The Politico media harassment scandal

John Guardiano Freelance Writer
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As readers of my blog, ResCon1, know, I’m with Jeffrey Lord, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham: The Herman Cain sexual harassment controversy is a high-tech lynching of a highly accomplished black man who threatens the liberal order. Indeed, it’s no “Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal”; it is, instead, a Politico media harassment scandal.

I say this because, as Robert Stacy McCain has observed, Politico has presented no real and discernible evidence against Cain. The charges, such as they are, are so vague and lacking in specificity that they could include even innocuous behavior which no reasonable person would find objectionable.

And of course, we have no way of knowing whether the charges are credible because Cain’s accusers are being protected by a cloak of anonymity.

This may be standard journalistic practice, but it’s also highly unethical in my opinion: Concealing the identities of the accusers allows them to level ruinous charges against high-profile figures, but without ever having to subject themselves and their allegations to critical scrutiny.

Yet, it’s a basic principle of American justice (enshrined in the Sixth Amendment) that the accused has a right to confront his accuser.

Then, too, there is something called the statute of limitations: The charges against Cain date back at least a dozen years. And the passage of time and distance make it increasingly difficult to gauge whether these charges were and are legitimate.

As Quin Hillyer points out, “People are falsely accused of all sorts of things, all the time.” Still, says Hillyer, “There is every reason for people to look into this further, and every reason for Cain to give a full accounting.”

Fine. Let Politico’s reporters “look into this further.” And, should they find anything real and credible, then they can rush into print with their story. But you don’t publish a piece — and you don’t smear a man — based on flimsy and anonymous accusations.

And by the way: I don’t think this story makes Politico any more or less liberal than the next conventional media outlet; it just makes it typical, and that’s the problem: Too many (liberal) American journalists, especially in and around the Beltway, think that it’s okay to smear people; and that it’s especially okay to smear conservative black men. It’s not. It’s wrong, and it has got to stop.

As Aaron Goldstein writes, the truth is that a lot of people are terrified at the prospect of a Herman Cain presidency, and, in large measure, because Cain is a black conservative. And many of these people will do anything — anything! — to stop Cain.

That’s understandable, I suppose, if you think that the Democratic Party and the liberal establishment rightfully own the black vote. But what’s more difficult to fathom is elite conservative criticism of Cain. He has not handled this controversy well, we are lectured. He has been amateurish and slow to respond.

I suppose there’s a small element of truth to that charge. Cain is an unconventional politician running an unconventional campaign. He’s also wonderfully human. And he was caught off-guard by an unfair and distant non-story.

But what’s beyond dispute is that Cain has confronted these allegations forthrightly, with grace and with dignity. And, so long as he is under fire, no conservative should abandon him to the savagery of the left. Ride to the sound of the guns.

John R. Guardiano is a writer and analyst in Arlington, Virginia. He writes and blogs for a variety of publications, including FrumForum, The American Spectator and The Daily Caller. Follow him at his personal blog, ResCon1.com, and on Twitter @Rescon1.