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Thursday, November 23, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Al Franken’s “Sorry, Not Sorry” routine simply isn’t good enough.

Sen. Franken must go.


Desperately trying to save his seat and reputation, Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota Democrat, is now going into a classic crisis-control fallback apology for bad behavior, while not exactly “remembering” the most serious part of Leeann Tweeden’s story.

With others coming forward since that time, including myself, it’s no surprise that leftist defenders have emerged in a desperate, 11th-hour damage-control operation. This includes an open letter released Tuesday from “SNL women,” calling him a “devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic partner and an honorable public servant.”

Another victim, 33-year-old Lindsay Menz, said that she felt “gross” after Mr. Franken allegedly “put his hand full-fledged on my rear” during a photo taken at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

Ms. Tweeden, a former model-turned-broadcaster, talked about how Mr. Franken “put his hand on the back of my head and mashed his face against — it happened so fast — he mashed his lips against my face and stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast.”

She went on to say that “his lips were really wet and it was slimy and in my mind I called him Fish Lips.”

Oddly, he has a full-on case of amnesia now, fuzzily groping for details, only saying he’s got a different memory of the way things went down. He won’t say what.

But because of his “apology” in which he says “we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences” we are all supposed to say “never mind.”

He’s sorry. Let’s move on. Well, I’m not buying what Team Democrats are selling.

I did not hear an apology for me, when I detailed his stalking and obsessive behavior in 2000 after a taping of the Bill Maher show that frankly scared the living hell out of me. I came out with my story about Mr. Franken exactly because he is a powerful Democrat, like Bill Clinton, who gets a pass because he supports legislation for women’s issues.

Except, of course, when it comes to sexual harassment where the U.S. Congress has voted an exemption for themselves or a process that sends complaints to the Senate Ethics Committees where they go to die.

The next stunt by the groper’s supporters was “slut-shaming” Ms. Tweeden and then accusing me of going public for clicks on my website MediaEqualizer.com, where we report on the media. To the credit of the HuffPost editorial director, the David Fagin vulgar descriptive hit piece was taken down within several hours of publication.

But by last Friday, former San Francisco talk show host Christine Craft, progressive feminist and my (now former) friend since we were both TV anchorwomen in my hometown of Kansas City, Mo., published a nude picture of Ms. Tweeden on Facebook.

The provocative Playboy pose created a firestorm on social media as Christine and her liberal supporters suggested (tastefully, of course) that Ms. Tweeden deserved the treatment she got from the amnesiac Mr. Franken.

That’s a lot of jump ugly going on.

Ms. Craft, who sued Metromedia’s KMBC-TV in the early 1980s for sex discrimination and for whom I offered to testify on her behalf, has also been one of the loudest, more vociferous supporters of former KGO Radio talk show host and convicted child pornographer Bernie Ward.

As long as we are airing out all of our dirty laundry, Mr. Ward, 66, was recently released from a seven-year federal jail sentence for one count of distribution of child pornography in which he admitted to transmitting it between 15 and 150 times. He also described sexual activity with his own children.

So forgive me for wanting to keep the spotlight on Sen. Al Franken, instead of the attacks on people who are coming forward with stories of abusive, aberrant and intimidating behavior, some of which resulted in unwanted contact, others whom were raped, and many other women are permanently scarred psychologically and emotionally.

Some of the stories we are hearing about are true, like mine. I believe Leeann’s story completely. But even her photographic evidence is being denigrated and attacked. Other accounts may not be true.

It is up to all of us to be responsible consumers of the news and make our judgments. I really don’t give a damn what people say about me, or my motivations. I have had a 40-year career filled with incredible joys, hardships, accolades and awards.

I do care what people are saying about a United States senator or anyone else in a position of power to bully, intimidate or engage in sexual harassment. In 1998, I believed Juanita, Paula, Gennifer, Kathleen, Elizabeth, Monica, and all the others.

I organized 5,000 of my closest friends to come to the Getty Mansion in San Francisco where Bill Clinton was holding a fundraiser. We hoisted a 15-foot long banner with the names of all these brave women, and we passed out a sexual predator alert for the tony Pacific Heights neighborhood. Furthermore, I believe that the woman most responsible for trying to silence “the bimbo eruption” just lost the presidency last year, in part, because the American people are saying “no more” to the predators and their enablers.

Al Franken is a sitting U.S. senator and needs to adhere to a higher, not lesser, standard than all others, folks. So far, though, I don’t see much evidence that is happening.

Melanie Morgan is a TV reporter, former conservative talk show host for ABC Radio, author of a best-selling book “American Mourning” and has won the Edward R. Murrow and Mark Twain awards for her live coverage in Iraq as well as Best Local Newscast in 2016.


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