Derailing the cain train

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The media as judge, jury, and executioner

It's almost sad to watch Herman Cain's presidential campaign die a slow death under the weight of continuing allegations of decade-old claims of sexual harassment. But Cain has lost the initial bump he gained after the first vague, anonymous allegations were released, in what, by all appearances, looked to be a hatchet job.

Now, the claims are no longer anonymous, and they are no longer vague. The whole thing still stinks to high heaven, but now it is questionable as to weather Cain's campaign will be able to survive the onslaught.

There are still many questions about the allegations against Cain -- questions which the press has shown absolutely no desire to ask. For instance: how did the allegations first come out? Cain's campaign has accused Rick Perry, who has denied outing the initial claim to Politico. A friend of mine who lives in Texas and is more familiar with Texas politics than I tells me that this kind of thing is Perry's modus operandi, but no one in the mainstream media seems to care how the allegations first came to light. After all, Herman Cain ran for president in 2000, and for Senate in 2004 -- why are these allegations only surfacing now? It seems suspicious that these allegations are only coming to light now, when Cain's poll numbers were showing that he could potentially win the GOP primary and provide a serious challenge to President Obama in the general election.

What about the validity of the accusations? Most of this seems to be entirely based on he said/she said claims. One of Cain's accusers seems to have a history of questionable sexual harassment claims. Sharon Bialek, the latest accuser, has made claims that, it seems, could at least be corroborated via some simple investigative journalism. For instance: did Herman Cain upgrade her hotel room when she traveled to meet with him? That information alone would go a long way in substantiating her claim, yet no one seems to be looking for facts. As the Democrats say, it's all about "the seriousness of the charge." There are a lot of other questions about Bialek, yet she seems to be treated as credible by most media organizations right out of the gate simply because she held a press conference with liberal Democrat attorney Gloria Allred.

And then, of course, there is the media double-standard that always seems to be at play. When Bill Clinton was accused of philandering, sexual harassment, and even rape, the media went after his accusers with a passion. When it came out that then-presidential candidate John Edwards was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife during his 2008 campaign, the mainstream press sat on the story. The Washington Post claimed that there was a presumption of innocence, since at the time there wasn't enough evidence to substantiate the allegations... Edwards is now facing criminal charges for violating campaign finance laws in connection to the scandal.

But it seems that the same presumption of innocence that applies to Democrat politicians does not apply to Republican candidate Herman Cain.

Personally, I had high hopes for Herman Cain, but it looks like these allegations, true or not, will ultimately taint his reputation and derail his campaign. At this point, I fear that the best he can hope for is to get out of the race before the media fallout destroys his reputation entirely. After an initial bump in the polls and fundraising, confidence in Cain from conservatives (myself included), is already declining, especially after Cain's campaign manager stated that he had "confirmed" that one of the accusers had a son who worked for Politico, the organization that first broke the story about the allegations against Cain. As it turns out, the "son" hasn't worked for Politico since 2010, and while he shares a last name with one of Cain's accusers, they are not related.

This is dirty politics at its finest: with the he said/she said nature of most of the allegations brought to light so far, I wonder if they are even provable -- not that it matters in today's media culture; the fact that the allegations have been made is enough whenever a Republican is involved. I don't know if the accusations against Cain are true or not, but the whole thing sounds too much like a setup for me to believe it without some solid evidence to back it up. After all, it was just a few short years ago that we saw every frontrunner in the GOP primary was systematically attacked by a hostile media until John McCain, perhaps the weakest candidate for a general election bid, was the nominee.

Personally, I would like to see this "scandal" come to an end -- after all, there are far more important things the media could be spending its time on, such as the Obama administration's ongoing Solyndra and Fast and Furious scandals, both of which are far more important, and far more ignored by the media, than the unproven allegations against Herman Cain.

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Updated May 22, 2018 6:39 PM UTC | More details


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