WHAT?! CNN, MSNBC Compare Brett Kavanaugh to....Convicted Sexual Predator Bill Cosby

Reacting to Tuesday’s sentencing of Bill Cosby for sexual assault, CNN and MSNBC guests were allowed without pushback by CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin and MSNBC Live’s Katy Tur to compare Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the sexually violent celebrity who’s had 60 women accuse him of sexual misconduct.

Of course, this was despite the fact that the allegations against Kavanaugh are flimsy at best with zero corroborating witnesses, never faced a criminal probe, and hasn’t been convicted of anything. But in Mazie Hirono’s America, people like Kavanaugh are guilty until proven guilty.

 

 

On CNN, legal analyst Areva Martin agreed with Brooke Baldwin about the monumental significance of Cosby’s fall from grace, but out of nowhere, she invoked Kavanaugh:

All of this happening in the same week that we're looking at Brett Kavanaugh and the allegations of women against him for sexual assault and I can tell you as a civil rights lawyer that has been litigating sexual assault — sexual harassment cases for over two decades, this is an incredible moment that we are in to see someone as powerful as Bill Cosby to actually have been, you know, prosecuted in a state court and to be convicted, it is almost impossible for a celebrity of his stature to be convicted. Jurors just don't like sending their celebrities to jail. So I don't think we can overestimate the significance of this moment. 

Baldwin recklessly sat tight and said nothing, giving Yodit Tewolde the okay to reckless link Cosby and Kavanaugh (click “expand” to read more):

But, you know, during the break I'm scrolling through Twitter and I'm looking at people actually saying and applauding the judge in the sentence and then in the same breath wanting to defend Kavanaugh and it’s disturbing to me because, again, like Areva said, this a defining moment when you have someone like Cosby going to prison and then, in the Supreme Court, someone like Kavanaugh possibly going to the highest court in the land and so anyone that’s defending Kavanaugh, could not, in the same breath, now applaud this jury or this — this verdict that the judge just handed down in the same breath. It doesn’t make any sense.

Again, Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him, has dozens of female character witnesses, and accusers who haven’t been able to answer when and where their alleged incidents happened with some admissions that they weren’t even sure Kavanaugh was the person in question. Baldwin changed her tone over an hour later with Solomon Jones of The Philadelphia Daily News, but what's done is done.

Shifting to MSNBC, Tur continually insisted that she wasn’t comparing the two when she was doing just that. Tur first compared the slow trickle of Cosby accusers decades after their alleged incidents to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford not coming forward until just before Kavanaugh was set to be voted on. 

 

 

Tur insisted that she’s “not” here “to make comparisons between this trial and what we are seeing with Brett Kavanaugh, because they are so different, but it is a similar reaction that Dr. Ford is — is experiencing right now when she decided to come forward with her own story about what she says happened to her when she was in high school with Brett Kavanaugh.”

Turns out, Katy, what you’re doing is indeed comparing Kavanaugh to a man repeatedly alleged to have raped dozens of women and convicted of assaulting Andrea Constand.

Legal analyst Mimi Rocah engaged in the same trope (click “expand” to read more)

I mean, these are so different in some ways. Cosby is about a criminal trial. He's going to lose his liberty....[T]here are — in some ways, what the victim in Cosby's case is saying is almost providing us with a window to what, you know, Dr. Ford and other victims — some of what they would be saying if they were talking now more publicly, which is, you know, as you said, and we're seeing it all over social media, why I didn't report and there's many different reasons. Everybody has unique reasons, but one of the ones you see over and over is shame, is fear of people not believing them because that is what happens over and over and it is so striking that, you know, Bill Cosby is going to go to jail now, rightfully, for a crime that was committed in 2004. It's not the 1980s, but it's a long time ago and as you said, there are so many other women who are coming out and talking about things, some of which took them many, many years to report and then meanwhile, we have a man who wants to be on the Supreme Court, okay? This is a job that he is seeking and people are saying, well, these claims about things that he did are too old to matter. I mean, the contrast between those two things is just really striking and it also shows — you know, people keep saying, well, Brett Kavanaugh, innocent until proven guilty. No, this is not a trial, first of all and second of all, no one is saying he's guilty of anything. We're saying let's have a fair process. 

Fellow legal analyst Danny Cevallos granted Rocah and Tur the notion that a Senate hearing is not a court of law, but promptly informed them that “the Brett Kavanaugh case is nothing like the Bill Cosby case” and “to call the Cosby criminal trial anything similar to the Brett Kavanaugh hearing is something — is just not accurate.”

Tur reupped her notion that Cosby and Kavanaugh aren’t the same but, wink, wink, they are (click “expand”):

Well, and just talking about why victims say they don't report in the aftermath of the assault, why they don't talk about it immediately, why they might keep it to themselves for years or maybe decades. We do hear similar things from victims across the spectrum, including victims involved in this Cosby case. Andrea Constand and the other women who were accusing him as well....Again, this is — these two things are not the same, the Brett Kavanaugh hearing is not the Bill Cosby trial. The allegations are not the same. But the victims are saying the same sorts of things. Andrea Constand talking about why she didn't come forward sounds a lot like why Dr. Ford says she didn't come forward until all these many years later.

