Brent Bozell has made a career out of exposing media double standards. Sometimes it must feel like shooting fish in a barrel, but Bozell soldiers on.
Two sets of standards pertain when the media is covering a story that serves the dominant liberal narrative and when it is covering a story that would discredit that narrative.
Recently, the feminist left has been promoting the notion of “rape culture.” By their lights, rape is so pervasive and so widely unpunished that any man accused of rape must be deprived of constitutional rights to due process. Since women never lie about rape, the accused must be presumed guilty and punished accordingly.
Someone ought to point out the absurdity of the notion that women (or any other human being) never lie about this or that. To deprive women of their ability to lie (or to be mistaken) is to deprive them of their humanity.
Note in passing that rape victims sometimes make mistakes identifying their rapists. DNA evidence has proven the point.
Lawyers and law professors, including many from Harvard Law School, have denounced this the feminist effort to circumvent individual rights to due process.
Bozell contributes to the debate by pointing out that the American left has not always been so concerned about meting out swift and certain justice. On some occasions it has fought to the last to defend accused criminals.
The national media are deeply feminist. Their default position is the presumption that "the victim" is the female accuser. Some pundits have even argued in national newspapers that the accuser should be "automatically believed."
This is a serious problem for the left. First, they are the ones who have been exquisitely sensitive about the presumption of innocence for communists, radical Muslim terrorists and violent thugs like Willie Horton. Second, they have forcefully extolled that female accusers of sexual assault are to be automatically disbelieved if they are accusing Bill Clinton or other powerful Democrats. These allegations and any attempt to discuss them or verify them are considered "witch hunts" and "McCarthyism."
Bozell notes that the national media, especially the Washington Post has done the serious reporting that Rolling Stone did not do. The more the Post probes the more it appears that the story is riddled with fabrications… to the point where, however sympathetic we all were to Jackie, her story has by now collapsed.
In Bozell’s words:
To their credit, the same networks that charged right in and reported the Rolling Stone story (with 11-plus minutes of coverage scolding the University of Virginia's unawareness and inaction) turned around and reported the story fell apart. But who had been the abuser in this scenario?
But, Bozell points out, when a prominent liberal is accused of rape, when the story does not fit the narrative, the media do not embrace the story. They express immediate skepticism.
The national media's discredit came in accepting Rolling Stone sight unseen in the first place. This is not the way these "watchdogs" handled Juanita Broaddrick's charge of rape against President Clinton in 1999. Even after NBC's Lisa Myers nailed down particulars establishing that Clinton and Broaddrick were in the same hotel on the same day in 1978, with witnesses who vouchsafed her tortured condition, the networks all but ignored the accuser and her story.
A slight caveat is in order. NBC gave Juanita Broaddrick an hour of prime time to tell her story. Other networks might have ignored the story, but NBC is a major network.
Still, most feminist commentators were quick to dismiss Juanita Broaddrick’s charge. And, after having worked tirelessly to explain that we must question how much, given the power imbalance, a female subordinate could consent to sex with an older, powerful male boss, they refused to apply their principle to the case of Monica Lewinsky.