Four Politico reporters,
*including Journolister, Ben Smith, have run a story alleging that Herman Cain engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with two female employees while head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. They have confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, are not publishing their names. Very sweet of them. As we know, private citizens deemed a threat to a presidential candidate *cough* “Joe the Plumber” *cough* can be savaged by the MSM in an effort to discredit them. So those privacy concerns are well founded. The MSM would totally leave no stone unturned in their efforts to smear these courageous whistleblowers whose stories could torpedo the campaign of the candidate most likely to beat Obama in the 2012 election.
The sources — which include the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
Remember the Praetorian Guard behavior of the media ranks that closed around Bill Clinton – to the point of aggressively suppressing credible accusations of rape against him, and thereby launching the career of Matt Drudge – when you watch the swarms of reporters tearing into Herman Cain over this. I wonder how many innuendo-laden conversations Clinton had with women who were not Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office. Heck, I wonder how many he had last week.
All of Politico’s sources are perfectly anonymous. Anonymous sources confirm the reports of anonymous sources, and anonymously relate things Herman Cain allegedly said to them years ago. Everyone willing to go on the record either had no comment, or spoke well of Cain.
RS McCain updates his post on the Politico Hit piece:
UPDATE II: A female Republican operative who worked on Herman Cain’s 2004 Georgia Senate campaign scoffs at the accusations against him. “I don’t believe story that Cain behaved inappropriately,” wrote the woman, who uses the Twitter handle @KarolNYC. “He never even bordered on inappropriate in the slightest,” she Tweeted, and added that she ”just can’t believe there’s anything to the charges.”
Cain is supposed to make a Fox News appearance at 11:15 this morning, and will also speak at the American Enterprise Institute today. He should throw every card he has on the table, and relate every scrap of knowledge he personally possesses about whatever took place, subject to any legal obligations he might have to the National Restaurant Association. If this story has even the tiniest bit of meat on its bones, a misleading report will become the story by the end of the week, and nobody in the press will care about how shoddy Politico’s rollout was.
Now, a word about the Politico and their shoddy use or disuse of anonymous sources however it suits them.
In 2008, the Politico was given a tip that would have shed light on the Obama/Ayers relationship, but was never followed up on in the fall of 2008 - the Ayers babysitting story. It was quashed because, according to the rumors circulating at the time, there was only one nervous, anonymous source, and Ben Smith needed at least two anonymous sources to run the story.
As I reported in July, 2010: Not That It Matters Anymore, But There WAS A Second Source For That 2008 Obama/Ayers Babysitting Story:
Hillbuzz recently took note of the fact that The Politico’s Ben Smith was a member of the Obama-supporting Journolist cabal: Our experience with Journolist member (and committed Obama operative) Ben Smith during the 2008 general election:
The McCain campaign approached us with a story they had on Obama, which needed a second source to confirm. They had found a young woman in Hyde Park who had played with the older Obama girl on occasion, and knew about babysitting William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn did for the Obama girls. The young woman was the daughter of a McCain supporter in Hyde Park (probably the only McCain supporter in Hyde Park), and was barely a teenager. The McCain camp went to Ben Smith with this story, but he refused to look into it because the only witness to the Ayers/Dohrn babysitting operation was a teenaged girl who happened to be the daughter of a McCain supporter.
We were charged with finding someone else who could verify that Ayers/Dohrn babysat the Obama girls. We brought their old swimming instructor up, and Ben Smith shot that person (now a respected advertising executive) down because she, too, was a Republican and a McCain supporter. So, Ben Smith refused to do a write-up on the Ayers/Dorhn babysitting…despite getting two different people who didn’t know each other to verify that this happened on more than one occasion.
When you look at a map of the Hyde Park area, you see Louis Farrakhan, the Obama/Rezko Mansion, and the William Ayers residence in very close proximity to one another…about as close to each other as The Gap, Banana Republic, and Express are to each other in a typical suburban mall. Walking distance. So close, young children could easily walk between the houses without parents worrying about them.
That story was one of many that could have deep-sixed the Obama campaign, but thanks to Journolister, Ben Smith, it was the story that was deep sixed.
When it comes to “Praetorian Guard behavior from the media ranks”, none hold a candle to The Politico.
Fox News: Happening Now Exclusive: Herman Cain Says He Never Sexually Harassed Anyone, But Was Accused of Harassment While at National Restaurant Association:
Cain stressed, “I have never sexually harassed anyone.” He did admit that he was accused of harassment while at the National Restaurant Association, saying, “Yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association. And, I say falsely because it turned out, after the investigation, to be baseless.”
The Weekly Standard: Cain’s Former Secretary: This Is Not the Herman Cain I Know:
Past employees of Cain, including his long-time female executive assistant, have told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the charges are unbelievable.“It’s just not Herman,” says Sibby Wolfson, who was Cain’s executive assistant from 1997 through his first campaign for office in 2004, in a phone interview. “He’s got a lovely wife, a lovely family.”
Did Wolfson ever see Cain act in a way that could be construed as sexual harassment? “No, God, no,” she says. “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, I think Herman was careful to act in the opposite way.”
If Herman Cain was a sexual harasser, (a la Bill Clinton), more women will be coming out of the woodwork in the coming weeks. But, somehow, I doubt it. Just like Anita Hill was the only woman Clarence Thomas was ever known to allegedly harass, these two anonymous victims of harassment will probably turn out to be isolated incidents, as well.
Ace (who’s a Perry supporter) says he’s been hearing rumors:
Here’s a big question: “Are we going to hear about other allegations in the future?”
He says, “Absolutely not.” But immediately says: “If more allegations come, people will [sic] simply make them up.”
I say this is a big question because I heard about this stuff a month ago, and I didn’t hear about two incidences. I heard about many more.
I did not have detailed information, certainly nothing publishable. But I heard there was a long and numerous history here.
If he has this flaw in his character, there will be other instances of harassment, and those stories will come out eventually. Better now, then in the general election.
But it’s hard to believe it’s true when so many women who have worked for him are willing to go on the record saying they have never seen that in his character.
The Other McCain’s exclusive coverage of Herman Cain At The National Press Club.
Dana Loesch at Big Journalism:Politico’s Jonathan Martin Won’t Divulge Details Of Cain Story
John Guardiano: Politico’s High-Tech Lynching of Herman Cain:
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution says explicitly that the accused has a right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
True, the court of public opinion is not the same as a court of law. Still, the same basic principles of fairness and decency ought to apply in both venues. The media must not character assassinate people with anonymous accusations which, if true, could destroy reputations and end careers.
In short, name names or shut the hell up.
*Correction: My report originally listed Ben Smith as one of the writers of the Politico hit piece. I was confusing him with Jonathan Martin.
Hat tip: Charles B.