Guest Wendy Murphy went even further with the Cosby-Kavanaugh links, declaring that, for Kavanaugh: “Due process is not required. This is not a hearing about a man who may go to prison. He's not entitled to the job. Judge Kavanaugh is not entitled to the job of Supreme Court justice.”

To see the relevant transcript from September 25's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, click “expand.”

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
September 25, 2018
2:06 p.m. Eastern

BROOKE BALDWIN: Areva, to you, because I know this is all swirling and we're waiting for the number of years, can we also just take a minute to recognize — I mean, before the shoe came on, I was just reminding somebody of Picture Pages. I mean, I grew up watching Picture Pages. This is Mr. Huxtable. This is — this is someone who America once thought was the perfect dad, right, who really did a lot for black America, America and this is a man who has been convicted and is about to be locked away potentially for quite a while. 

AREVA MARTIN: Yeah, Brooke, I'm so glad you brought that point up because as we're talking about this as a criminal case, this case has so much more significance in terms of pop culture, in terms of celebrity culture, and definitely in terms of the African-American community. Bill Cosby wasn't just America's dad. He was a hero in the African-American community, the likes of which I don't know if anyone, you know is — was on par, on his level at the time that he was at the height of his game. So to see him have such a fall from grace, to be convicted of three felonies, to be now deemed a sexually violent predator, to be facing prison time, is incredibly overwhelming. All of this happening in the same week that we're looking at Brett Kavanaugh and the allegations of women against him for sexual assault and I can tell you as a civil rights lawyer that has been litigating sexual assault — sexual harassment cases for over two decades, this is an incredible moment that we are in to see someone as powerful as Bill Cosby to actually have been, you know, prosecuted in a state court and to be convicted, it is almost impossible for a celebrity of his stature to be convicted. Jurors just don't like sending their celebrities to jail. So I don't think we can overestimate the significance of this moment. 

(....)

2:15 p.m. Eastern

YODIT TEWOLDE: I'm not surprised at all. I mean, like Areva said, he chose not to say anything, which of course the judge shouldn't consider, but, again, you can't consider something someone never says. But, you know, during the break I'm scrolling through Twitter and I'm looking at people actually saying and applauding the judge in the sentence and then in the same breath wanting to defend Kavanaugh and it’s disturbing to me because, again, like Areva said, this a defining moment when you have someone like Cosby going to prison and then, in the Supreme Court, someone like Kavanaugh possibly going to the highest court in the land and so anyone that’s defending Kavanaugh, could not, in the same breath, now applaud this jury or this — this verdict that the judge just handed down in the same breath. It doesn’t make any sense.

To see the relevant transcript from September 25's MSNBC Live with Katy Tur, click “expand.”

MSNBC Live with Katy Tur
September 25, 2018
2:29 p.m. Eastern

KATY TUR: So Andrea constand released a victim impact statement today. I have a couple highlights from it. I'm going to read a couple of them. On the assault's lingering impact, she say: “When the sexual assault happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities. Now almost 15 years later, I'm a middle-aged woman who's been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward. ‘Why didn't she report it at the time?’” Which is something we keep hearing when accusers come out. We've heard it for the Brett Kavanaugh accusers, from the president. Why didn't she report it at the time? Here's what Andrea Constand says of why she didn't report her Cosby interactions at the time. She says: “The shame was overwhelming, self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself. On interacting with Cosby after the assault: “I was in the basketball office at Temple, and I was required to interact with Mr. Cosby. The sound of his voice over the phone felt like a knife going through my guts. The sight of the man who drugged me and sexually assaulted me coming into the basketball office filled me with dread.” On the deposition, during the civil trial: “I had to relive every moment of the sexual assault in horrifying detail in front of Mr. Cosby and his lawyers. I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears. I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. This is so much of why many accusers say they never come forward. They never tell anybody. They never come out publicly and say this man did that to me, they talk about not only this feeling of shame, not only this feeling of self-doubt and confusion, but that the world is going to turn against them.” And not to make comparisons between this trial and what we are seeing with Brett Kavanaugh, because they are so different, but it is a similar reaction that Dr. Ford is — is experiencing right now when she decided to come forward with her own story about what she says happened to her when she was in high school with Brett Kavanaugh. 

MIMI ROCAH: Right. I mean, these are so different in some ways. Cosby is about a criminal trial. He's going to lose his liberty. 

TUR: 60-plus women talking about the way he treated them. 

