Monday, October 31, 2016

Fairly reporting allegations of a sex offense--discourages victims from coming forward?

Read it here: http://heatst.com/culture-wars/university-of-kentucky-blames-student-newspaper-for-drop-in-reports-of-alleged-sexual-assault/

Rolling Stone publisher suggested magazine's mistake in automatically believing rape accuser was unavoidable

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner's defense of his magazine's decision to believe a rape accuser--and run with the infamous story about an alleged brutal gang rape at a UVA fraternity--was downright chilling:
Wenner admitted the magazine’s biggest mistake was not reaching out to Jackie’s alleged rapists.

“We did want to respect her wishes as the victim of a horrible rape . . . looking back with 20/20 hindsight, we should have demanded the identity of her [attackers],” he said.

Even so, Wenner suggested the error was unavoidable. “We were the victim of one of these rare, once-in-a-lifetime things that nobody in journalism can protect themselves from,” he insisted.
(Source)

Read it again: Wenner absolves his magazine of blame because poor little innocent Rolling Stone followed a practice that "nobody in journalism" could "protect themselves from"--it believed the accuser. Wenner even referred to the accuser--better known as "Jackie"--as "the victim of a horrible rape." Wenner made sure to add: “We are deeply committed to factual accuracy.” And: “We did everything reasonable, appropriate, up to the highest standards.” (Source)

It was poor little, defenseless Rolling Stone--with its circulation of of a million-and-a-half readers--that was the victim here, not the the young men of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, who were unjustly demonized as overseers of a rape pit, or the university official who was made out to be a rape enabler.
 
Of course, Wenner's defense of the magazine's decision to run with the story contradicts the conclusion of Columbia University's School of Journalism, which Wenner brought in to investigate the magazine's failures--that investigation concluded that it was "journalistic failure that was avoidable." (Source)

But why are we surprised when the publisher of a major magazine testifies under oath that it was "reasonable" and in accordance with "the highest standards" of journalism to believe the accuser without bothering to concede even the possibility that there might be another side to the story?  In fact, Wenner's logic is the product of a culture that has allowed gender extremists on campus and in the media to dominate the public discourse on sexual assault. The purveyors of this culture unflinchingly demonize college men and reduce them to vile caricature, insist that college campuses are rape pits, claim with a straight face that women don't lie about rape, and preach that due process for men accused of rape on campus is a luxury college women can't afford. In short, they buy into something that even RAINN, the preeminent anti-rape organization in America, denounced: the "rape culture" meme.

The real lessons from the Rolling Stone disaster are that it is never right to rush to judgment and treat an accusation as tantamount to a conviction even where the accuser "seems" credible--and that it is both journalistic malpractice and morally grotesque to refuse to concede even the possibility that there might be another side to the story. It underscores the critical need for due process in "he said, she said" scenarios involving sex claims -- something feminists are happy to dispense with on college campuses. And, it affirms what Prof. Alan Dershowitz once wrote about rape accusations: ". . . don’t assume anything until all the evidence is in. The story is almost never what it appears to be on first impression." The "rape culture" lie needs to stop, and the extremists need to be exposed for what they are.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Boy twice victimized--of statutory rape, and of a false rape claim

In this news story, a woman had a "sexual connection with a minor"--specifically, a 14-year-old boy--the news report says the sex was "consensual" though it is far from certain how a child can adequately "consent" to sex with an adult, even if he is a boy. Nevertheless, the woman claimed the boy "forced himself" on her.

So now, this child has been twice-victimized--by the same woman: he was statutorily raped, and he's the victim of a false rape claim.

Do you think the news reports would call such an encounter "consensual" if the genders were flipped?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Never fabricate a claim that 66.5 million eyewitnesses can refute

Did you see the second Presidential debate last Sunday?

Did you know that Donald Trump "stalked" Hillary Clinton during that debate?

No? Neither did 66.5 million eyewitnesses.

But, hey, I guess if a woman said it, it has to be true--eyewitnesses be damned.

All kidding aside, the fact that this allegation was lodged by Mrs. Clinton--even though a massive audience knows it wasn't true--and the fact that the allegation wasn't refuted by the mainstream media tells us everything we need to know this campaign.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Using sexual assault to further a political agenda

Donald Trump held a press conference before last Sunday night's debate with Bill Clinton's sexual assault accusers. Then he had the accusers sit in the audience and watch the debate--the same audience where Bill Clinton sat. It was an unprecedented political spectacle. Fox News Trump supporter Sean Hannity and others on Fox News have treated each of Bill Clinton's accusers as sexual assault victims.

The goal of many allied with Trump is to claim that Hillary Clinton hates women as shown by her actions in attacking her husband's accusers. We previously decried this tactic, noting that "the attacks on Mrs. Clinton for defending her husband echo the shrill siren of radical feminism" which assumes guilt on the basis of an accusation. While it is certainly fair to point out Mrs. Clinton's hypocrisy when she urges that women who cry rape "should be believed" while her husband's accusers should not, it is absurd to suggest that it's proper to assume rape on the basis of an accusation.

Ah, but the plot thickens--things just got a lot more complicated for Trump allies. Last Sunday, we wrote about Donald Trump's repulsive locker room bragging about sexual assault. We added this: "And I'm wondering when the women will come forward, a la Bill Cosby? Perhaps this disclosure will trigger women coming forward."

I didn't have to wonder long. The accusers have come out of the woodwork and, mirabile dictu!--they somehow found their way to the New York Times, less than four weeks before the election. The one accusation concerns an alleged event that occurred more than 30 years ago.  That's right--30 years ago. Chances are, Trump can't possibly prove he was somewhere other than where the woman claims he was because any evidence that could support an alibi is obviously long gone by now.

