The right wing fever swamp has bowdlerized the Epstein story, transforming it into one of the media covering up for the left, when it is actually about how men with money and powerful connections purchase impunity and shorten memories. Historically, when news organizations are faced with a powerful man with powerful friends on one side, and an accuser or accusers who might not have a pristine past on the other, we know whose voice matters more. (I feel Robach’s pain.) Some of Epstein’s victims’ accounts had already been made public in various court proceedings, but only Brown took the women seriously enough to spend months investigating and corroborating, leading to the feds reopening the case against Epstein.
All this makes ABC News typical, not extraordinary, in routinely pernicious ways that much of the news business has yet to fully grapple with. As it happens, ABC News employed Mark Halperin during the period when he would later be accused of harassing and assaulting a dozen women, but has somehow managed to escape the kind of post-Me Too scrutiny that CBS News and NBC News justifiably received after firing credibly-accused anchors. Accountability and transparency are supposed to be journalistic values. Seeking to punish anyone who let the world know how the sausage is made, or that some journalists tried to get the real story — however ill-chosen the platform — is their opposite.