One of the stranger twists in the already bizarre tale unfolding around the Virginia Governor’s office has been the sudden emergence of a claim of sexual assault against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. The allegation dates back 15 years, supposedly taking place during the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax is categorically denying it ever happened and fueling suspicions that the Governor himself is behind the leak, hoping to derail a push to have him resign and allow the Lt. Governor to take his place. But the reactions I’m seeing in the media this week paint a very strange picture, which we’ll get to in a moment. (Fox News)
Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on Monday, when asked by a reporter, did not rule out the possibility that embattled Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam could be secretly pushing a newly revealed sexual assault allegation against Fairfax to derail his possible ascension to the governorship.
And in a separate, fiery statement late Sunday, Fairfax accused The Washington Post of “smearing an elected official,” reiterated that the sexual assault allegation against him is “false,” and seemingly threatened to sue the paper for rebuking his earlier characterization of the evidence surrounding the episode.
“This is what we meant when we said that people who continue to spread these false allegations will be sued,” Fairfax said.
Thus far the claim against Fairfax appears to be entirely of the He Said, She Said variety. But there’s a striking contrast between the coverage of this story and a similar tale that gripped the nation last year.
While watching CNN during the six o’clock hour this morning, the story of this alleged sexual assault was being batted around by John Berman and the panel. One of their analysts went into detail about how the Washington Post and other outlets had looked into the accusation against Fairfax, but didn’t report on it initially because the claim “couldn’t be substantiated.” He went on to explain how “a lot of work” goes into these investigations, and we don’t just “throw these stories out there.”
It seems that journalists couldn’t find anyone else who knew about the alleged sexual assault, nor could they find anyone who had heard the accuser mention it back in 2004 or the years following. According to Fairfax, there was never a non-consensual sexual accounter and the accuser only changed her story well after the fact. With nothing else to back up her claim, the story was apparently dropped.
Excuse me, but how is that any different than what was found regarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford? To be sure, such an allegation with nothing to back it up definitely should be looked at in a critical fashion, at least in my opinion. But you’ve got to apply the same standards in all cases.
Blasey Ford didn’t mention her supposed assault at the hands of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brent Kavanaugh for years either. But when her story broke, these same panelists on CNN were rushing any number of psychological experts onto their show to explain how some women are too frightened or ashamed to talk about such abuse and often remain silent for years. But now that a Democrat (who may well be in line for the Governor’s mansion shortly) is being accused, the alleged victim’s claims are without merit?
Just to add a bit of spice to this story, here’s another breaking development. The woman making this accusation against Fairfax has hired the same law firm that represented Blasey Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings. Funny how these things come full circle, eh?
The contrast between these two cases is too much to ignore. The media may have allowed Al Franken to go down, but it appears that we’re back to the old rules of engagement now. If the charges are hurled at a Democrat, the standard for proof is considerably higher.