The media’s deference to Democrats over their accusers on issues of sexual assault and misconduct has played out numerous times over the past few years. Katie Hill, who resigned from Congress after reports she abused her power by having sexual relationships with subordinates, is now considered the true ‘victim’ because of the way her misdeeds were exposed. She has since gone on a media rehabilitation tour where she has been free to make excuses for her behavior and manipulate sympathetic interviewers. Pundits on MSNBC’s Morning Joe openly mourned for Al Franken when he was forced to leave the Senate over several allegations of groping women.
Political candidates have always spoken about misconduct in ways that benefit their own ambitions and put the best interests of victims on the back burner. Hillary Clinton, for example, sidestepped the obvious abuse of power involved in Bill Clinton’s Oval Office affair with intern Monica Lewinsky by noting that she was an ‘adult’ at the time. Donald Trump later used rape allegations against former President Clinton as fodder for a presidential debate, trotting out Clinton’s accusers so his wife would have to see them in the front row from the debate stage. But the media’s new gatekeeping of sexual misconduct allegations is potentially far more destructive.