Third Party & Independents Archives

‚ÄčIs a Predatory Media The Only Transparency That Works?

Do you really want to know what Member of Congress greeted a former aide of his who was told to deliver some papers to his home, while he wearing only a towel? Maybe that sounds like a little too much information, but of course it isn’t too much information to ask for. Not if Capitol Hill is to truly join Hollywood and Wall Street in starting the process of being honest about harassment or abuse by powerful men (maybe a story about a woman harassing her buff young aide will come out someday but that’s likely a long way away for now) towards subordinates and/or the vulnerable and young.

So the question is, just like in Hollywood's case but perhaps more so, how many stories are the media sitting on because they're afraid, or cautious if you prefer to be euphemistic? How many serial abusers or harassers are cloaked by a wall of silence because aides are scared to name names, journalists don't want to have to find another job, and editors like the company of the powerful and wealthy?

We now hear a few stories about Bush 41 and his habits of fondling women, even from the wheelchair. How many other stories about the ex-president and vice-president have lain quietly in a reporter's files?

Clinton, on the other hand, was the exception. Perhaps he was so damn blatant that the stories were bound to come out at some point. Perhaps by the 90's many of the manners and customs of discretion had faded to such an extent that reporters felt no reluctance in delivering all the details: cigars, stains and all. Very different from the world that Clinton's hero JFK inhabited. And one can certainly make the argument that JFK was as blatant as Clinton in terms of his promiscuity, but the times were different.

Will the press finally pull back the covers on D.C.'s sexual abuses and harrasing?

That's the only way, unfortunately, that this behavior is going to change. A sensitivity training course on sexual harassment for senators and congressmen - as has been announced - is a bit of a laugh. Forgive the skepticism, but that's a little like convincing hyenas to give up on raw meat.

Could reputations be undeservingly ruined? That is always a risk with a fairly free but rather predatory press that needs outrage to fuel clicks and ads and reads. Because it must be made clear, this is not a legal proceeding. It's very hard to prosecute sitting members of Congress. This a media driven shame game that might as a result later produce legal action outside the confines of Capitol Hill. But it's what there is for now: a quasi political rumor mill in the place of honesty, decency and integrity. And it's the only kind of transparency that has truly forced change in Hollywood, and may be the only kind that does so in Washington D.C. Sad ... with no exclamation mark.

Posted by AllardK at November 15, 2017 5:09 PM
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