DC Trawler

When did Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio) stop beating his wife?

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Not only is that finally a fair question to ask of a politician, but we can actually narrow it down to almost an exact date: sometime before Nov. 9, 1990. That’s when Wilson’s wife Clara submitted a trial brief in preparation for divorce proceedings, detailing his physical abuse. Mike Flynn at Big Government dug it up and posted it in PDF format, and Jim Geraghty at the Campaign Spot has the lowlight:

“Charles admits that early in the marriage he kicked and struck Plaintiff and accused her of adultery. Clara shall confirm the beatings, slappings, and kicking at the early stage of her marriage to the point where she was afraid to anger the Defendant and instead yielded to his demands…

He jumped out of his chair and grabbed her about the neck as he slammed her into the refrigerator. He then grabbed her about both arms, shaking her as they both went over to the kitchen counter which Mrs. Wilson struck with enough force to take the breath out of her. She then fell to the floor, hitting the bottom door to the sink. As she lay there stunned, she couldn’t move her head or pick up her arm.

Charles admits grabbing Plaintiff [his then-wife, Clara] by the arms and shaking her. He admits grabbing her around the neck with one hand. He admits bruising Plaintiff’s arms and neck.”

“Clara was taken to the East Ohio Regional Hospital by her son. She initially lied to the emergency room physician that she had fallen down stairs. The physician’s observation of a bruise on the back of the right shoulder was inconsistent with a fall down the stairs. He questioned her further and learned of her husband’s assault.”

Is it considered news when it’s discovered that a Congressman beat up his wife, even if he’s not a Republican? Apparently not. As Geraghty notes:

The only news groups that have even mentioned the story are Townhall.com, our old friend David Freddoso in the Washington Examiner, and here and a few other blogs. Compare this to the Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006 and dominated the final month of the campaign.

We don’t have a news business. We have a narrative reinforcement business, and they do a strikingly effective job of collectively averting their eyes from information that hurts their preferred cause. For Pete’s sake, this is wife-beating we’re talking about, and it is admitted in a public record. How is this not news? How is this not something that the voters in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District ought to know about before they cast their vote?

Simple. Because Wilson’s one of the “good guys.”

P.S. In other journalists-running-interference-for-politicians news, here are some Chicago reporters just minding their own business, trying to get a soundbite from Rahm Emanuel, when some guy butts in and starts asking actual questions:


Yeah, that guy was annoying, but he’s got a good point: These hacks think it’s their job to protect Democrats.

Jim Treacher