Accuracy in Media

Rep. Katie Hill’s Twitter feed included not only the televised statement she made explaining her decision to resign from Congress but a variety of stories that covered the matter.

Hill announced her resignation after it became public she had been in a “throuple” relationship with her husband and a young female aide, was reportedly having an affair with another man who worked on her staff and had had problems making flights and attending functions because of possible drug and alcohol abuse.

A tweet sent readers to Chris Hayes’ MSNBC and a segment entitled “Rep. Katie Hill resigns in wake of revenge porn.” Hayes takes Hill’s word she did not have an affair with a staffer, as charged by other staffers, and that she was a victim of “revenge porn” by her estranged husband, thus effectively excusing all her alleged behavior.

He then brought on Christina Greer, a Fordham professor, who immediately said she “put it at the feet of certain journalists or journalistic outlets” and accused the estranged husband, without evidence, of “technological domestic violence.”

She told Hayes women and men are treated differently in the workplace and that men, such as Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is under his own cloud of scandal, and “Newton Leroy Gingrich,” she says, who had “multiple affairs on his first wife and multiple affairs on his second wife.”

Greer said such men “get a pass” from the press, their colleagues and party.

“I know with Katie Hill we’re dealing with multiple issues simultaneously, ethically and also legally, but something doesn’t sit right with a lot of Democrats and something doesn’t sit right with a lot of women this evening with all of this sort of shook out.”

Further down was a link to “The curious case of Katie Hill” by Brandon Tensley of CNN which seemed to imply Hill was forced to resign.

“There’s plenty to parse regarding the news about Hill,” Tensley wrote. “But one of the most important elements is this: Forgiveness, when it comes to the messiness of politics, is a privilege not evenly distributed. More specifically, it’s disproportionately withheld from women and Democrats.”

It then cites a number of men who have been involved in sex scandals but survived politically, including Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Hunter again and, of course, President Donald Trump, “who has remained unscathed by the allegations that more than a dozen women have publicly leveled against him.”

Later, Tensley wrote: “Put another way, men, particularly those of certain political persuasions, are given redemption arcs, while women who dare to challenge norms – such as Sandra Fluke, who in 2012 was slut-shamed after she testified before Congress in an effort to persuade Georgetown University to include birth control in its health care coverage – are expected to buckle to biases and, ultimately, bow out.”

And it’s not “merely a story of dueling responses to sexual misbehavior,” Tensley wrote. “It’s also a story of a foul assault on a woman’s privacy.”

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