Trump claims his locker room bragging was all talk--that he did not sexually assault anyone. For the same reason that we should not assume Bill Clinton committed sexual assault based on accusations, we should not assume Donald Trump did so, either. Nor should we assume the accusers are liars. We should not take sides unless the claims have been subjected to a fair hearing.

Unfortunately, that's not how a lot of people will look at it.

The mainstream media--which has no use for Trump--will report these accusations 24/7 if possible in an effort to put the final nail in the coffin of the Trump campaign.

Trump supporters will take a different approach--and the real question is: how will Fox News treat these accusations against Trump? Will Sean Hannity et al. give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt--something they steadfastly refuse to do for Bill Clinton? Will they try to smear the accusers even after they treated Bill Clinton's accusers as if they were Mother Theresa's sisters? Or will they do the right thing and report the facts about these accusations without taking sides as to their veracity? And if Fox News does the right thing in this instance, will that expose its hypocrisy because Fox News has failed to do the same in Bill Clinton's case?

My guess: Trump supporters will try to make the case that the accusations against Bill Clinton are credible while the ones against Trump aren't. And my guess is that most objective people will see through that.

That's what happens when you use sexual assault accusations to further a political agenda. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Off-topic: Americans are stupid

No one should complain about the outcome of this election, whatever it might be. Americans don’t deserve a good president because they don’t demand one.

Mrs. Clinton and her news media allies (pretty much the entire mainstream media) are only interested in talking about Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour. For his part, Donald Trump is primarily interested in attacking leaders of his own party who aren’t supporting him. The rest of the GOP and its media outlet, Fox News, are more interested in catching Clinton in lies about old emails or maybe even hoping she faints again.

The American people are even worse. We just witnessed the most dramatic presidential debate in history--and the most talked-about thing is what? A guy in a red sweater who asked a question that wasn’t important.

So what's so important that we should be discussing, you ask?

For one thing, Americans ought to be talking about Obamacare. Barack Obama considers it his signature accomplishment, and Mrs. Clinton is running as an Obama acolyte. Obama sold it to Americans with his Pajama Boy ad campaign and promises that it would “reduce the costs of most Americans” and that “no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor . . . .” In fact, Obama made those claims repeatedly.

The Pajama Boy campaign turned out to be a dud—akin to trying to peddle New Coke (younger readers may not know--in the mid-1980s, Coke changed the formula of its iconic drink--it didn’t last). And the promises turned out to be wrong, to put it charitably. An architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, later admitted in a moment of arrogant candor that the promises were deceitful—because “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in this instance. Health care premiums have skyrocketed to the point that Bill Clinton—the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration--last week said this: "So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world."

At this week’s debate, a questioner asked: “Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?” Even Mrs. Clinton agreed with the questioner. “. . . I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs . . . .” And: “. . . we've got to get costs down. We've got to provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.”

The most important accomplishment of the Obama administration is a mess, and you'd think this would be the principal issue in this campaign. So why aren’t we holding both candidates’ feet to the fire and insisting that they lay out detailed plans about how they’re going to fix Obamacare, or replace it?

Because we're too busy talking about a guy in a red sweater.

And . . . maybe we’re stupid?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Donald Trump's repulsive comments

[Edit: During the October 9, 2016 presidential debate, Donald Trump stated that his comments in 2005 were "locker room talk" and that he did not sexually assault women.]

Back in 2005, Donald Trump bragged, "I just start kissing [beautiful women] . . . . Just kiss. Don't even wait. And when you're a star, let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you wait. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

Should we believe Donald Trump was telling the truth--that he would kiss women, and grab women "by the p**ssy," without waiting for anything, including the women's consent? Because that sure sounds an awful lot like sexual assault, doesn't it? Or maybe Trump thinks that the women's after-the-fact consent--because he's a "star" and all--could undo sexual assault?

If Trump grabbed women before the women manifested consent, that's sexual assault. The fact that the women didn't complain doesn't undo the sexual assault.

Pointing this out is not to condone Hillary Clinton's conduct or policies. Readers of this blog know that--just look at the link at the top left of this page. I am just asking if we should take Donald Trump at his word, because if we do, it sure sounds like he was bragging about committing sexual assault.

And I'm wondering when the women will come forward, a la Bill Cosby?  Perhaps this disclosure will trigger women coming forward.

One way or the other, this presidential election might just present the worst choice we've ever had.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Airline changes woman's seat to accommodate Pakistani Monks: discrimination. Muslim women get men kicked out of gyms: a reasonable request

When Pakistani monks--who are men--had United Airlines move a female passenger because their cultural beliefs forbade them from sitting next to her on a flight, the media gave voice to the woman, who felt she'd been discriminated. “We can’t discriminate against half the population,” the woman said, “for a belief from another nation.” The woman has demanded that United Airlines apologize to every female on that plane, including United employees, and change their policy. The woman said she was intent on protecting women’s rights. United said it regretted that the woman was unhappy and that it has "zero tolerance" for discrimination. See here

But when Muslim women insist that they can't exercise with men around at Harvard and a lot of other places, the men are often banned from the gym for hours each week. The women find it "awkward" working out in a co-ed gym--it makes them "uncomfortable." The communications director of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences called it a "reasonable request."

When Muslim men asked for a religious accommodation that, in truth, did not inconvenience a woman at all, the media gives voice to the woman who insists she was discriminated against. When women ask for a religious accommodation that indisputably does cause some inconvenience to men, it's a reasonable request.