As the media frenzy over unsubstantiated accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reach a fever pitch, it’s truly instructive to observe the virtual news blackout over the case of Karen Monahan.
Ms. Monahan has accused Rep. Keith Ellison, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and the party’s nominee for Minnesota attorney general, of physical abuse during the course of their relationship.
Unlike Judge Cavanaugh’s accuser, Ms. Monahan is willing to go on the record to discuss the details of Mr. Ellison’s behavior. Also unlike Judge Cavanaugh’s accuser, Ms. Monahan has produced evidence to support the claims of physical abuse including medical records and witnesses with whom she confided and discussed Mr. Ellison’s behavior at the time.
And unlike the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, the purported incident with Mr. Ellison took place less than two years ago, not over 35 years ago.
But the most striking difference between the accusations made against Judge Kavanaugh and those made against Mr. Ellison is that unlike Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, Ms. Monahan can barely get her story covered in any significant or in-depth way by the broadcast networks, the cable networks or the nation’s newspapers.
The mainstream media organs pivoted on a dime from their Armageddon-like coverage of Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Florence and the anticipated (hoped for) “Katrina moment” for President Trump to nearly wall-to-wall coverage of the Kavanaugh accusations. The problem was there wasn’t much of a story to tell.
The basics of journalism is to learn and report the “who,” “what,” “where” and “when” of a story.
Other than the vague recollection of Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser detailed in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (who inexplicably concealed the information for weeks during the confirmation hearings) and a couple of contradictory appearances by the accuser’s attorneys, we were left with a story that didn’t have a definitive “when” nor a definitive “where” and only an ambiguous “what” with no witnesses. But we had one very important “who”: the judge who would sit on the Supreme Court and potentially establish a conservative majority.
Meanwhile, over in Minnesota, the media have a full-blown scandal brewing for a high-ranking Democrat who is running for higher office as we speak. They have the “who,” they have the “what,” they have the “when” and they have the “where,” and they have evidence to back it all up. Sounds like the kind of story political reporters would kill for. So where is the coverage?
“There should be an investigation,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told me. “The media has ignored this story — and it’s an important story — as have the Democrats.”
I suppose it’s to be expected. The media and the Democrats loved Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Anthony Weiner, and they defended them until they just couldn’t defend them anymore. And eventually they all had stunning resurrections of their careers and reputations.
Mr. Clinton became the sage, wise, old political hand of American politics. Kennedy had a run for the presidency and despite his loss settled into the role as the “Liberal Lion of the United States Senate” (whatever the heck that even means).
Even Weiner was given a break or two.
After his humiliating resignation from Congress for sexting, he became the front-runner for mayor of New York City and appeared to be on the verge of winning that race until his behavior with young women on the internet was exposed yet again. And even then he was still considered an out-of-bounds subject during the 2016 campaign if anyone were to raise the startling fact that Hillary Clinton’s closest confidante shared a bed (and apparently a laptop) with this retrograde. It literally took a federal conviction to finally (for now, at least) make the media and the Democrats disavow Anthony Weiner.
The pattern is unmistakably clear and damning. American journalists don’t seem as interested in protecting women as much as they are interested in attacking the wrong sorts of men. If a woman is being abused and mistreated at the hands of a powerful Democratic hero, the sacrosanct mantra of “#MeToo” instantly turns into “Who me?”
• Larry O’Connor writes about politics and the media for The Washington Times and can be heard weekday afternoons on WMAL radio in Washington. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryOConnor.
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