There is not a clear media standard for how allegations of sexual misconduct are handled, even within the same broadcast network or media outlet. This has been made plainly clear by the way Ronan Farrow’s reporting of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was covered (or not covered) by NBC, and the way that same network then pounced on the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, which were unsubstantiated at best. Further corroboration of this problem is most evident with the lack of any mainstream reporting on Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex ring.
Now, Weinstein nor Epstein were not nominated for Supreme Court Justice, neither were appearing before Congress to testify as to their worth to be seated on the highest bench in America. But they were influential men, whose power and reach were felt throughout media, entertainment, politics, and philanthropy.
As outlined in Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino’s Justice on Trial, when the letter that detailed Christine Blasey-Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh was released, it was jumped at by multiple media outlets almost instantly. The Intercept, Buzzfeed, The New Yorker (Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer), Politico, the Washington Post (which released the name of the accuser), The Atlantic (in which Caitlin Flanagan wrote about how she believed Blasey-Ford), and HuffPo, all ran with the story before any corroborating evidence came to light. And it’s fair to note that none ever did.
This all while Kavanaugh’s defenders, friends, family members, people who knew him in high school, came forward on his behalf. CNN’s Brian Stelter famously referred to accurate reporting on the allegations as a “right-wing smear campaign [that] has been lying about Christine Blasey-Ford” also without any evidence to back up his claim.
The actual smear campaign was from the outlets that took up these accusations as fact, ran with them, backed them up with their own feelings and personal experiences that had nothing to do with Kavanaugh the man, but were about the bogey-man asshole white frat boy who is so popular and fun for the left to hate.
Meanwhile, disgraced and deceased billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was given a decade-long pass by the entire media establishment for his child sex predation. Project Veritas released a “hot mic” moment where Good Morning America co-anchor Amy Robach rants about being silenced over Jeffrey Epstein.
ABC refused to air an interview with one of Epstein’s victims, though Robach had spent three years of diligent, investigative reporting researching and verifying the story. The reasons they refused to air these allegations when other ones seemed perfectly acceptable, is open for speculation. Robach pointed to pressure from the Clintons and heat from the British Royals, who are implicated in the Epstein scandal.
Powerful people didn’t want the story of Epstein’s abuses to come to light because they feared for their own reputations. When Kavanaugh’s reputation was on the line, we ended up with the #BelieveAllWomen hashtag, which drowned out the truth and dragged those who wouldn’t blindly believe uncorroborated assertions of criminal behaviour.
When it comes to mainstream media coverage, there is one set of rules for Republicans like Kavanaugh, and another for Democrats like Epstein and Weinstein. We’ve seen it over and over again. Conservatives are presumed to be bad; Liberals are presumed to be good. A group of boys in MAGA hats, like the Covington kids, must be racist, meanwhile how dare you criticize the canonization of a 16-year-old autistic Swedish climate change activist?
Kavanaugh was labelled a rapist in the final moments of his confirmation hearing in a last-ditch effort by stalwart Democrats to upset his appointment to the bench. Their motivations could not have been clearer, the letter was in their hands months before and Democrats declined to reveal it until it could do the most damage and waste the most time.
All this, despite the fact that there was exonerating evidence in support of Kavanaugh’s innocence, and clear evidence that Epstein and Weinstein were monsters was swept under the rug by the same elite, establishment media, that appears to care more about protecting the powerful than telling the truth. A recent tweet from Federalist editor Sean Davis sums it up perfectly:
There is a righteous certainty that pervaded the coverage of the Kavanaugh allegations. It was treated like the outcome of his guilt was already decided. Due to his influence and reach into media, Weinstein was able to manipulate the press to obfuscate stories against him or discredit those who spoke out. Epstein was so beloved by the establishment elite that he never even came close to exposure until Mike Cernovich filed a lawsuit to get Epstein’s case files unsealed and The Miami Herald began publishing about it. As Robach’s “hot mic” clip shows, the story was around for way longer than that.
Conspiracies, cover-ups, and catastrophes are not what we used to imagine when we thought of mainstream media. We used to correlate the big news outlets with truth, rigorous reporting standards, and honesty. But they just kept letting us down. The time is now to turn to alternative outlets that are willing to speak truth to power.