law resulting from the hearings could cause problems for employers.

What  he does here is worse.

And in a prophetic statement, Cain also warned of the consequences of frivolous suits:

Industry officials saw it coming — none other than Cain himself  warned as far back as 1991 that changes in federal law resulting from the  hearings could cause problems for employers.

“This bill opens the door for opportunists who will use the legislation to  make some money,” Cain, then CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, told Nation’s  Restaurant News. “I’m certainly for civil rights, but I don’t know if this  bill is fair because of what we’ll have to spend to defend ourselves in  unwarranted cases.”

Indeed.  But at least you didn’t have Politico in 1991.

Ace was pointing this out on Twitter last night. It's possible that the sexual harassment charges Cain faced were frivolous but we simply don't know that. I'm not interested in taking up Cain's, or the woman's, cause in that regard. I'm just looking at  the facts. The old claims against Cain have never much figured into my judgement of him as an unsuitable  nominee.

Unfortunately, what  Jacobson is doing is akin to what Clinton's Bimbo Eruption managers did. Nothing in Politico's copious reporting on the topic tells me the woman is the one who raised this issue. I suspect someone leaked it to Politico, she may have confirmed the complaints existence and validity when approached; however, at least so far, she hasn't been seeking the limelight, or a payday.

Now, if she turns around tomorrow and takes money to go on the record, we'll know more upon which to judge her. But for now, we don't know that. If, as she does assert, she had a legitimate claim back then, she's now been further harassed by Politico because of their dredging it all back up – assuming she wasn't the original leaker.

If that's how this  played out – and I believe it may well be – Politico highlighted the old charges, Cain said they were baseless and, on principle, the woman wanted to  refute that without becoming some next Monica Lewinsky. Without knowing more, I'm not going to rush to  judgement in her case, anymore than I have regarding Cain in the whole harassment fracas.

If Cain has lady problems, it would be one more mark against him as a potential nominee. I don't know if that's the case. Still, given his poor temperament and bad judgment when under pressure from the media, along with his seemingly weak grasp of issues and dodgy positions, I've seen more than enough to know he's not someone I'd want to support for the nomination.

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  1. Ragspierre says:

    I understand you are a process guy, and this is your wheelhouse, but…
    just damn.
    Let this LEAVE the news-cycle. It NEVER deserved as much ink as it has had.

  2. Ragspierre says:

    I GUESS THEY REALLY ARE TAKING TAHRIR SQUARE AS THEIR MODEL: Female Reporter Harassed at #Occupy Protest. “I actually don’t feel safe going back to those protests. . . . I actually did not feel comfortable, because at one point there were a whole group of men surrounding me saying, ‘F—Michelle Fields.’ And I went to a police officer and I told him that I felt these people were harassing me. And the police officer said he’d take care of it, but it never ended.”
    “Most vulnerable among us” alert…!!!!

  3. louisc says:

    Tonight’s debate between Gingrich and Cain should put an end to all questions about Cain’s viability as a candidate. Newt will show what an ignoramus Cain is, and do it with a friendly smile.
    There seems to be some kind of psychological impulse to defend one of the “group” from unfair attacks. In itself that is admirable. But that impulse takes over and leads one to defend against all attacks. It becomes a reflexive action even against fair attacks. But once one is stuck with a person, he must defend all against all attacks, requiring the subordination of one’s own values. A good example is Clinton’s escapades. Once the Lewinsky stuff was exposed, his people were required to defend him even if it went against their personal beliefs.
    It looks like we will be in for a lot of that with Cain. I’m not saying that Politico’s attacks were not unfair and should not have been defended by conservatives. I am saying that Cain’s missteps on stuff like abortion and Chinese nukes are not worthy of being defended. Even if they were not substantively incorrect, he had to explain later what he meant. He lacks communication skills. But if one is in the defend-Cain mode, one is obligated to defend such idiocy, maybe for 8 years.

  4. Boone says:

    I think Louis is right, and frankly it makes me sad. The right now has it’s own Media Attack Machine in place. The double standard from the media regarding liberal and conservative politicians has never been fair, but I think the knee-jerk reaction by a lot on the right, while Cain was in the midst of changing his story several times on the subject was horrible. The fact that Cain has changed his story so many times since the story broke does not mean he is guilty, but it does mean he had been less than forthright.
    The point where I fully lost respect for Cain’s supporters, and a lot of the conservative media, including Professor Jacobson, was in the response to Cain’s baseless attack on Perry. As Mr. Riehl pointed out, Caib attacked Perry with a less well-sourced accusation than Politico came out with against Cain. !(and do not forget that the facts in the Politico story, that the NRA settled two sexual harassment suits involving Cain) has been confirmed at this point).
    At the point that conservative media said, well, it’s okay when our guy does it, even against another one of our own, I knew we lost something important. It makes me sad.

  5. gary gulrud says:

    I’d probably pull the lever for Cain in the general but I can’t support him as the Not-Romney candidate for the Nomination as there is no assurance he is not going to deal with Romney preferentially.
    With Rasmussen showing Perry beating Urkel in WI, I probably won’t be conflicted, Cain is unlikely to be in position to win in MN in the March 6th primary if the GOP is on the ballot–details on the Feb. GOP caucus vis a vis the primary are difficult to come by.
    I don’t see Romney having a serious shot at MN in the general, the DFL is too hidebound and the base on the Right is getting too much delight in their 2010 selections.
    The Viking Stadium isn’t even being taken up in a special session as the Dimmi Governor allowed.
    Sick ‘em Newt

  6. louisc says:

    The Cain campaign’s attacked on Anderson. Anderson makes his living a professional Republican consultant. Confidentiality is a premium in that business. The Cain people accused Anderson of blabbing with the only evidence being that Anderson works for Perry. Is it surprising that a professional Republican consultant got a gig with a Republican running for president? So the Cain people cavalierly damaged a man’s livelihood without any evidence. Cain is unworthy of being defended.

  7. jg says:

    Across the right wing Blogosphere People have insulted demeaned & accused the settlementee (new word?). . They have absolutly no idea what happened. Cain said it was a comment about her height. She responded that it was more than that (through her lawyer I believe).
    Thank you Dan for pointing out that it was in all likelihood not her who contacted Politico. Few people even know what Politico is.
    If it were her & she was the vengeful person rightwing posters have decided she is – she could have done much more damage.

  8. jane says:

    Sorry but until/unless the woman/women involved publically discuss their allegations all they are doing is smearing Cain by innuendo. Unlike Dan I have no reason to cut the supposed “victim” a break – too late for her to now play the “oh, I don’t want to rehash all this.” She & Politico have trashed Cain without having to prove anything. So boo hoo that she is getting snarked about all over the Web. I don’t care if she wan’t the one who leaked the info to Politico – there is no proof she didn’t so why fall all over oneself in her defense?
    I don’t know if Cain is guilty or innocent but without proof he should be considered innocent of unproven allegations by an anonymous source.