Another high-vis, conservative black man. Another legacy media hit job. Another high-tech lynching. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Of course, the original high-tech lynching was perpetrated by National Public Radio against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. This latest act of character assassination is being spearheaded by Politico against Herman Cain.
Cain is being charged, in the court of public opinion, with committing sexual harassment back when he was president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. There’s only one problem, and it’s not just that the statute of limitations for Cain’s alleged crime has passed.
No, the real problem with Politico’s story is that it refuses to identify Cain’s accusers.
The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said; and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association.
The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures…
Politico has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.
In other words, there is no story here. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution says explicitly that the accused has a right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
True, the court of public opinion is not the same as a court of law. Still, the same basic principles of fairness and decency ought to apply in both venues. The media must not character assassinate people with anonymous accusations which, if true, could destroy reputations and end careers.
In short, name names or shut the hell up.
UPDATE: Robert Stacy McCain agrees: There’s a lot less to Politico’s hatchet job than meets the eye. “We know nothing about the accusers,” Stacy writes,
and the specifics of the accusations from a dozen years ago are reported rather vaguely by Politico:
“episodes that left the women upset and offended” and “physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.”
All in all, it’s a long run for a short slide. Unless and until we have some specifics — including names, dates and places — my instinct is to agree with [Herman Cain spokesman J.D.] Gordon that this is “part of a smear campaign.”
UPDATE II: Nice Deb has kindly linked to our piece. (Thanks, Deb!) And she has a good roundup of the the latest news and analysis of Politico’s attack on Herman Cain.
As Deb points out, there’s a double standard at work here. The legacy media will work overtime to protect the anonymity of Cain’s accusers, but savage conservative critics of their preferred liberal idols. Shameful.
UPDATE III: Smitty, over at The Other McCain, has linked to our piece – thanks!