Establishment media outlets have showered praise on Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken for admitting to the sexual assault allegations against him, but that’s not exactly accurate.
Franken has admitted to posing for a picture that showed him groping news anchor Leeann Tweeden while she was sleeping. The only allegation Franken is admitting to is the one he was caught doing on camera.
.@LeeannTweeden writes, “You…grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.”
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) November 16, 2017
Tweeden said that prior to the groping incident, Franken had insisted they practice a kissing scene that he had written into one of their skits. She says she expected the scene would stop short of actually kissing.
“He came at me and we did the line and he came at me and before you know it you get close and he just put his hand on the back of my head and he mashed his face against — it happened so fast — he mashed his lips against my face and stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast,” she said at a press event on Thursday. And all I can remember is that his lips were really wet and it was slimy and in my mind I called him Fish Lips the rest of the trip because that’s just what it reminded me of.
“I pushed him off with my hands and I remember I almost punched him because every time I see him now my hands clench into fists and I said ‘If you ever do that to me again, I won’t be so nice about it the second time,'” Tweeden said.
Franken has been vague when addressing that accusation from Tweeden, only saying that he doesn’t remember the alleged assault the same way she does.
“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” Franken said in a lengthy statement on Thursday. That one line was the only time Franken addressed the forcible kissing accusations.
Following Franken’s apology, members of the establishment media seemed to downplay the allegations against Franken, as The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey reported, giving Franken credit for apologizing for an incident caught on camera.
At the time this article was published, Franken still hadn’t admitted to wrongdoing in that incident.
Franken’s defenders in the media have also given him credit for, they say, not fully groping Tweeden. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Watch Al Franken Rave About His ‘Beautiful’ Accuser On The Senate Floor [VIDEO])
“If Franken survives this, it’ll be because of his left hand in that photo,” Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel wrote on Twitter. “He’s not making full contact. He’s making a disgusting groping ‘joke,’ but holding back just a little.”
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall similarly appeared to excuse Franken, calling it a “gross, offensive stunt” but insisting that Franken is “clearly not making contact with her body.”