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Monday, December 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You don’t have to be a fan of Alabama’s Republican senatorial nominee Roy Moore to see that the Furies in the media aren’t willing to cut him a break even when his most lethal accusers have been caught falsifying the record. The late Charles Manson seems to have gotten a more sympathetic press. For the past two months, the “Never Moore” media have tried to sink the judge by insisting his dating of teenage girls when he was in his 30s was scandalous on its face, even when they were of age, their mothers approved and the women themselves conceded he never engaged in sexual misconduct.

The Washington Post then found two women who said he had inappropriately touched them, and, though their stories were shaky, the media began to rail at Republicans for supporting “child molesters.”


“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd and his colleagues embraced this poisonous phrase with gusto. Progressive Heather McGhee told the Todd panel that she couldn’t see how any Republican could back Mr. Moore when “pretty much everyone acknowledges he was a child molester.” Where is the Republican floor for picking a senator, echoed NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, “if it’s not a child molester?” Yes, Mr. Todd agreed, “I think we’re all trying to figure that out. What is bottom here?” Republican speechwriter Michael Gerson, now a Washington Post columnist, plowed on: “You have Republicans saying, ‘We’ve got the Supreme Court at stake.’ That is moral relativism at its worst.”

Earth to the panel: Wouldn’t “moral relativism at its worst” be the Democratic Party rallying around Teddy Kennedy post-Chappaquiddick? And for those who view “child molestation” with horror, why is Mr. Moore’s Democratic foe to be preferred when he made it clear in his Sept. 27 interview with Mr. Todd that he favored no limitations — none — on killing children in the womb at any stage? (He’s “clarifying” his position now.)

Just for fun, “Journalist” Todd decided to pronounce conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas guilty of sexual harassment, too, inviting Anita Hill to address the topic. Ms. Hill almost upended Justice Thomas’ Senate confirmation by tossing a last-minute grenade into his hearings by proclaiming he had sexually harassed her when she was working for him by repeatedly asking her out and uttering crude, sexual remarks.

But they never dated. He never touched her. By her own account, he never threatened her. Men, women, blacks, whites and ex-staffers roared their approval of Justice Thomas and disapproval of Ms. Hill during the hearings. Even The Washington Post dismantled Ms. Hill’s recollections. No matter. Mr. Todd said Justice Thomas’ denials can’t be honored since the Senate panel that dismissed Ms. Hill’s charges was comprised of “all men” and “all of them white.” (Must Justice Thomas now resign on the basis of Mr. Todd’s fresh “evidence”? Just asking.)

Is Mr. Moore, however, really the moral monster depicted by the media, even though the much-publicized incidents happened nearly 40 years ago and there have been no credible charges since? Not likely. The Washington Post printed the original story that gave legs to the child molestation charge. It reported Leigh Corfman, then 14, and her mother, Nancy Wells, met Moore in February 1979. Ms. Corfman said Mr. Moore got her phone number and then inappropriately touched her on a date.

But detailed investigative reports suggest Ms. Corfman made obvious misrepresentations. She also told The Post that the Moore encounter had driven her to alcoholism and a suicide attempt. Which was odd in that Ms. Corfman was in the process of being placed in her father’s custody because of her disciplinary and behavioral problems before she met Mr. Moore. And then a year after her supposed traumatic experience with the judge, Ms. Corfman’s mother seemed ecstatic that her behavioral problems had “improved greatly.”

Even The Post revealed that Ms. Corfman’s tale might be an outlier, reporting that “None of the three other women [he had dated and The Post had interviewed for its story] say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.”

Damaging also was Beverly Nelson’s teary appearance with radical lawyer Gloria Allred when Ms. Nelson said she had thwarted Mr. Moore’s sexual attack in his car behind the Old Hickory House restaurant in Gadsden, where she was a part-time waitress. Her story had numerous doubters, including employees, patrons and at least one policeman. Her claim was also radically undermined last week when she admitted she had, as the Moore camp had long insisted, altered the supposed Moore inscription in her yearbook, its authenticity being a key part of her entire case. Even the harshly anti-Moore Post acknowledged that the Nelson-Allred story line had taken a significant hit.

Does any of this conclusively exonerate Mr. Moore? No, but it sure casts major doubt on the credibility of the most pernicious charges and those in the news business who branded Mr. Moore with two of the most toxic words in the English language. Without, by the way, letting their audience know any of the exculpatory material. That’s also a major scandal.

Allan H. Ryskind was a longtime editor and owner of Human Events. His latest book is “Hollywood Traitors” (Regnery, 2015).


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