NYT Columnist: We Should ‘Believe’ Women, But Only If Liberals Tell Us To

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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We should only believe accusations of rape vetted by qualified liberals.

So goes Michelle Goldberg’s patently absurd logic in a recent column for The New York Times. To get there, she’s forced to dismiss a dominant liberal dogma: the “absolute” that every woman deserves to be believed. Her very next step institutes a new dogma: only women who liberals believe deserve unqualified belief.

(Never mind the litany of liberally vetted women — from the Duke lacrosse accuser to Mattress Girl to Rolling Stone’s “Jackie” — whose testimonies turned out to be extremely dubious or outright false.)

Goldberg is working out a Bill Clinton problem she and many liberals have on their hands now that the mantra to “believe women” is actually toppling men, some we might like. Is there a way to celebrate and affirm the downfall of Roy Moore and others based solely on the testimonies of multiple women, while continuing to dismiss the testimonies of Clinton’s accusers?

There is, it turns out, a way, but it requires being willfully oblivious.

“Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn’t have,” Goldberg writes. “At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to ‘believe women’ as absolute.”

She points to several mitigating factors in the Clinton case, which is totally fair. Yes, Republicans were out to get Clinton at the time. Yes, some of the victim testimonies were conflicting. Yes, a right-wing billionaire spent millions to fund what has been described as a “dirty tricks operation” against the Clintons at the time. The conservative media was no friend to the president, and some pushed outlandish conspiracies.

“In this environment, it would have been absurd to take accusations of assault and harassment made against Clinton at face value,” Goldberg writes. Again, totally fair point.

I have zero interest in defending Moore, but the parallels here are unavoidable. Powerful political enemies? Check. Motivated journalists and wealthy activists looking to take him out? Sure. Yet Goldberg makes almost no mention of the obvious similarities between the politically loaded context of the Clinton accusations and the context of the Moore accusations.

If the political context is what determines the validity of a woman’s testimony, we should absolutely question Moore’s accusers.


Goldberg writes that “we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press,” ignoring that the virulently left-wing Washington Post was the outlet that sent reporters to dig up the story.

And a legitimate story it was, despite the Post’s editorial bent!

Their reporters convinced the women to come forward at a time that is devastating to Moore and Republicans politically. By Goldberg’s own logic, we shouldn’t take Moore’s accusers at face value.

The truth is, there are no absolutes in cases of sexual assault, other than the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

Although Moore’s accusers came out with perfect timing, in a smear campaign unseen in a Senate run in recent memory, the evidence appears to show that Moore had an identifiable trend of moral turpitude. The evidence strongly suggests the same for Clinton. To suggest otherwise is either political opportunism or willful obliviousness.

We loved Louis CK and Bill Cosby. But there was a trend there. Harvey Weinstein was an open secret. Still, the trend persisted. In each instance, the truth depends less on context than the case itself. Our feelings about the person DO NOT matter.

It’s not liberals are always right. It’s not women are always right. The only thing close to an absolute in terms of sexual assault accusations is that they should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

In this country, we have due process. Not trial by (liberal) media.


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