ROCAH: Right. It’s, you know, but --- but even the standard of proof is so different because of what's at stake there, but we cannot ignore the fact these things are going on at the same time. I mean, there are — in some ways, what the victim in Cosby's case is saying is almost providing us with a window to what, you know, Dr. Ford and other victims — some of what they would be saying if they were talking now more publicly, which is, you know, as you said, and we're seeing it all over social media, why I didn't report and there's many different reasons. Everybody has unique reasons, but one of the ones you see over and over is shame, is fear of people not believing them because that is what happens over and over and it is so striking that, you know, Bill Cosby is going to go to jail now, rightfully, for a crime that was committed in 2004. It's not the 1980s, but it's a long time ago and as you said, there are so many other women who are coming out and talking about things, some of which took them many, many years to report and then meanwhile, we have a man who wants to be on the Supreme Court, okay? This is a job that he is seeking and people are saying, well, these claims about things that he did are too old to matter. I mean, the contrast between those two things is just really striking and it also shows — you know, people keep saying, well, Brett Kavanaugh, innocent until proven guilty. No, this is not a trial, first of all and second of all, no one is saying he's guilty of anything. We're saying let's have a fair process. 

TUR: Danny, jump in on that. What do you think? 

DANNY CEVALLOS: There's a lot there to jump in on. This — the Brett Kavanaugh case is nothing like the Bill Cosby case. The Bill Cosby case is a case. It's a criminal trial and Mimi's absolutely right. He was afforded the presumption of innocence, and the burden was always on the prosecution, and we evaluate the accuser, the victim's testimony. That is not the case in the Kavanaugh hearing. The Kavanaugh hearing is really a glorified job interview, but a job interview that is unfettered by any rules or laws when it comes to looking into someone's background. The rules are made by the Senate, and they can do whatever they want with them. So, if the Senate wants to delve into these issues for as long or as short as they want to, they can do that. Culturally, there are many, many similarities, but to call the Cosby criminal trial anything similar to the Brett Kavanaugh hearing is something — is just not accurate. 

ROCAH: I didn't say it was similar. I said it provided a window in some ways because we're talking about similar kinds of allegations. I totally agree that they're very different. One is a trial, one is not. One has a burden of proof, one doesn’t — one has someone's liberty at stake. I think we're saying the same thing. 

CEVALLOS: But of course, you have the same — one same issue running through them is the inability, the failure, or when victims do not report for a long time. The law recognizes this. It deals with this. And why a victim is more exposed in a hearing like the Kavanaugh hearing is that there are no such protective laws. The Senate can question really at will. A good precedent is senator Arlen Specter questioning Anita Hill at the Hill-Thomas hearings and he got into some really, really deep territory, as did other Republican senators, territory that might not be considered appropriate today. Those kinds of things would be restricted by the rules of evidence. But certainly culturally, we are in different times when we look at both Cosby and the Kavanaugh hearings. 

TUR: Well, and just talking about why victims say they don't report in the aftermath of the assault, why they don't talk about it immediately, why they might keep it to themselves for years or maybe decades. We do hear similar things from victims across the spectrum, including victims involved in this Cosby case. Andrea Constand and the other women who were accusing him as well.

(....)

2:44 p.m. Eastern

TUR: Again, this is — these two things are not the same, the Brett Kavanaugh hearing is not the Bill Cosby trial. The allegations are not the same. But the victims are saying the same sorts of things. Andrea Constand talking about why she didn't come forward sounds a lot like why Dr. Ford says she didn't come forward until all these many years later. 

WENDY MURPHY: Yeah, what a really important point. Look, victims don't care if the perpetrator is black or white or Republican or Democrat, the suffering women go through is the same. It's important to emphasize that so we can really appreciate this is not bad sex. I mean, then women talk about how painful it is to talk about this and how traumatizing it is, what they're saying is this was an incredibly violent intrusion into their personal autonomy and bodily integrity. The Supreme Court of the United States has called rape and sexual violence the most severe harm to the human self that a person can endure, short of homicide and we just don't see it that way in this country. 

(....)

2:47 p.m. Eastern

TUR: We have a playbook, if you will, for how to deal with sexual assault allegations in criminal courts and in civil courts. There is a process that takes place. We don't have this sort of playbook in Congress for hearings. What would be a good way to deal with this if Congress were to take up having some sort of — some preset guidelines for how they deal with somebody who is accusing a Supreme Court nominee, a lawmaker, somebody of misconduct but they're not accusing them in a criminal setting, not in a court setting. 

MURPHY: Yeah, it's really a challenging question for me to answer, and it's a challenging thing for the Senate to deal with. One of the reasons there are no rules for the Senate, there's no burden of proof, there are no rules of evidence determining what they're allowed to consider versus no and no doubt they will look to civil and criminal rules for guidance, but they're not bound by them, and that's because there's no liberty at stake. Due process is not required. This is not a hearing about a man who may go to prison. He's not entitled to the job. Judge Kavanaugh is not entitled to the job of Supreme Court justice. 

NBDaily Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Political Scandals Sex Scandals CNN CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press Brooke Baldwin Katy Tur Bill Cosby Brett Kavanaugh
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