News organizations continue to protect identities of Cain’s accusers

Matthew Boyle | Investigative Reporter

Since Politico first reported the existence of past sexual harassment accusations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, that publication — along with every other that claims to have learned the identities of the women involved — has refused to publish them.

Regardless of whether the allegations against Cain are true or false, or whether they land in some nether region or “he said, she said,” the public has yet to hear the accusations directly from those who are making them.

Politico won’t provide a reason why it has not published the names of the women, even though it has claimed from day one that it knows who they are.

Politico executive editor Jim Vandehei and spokeswoman Anna Bacon declined to answer The Daily Caller’s requests for comment on why the news outlet has the accusers’ identities hidden. Politico reporter Ken Vogel, who co-authored the story, however, defended his publication’s decision to protect Cain’s accusers from the sort of close scrutiny Cain has already undergone.

“Well, we have been extremely careful with their identities not to reveal them, both out of concerns for their own privacy as well as out of concerns for the nondisclosure agreements that they signed,” Vogel said on MSNBC Tuesday.

“However, we did in fact view the nondisclosure language as well as some of the specific documented allegations that the woman made against Herman Cain. We reviewed that. That was what was part of what made us comfortable publishing this story as to whether these women are going to decide that they want to come forward and need to come forward, because you can’t forget, Herman Cain in one of these interviews yesterday described one of these women’s performances as not up to par.”

Politico, it should be noted, is not party to the non-disclosure agreement Vogel mentioned, and is not bound by it. Nor did Vogel explain why his publication chose to protect only the accusers’ identities, and not Cain’s. (RELATED: The Daily Caller’s full coverage of Herman Cain)

Vogel seems to believe it was Cain who brought the women accusing him of sexual harassment into the story — not the other way around. “So, he is personally bringing them into the story the way they hadn’t previously been, because we decided to protect them,” Vogel said. “If they decide to come forward, certainly his comments might give them fodder to do so.”

Politico isn’t the only news organization hiding the identities of the women making accusations against Cain. The Associated Press is too, and it hasn’t justified its decision to hide their identities. The AP told The Daily Caller that readers should trust the news organization to make the right decision.

“Decisions by our reporters and editors to release or withhold identities are part of our reportorial process on any given story, particularly an ongoing one,” AP spokesman Jack Stokes told TheDC.

Conservative PJ Media reporter Richard Pollock also has learned the identity of at least one of the women, and told TheDC that it is up to her if she wants to emerge to tell her story.

“I think they should decide for themselves whether or not they want to come forward,” Pollock said. “That’s their responsibility. I don’t think it is our responsibility to ‘out’ them without their explicit permission.”

As for whether Cain himself has a right to know who’s accusing him, Pollock said he expects “he does know himself who these people are.”

“This particular person [described in a PJ Media story] actually went through a very protracted ordeal with the HR department at the National Restaurant Association,” Pollock told TheDC. “He knows exactly who this woman is. This was something that tore at the hearts of the staff at the NRA when it happened.”

“I don’t know if he [Cain] knows all of the players,” Pollock continued. “But he certainly should know this person — it was a very traumatic story.”

Pollock said he’s not sure who the other two women are, but he thinks conservatives and Cain supporters should believe the story because, among other reason, “both people who spoke [to Pollock] were conservative and one of them is a Christian evangelical.”

“I don’t have a secret agenda,” Pollock said. “These people who I sought out — the only reason I sought them out is because they worked at the National Restaurant Association. They knew the woman personally. They were involved in the actual government affairs department, in which she was employed. They saw, themselves, the angst of the woman and they understood the dynamics within the office.”

“It turned out, after I talked to them on a number of occasions, that I found they were politically conservative,” Pollack explained. “But, it didn’t matter to me what their politics were, but they both happen to be conservatives. And, both of them told me point blank that, when Herman Cain came on, they admired him and they saw him as a knight in shining armor, and they he did great things for the NRA.”

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