Accuracy in Media

If Harvey Weinstein is going down, why not President Trump?

The Washington Post published a story over the weekend that insisted Trump face the same treatment.

“Almost a year after New Yorker Jessica Leeds and other women stepped forward with harrowing accounts of being sexually assaulted by a powerful man, another scandal with similar elements exploded,” the Post’s Karen Tumulty, Mark Berman and Jenna Johnson wrote.

“Only this time, the punishment was swift and devastating.”

The story then related reactions from women who accused Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct.

“It’s hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and Trump just continues to be Teflon Don,” said one.

“What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” another said. “My pain is every day with bastard Trump as President,” tweeted one. “No one gets it unless it happens to them. NO one!”

These two women were among 11 who came forward in the 2016 campaign to accuse Trump of sexual misdeeds and his vehement denials, which were backed up by witnesses in some cases. But, as the Post reported, the “claims did not stop [Trump] on his climb to the most powerful office in the world.”

Since Trump took office, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and Weinstein have all been brought low by sexual abuse allegations. Now, there’s a #MeToo Twitter campaign for women to share their stories of being abused.

“The Weinstein scandal, which has featured graphic accounts of assault from a string of celebrity accusers, has sparked a national debate about sexual harassment,” the Post wrote.

“‘Teflon Don’ – After the falls of Weinstein, O’Reilly and Ailes, Trump’s accusers wonder why he’s still president,” tweeted Post White House reporter Philip Rucker.

Because Weinstein, O’Reilly and Ailes had been outed for unwanted sexual advances since Trump was elected, and because there was a Twitter campaign that “sparked a national debate about sexual harassment,” the Post called Trump’s accusers and asked them to them recount their stories.

It’s not that people think Trump is innocent of all these charges – a poll three weeks before the election found almost two-thirds of registered voters and almost half of Republicans assumed Trump had made some kind of unwanted advances to women over the course of his life.

It’s not that the women’s claims should be dismissed. They are a civil issue for the president now – one woman has sued him for defamation for calling her a liar after she accused him of an unwanted sexual advance. They are not a criminal issue at this time. They were a political issue in the last election and probably will be in the next.

It’s not that unwanted sexual advances by a president are not a legitimate topic for debate and for stories in newspapers. Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said on CNN that Trump’s alleged offenses were “not even comparable” to Weinstein’s. The public can weigh information and decide on that in 2020 or earlier if the situation warrants.

But there was no news on the Trump sexual harassment front. No new woman has come forward. No news has emerged in the lawsuit, although some may come soon. There had been no resurrected claim nor a new denial.

All there had been was a story about another man sexually abusing women, in many cases demanding sex to further their careers. The man happened to be a donor to Democrat political candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The people he abused happen to be famous in their own rights in many cases. This, according to the Post, created a national momentum to attack President Trump.

What this demonstrates is when the Washington Post looks at virtually any national story – especially one where the villain is a donor to the Post’s pet causes and candidates – its looks not at the story’s viability or timeliness or fairness but simply to how it can be used to attack President Trump. 

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