Faux Feminists at NY Times Suddenly Think Bringing Up Sex Harassment 'Way Out of Line'

Fascinating: The New York Times, an outlet that has respectfully pondered the idea of a flourishing “rape culture” in the United States, and which irresponsibly furthered false accusations against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape by a stripper in 2006, suddenly doesn’t think sexual harassment is worth talking about. Or at least not when the accused is Democratic “big dog” Bill Clinton, and the topic might risk his wife becoming president in 2016: "Mr. Trump is way out of line bringing up Mr. Clinton’s philandering."

After Donald Trump re-injected Clinton’s sordid sexual past into the news stream, the paper responded on Friday with an oddly written, bottom-of-the-page editorial, “Donald Trump Drags Bill Clinton’s Baggage Out.” They do not approve, and accuse Trump of trying to “tar” Hillary Clinton in “sexist fashion” to her husband’s dark sexual past – even though Hillary herself tore down the reputations of her husband’s accusers in order to save the couples’ political skin.

The Times may be afraid that millennial voters hypersensitive to signs of “rape culture” -- and who aren’t aware of the former president’s history with women -- may be appalled to learn about Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones. Or the lengths that current candidate Hillary Clinton went to smear those same women, who accused her husband of sexual harassment and worse.

The editorial actually mentions the names of Clinton’s accusers, which is a start. Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her in 1978, had previously been mentioned precisely once in the New York Times since 2003. But the Times editorialists failed to remind readers why those names are significant.

Donald Trump seems to view his role as the person who dredges up what nobody else wants to talk about. And so he has dragged out Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity.

It’s clear the Times doesn’t want to talk about it.

The editorial quoted Trump’s counterattack after Hillary Clinton accused him of having a “penchant for sexism.”  Trump responded: “If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!”

The paper sniffed:

Voters will judge that one, but Mr. Trump is way out of line bringing up Mr. Clinton’s philandering. That behavior, especially his White House affair with a 22-year-old intern, is a blot on his career. It is also a tired subject that few Americans want to hear more about. If Mr. Trump has not read enough, he can curl up with a copy of the Starr report.

The editors then proceeded to criticize Hillary Clinton in the mildest fashion imaginable.

For decades Mrs. Clinton has helped protect her husband’s political career, and hers, from the taint of his sexual misbehavior, in part by attacking the character of women linked to her husband....

The Times doesn’t seem to know what to do with this awkward-for-Hillary issue.

Last month in New Hampshire, a young woman challenged Mrs. Clinton on that. Speaking at a town hall event, the woman referred to several women who have said they were sexually harassed by her husband. “You recently came out to say that all rape victims should be believed,” she said, asking if Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones should also be believed.

Mrs. Clinton’s response was odd, and unhelpful. “I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence,” she said.

Then the editorial puzzlingly played the “sexist” card:

Mr. Trump, of course, is not drawing distinctions between Bill Clinton’s behavior and Hillary Clinton’s attacks on her husband’s accusers. His aim is to dredge up an ancient scandal and tar Mrs. Clinton with it in a clearly sexist fashion. There should be no place for that kind of politics in this country.

Reporter Amy Chozick also tried desperately to write around the allegations in a front-page story late last month.

 
Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.