Rape Allegation Double Standard: Liberal Elites Turn on Bill Cosby, But Not Bill Clinton

July 17th, 2015 8:36 PM

Why are the liberal media and other liberal elites turning on the black Bill Cosby - while supporting the white Bill Clinton? 

The cries of racist double standards surrounding grand jury decisions in the case of Ferguson’s Michael Brown and Staten Island’s Eric Garner have been loud and clear.  Coupled with movements protesting sexual assault on college campuses and in the American military, both of which have won much publicized support from President Obama, the contrast between the treatment of the black actor/comedian Cosby and the ongoing celebration of the white former President could not be more conspicuous.

Like Cosby, Clinton has been credibly accused of both rape and repeated sexual assaults.  Yet powerful institutions and people in the liberal worlds of entertainment, politics and academia have made a point of cutting ties with Cosby while continuing to honor or even contribute to a project of Clinton’s.

Mr. Obama himself has made a point of saying this just the other day, as reported by the New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday said bluntly that the actions described in accusations that the comedian Bill Cosby drugged women for sex would constitute nothing less than rape, and he said the country should have “no tolerance” for such actions.

President Obama has no tolerance for rape? Really? 

For those who missed the 1990’s, the turmoil surrounding the Clinton presidency summoned impeachment.  Bringing forth multiple accusations of sexual assault against Mr. Clinton. Two of the most prominent were from Arkansas state worker Paula Jones (an assault that took place when Mr. Clinton was governor, this charge settled with an $850,000 payment from Clinton to Jones) and a charge from Clinton supporter Kathleen Willey, whose allegation centered around a sexual assault from Clinton in the Oval Office private study. There was also a graphic and detailed allegation of rape made by ex-Clinton supporter Juanita Broaddrick that was reported exclusively by the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz and NBC’s Lisa Myers. Clinton supporters angrily dismissed the charges with the cry that it was only about sex. Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton took to NBC’s Today Show to decry a "vast right wing conspiracy."

Now one story after another has emerged from multiples of  women - many if not most of them white - with decades-old  accusations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted or raped them. In response, Comcast-owned NBC canceled a Cosby project for a new television show. Variety reports that "African-American-skewing network Bounce TV has announced that it will immediately cease airing reruns of television series Cosby, while the BET-owned Centric Network has pulled The Cosby Show."

In Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley pushed the University of Massachusetts to sever its ties to graduate school alumni and school fundraiser  Cosby. Said Coakley in a widely publicized letter to university officials, “At a time when the state is focused on prevention and response to sexual assaults on campus, allowing Mr. Cosby to continue to represent our state university sends the exact wrong message.” UMass dropped Cosby.

Temple University, where the comedian earned his bachelor’s degree and has been involved in fundraising and commencement activities, has announced it too was cutting ties to Cosby as he resigned from the school’s board of trustees.

Yet this past September the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on a recent meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative that “drew…over 2,900 commitments worth an estimated $103-billion.” Among those 2,900 big donor commitments was “$3-million from Comcast and NBCUniversal." 

Ms. Coakley made a point of asking former President Clinton to campaign for her in her ill-fated gubernatorial campaign this fall, which he did. And UMass? While president in 1997 - with a Paula Jones lawsuit in the courts   charging Clinton with sexual assault - Mr. Clinton was featured at a UMass-Boston roundtable.  This year Temple University’s law school hosted Clinton for a speech to law students.

Likewise, while BET’s Centric Network has pulled Cosby Show re-runs because of the Cosby rape allegations, here is BET founder Robert Johnson saying in 2008 praising “Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues.”

In addition to attacking Cosby, President Obama also scalded 2010 Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape”, responding that “rape is rape.” Yet two years later in 2012 Mr. Obama asked Mr. Clinton to deliver the president’s nominating speech at the Democratic Convention. Last fall Mr. Obama hosted a White House event to announce a campaign against campus sexual assaults called “It’s On Us.” Mr. Obama said “We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should.” He has also demanded a report from the Pentagon on sexual assault in the military, a report delivered this month. Yet when it comes to Bill Clinton and rape - Obama not only refuses to go there he actively celebrates Bill Clinton’s support and showcases that support for his re-election.

In the wake of the Rolling Stone’s now-discredited University of Virginia rape story, school president Teresa Sullivan suspended activities at fraternities and sororities, pending a discussion of “our next steps in preventing sexual assault and sexual violence.” There was no reaction from Sullivan to the participation by the school’s Miller Center at the 2014 celebration of the tenth anniversary of Mr. Clinton’s presidential library.

At Columbia University, much attention has been paid in the media to student Emma Sulkowicz, who charged a fellow student with rape only to have the school dismiss the case and allow the alleged rapist to remain at the school. Sulkowicz has been celebrated in the media for carrying a mattress with her everywhere she goes as a symbol of protest.

Perhaps Sulkowicz is on to something about Columbia’s tone deafness on rape. In 2006 Columbia hosted Bill Clinton to discuss the “Challenges of New Democracies.” Last fall  former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Conference, said of the pictures of Sulkowicz carrying her mattress: ”That image should haunt all of us, and I'm very pleased that President Obama is supporting a new effort to address sexual assault on campuses across the country.” This public reaction from Mrs. Clinton is considerably different from the private one ascribed to her by Broaddrick in a 2000 open letter that appeared as Clinton was seeking a New York Senate seat. Broaddrick accused Clinton of “warning” her to keep quiet about her rape story and has also said she was warned “to keep my mouth shut.” This year Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons accepted a large donation to fund the Hillary Rodham Clinton Professorship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.“We are delighted to be able to name this professorship for someone who has been a global champion for quality health care for women,” said a university official.

There are obvious if deeply uncomfortable questions here for liberal elites in - and out - of the media. Even when the former president gets scrutiny as he has recently for the conduct of the Clinton Foundation, why does the white Bill Clinton get a pass from the media on his rape allegation and the rest - while the black Bill Cosby gets punished for the same charge? And more disturbingly, why is Cosby is being punished by those who actively partner, campaign with or honor Clinton?

The fate of Michael Brown was compared by then-Attorney General Eric Holder to that of Emmett Till, the young black teenager who was murdered in 1955 Mississippi for a perceived sexual approach to a white woman.

If Bill Cosby did what he is alleged to have done, there is no defense. The Los Angeles police in fact have opened an investigation of the decades-old charges. 

But to say this is a double-standard in the treatment of Cosby and Clinton is to say the glaringly obvious. Is this because of race?  Is Bill Cosby a 21st century media celebrity version of Emmett Till? Suffering not physical death but professional media death because like Emmett Till he crossed the line of the old racist taboo about black men’s sexuality with white women? Whatever the reason for ruining the career of the black Bill Cosby while celebrating that of the white Bill Clinton,  if racial double standards, rape and sexual violence against women are as serious a problem as liberals in and out of the media insist, their silence about the targeting of Cosby but not Clinton is appalling if not self-evidently racist and misogynistic. 

Juanita Broaddrick shouldn’t have to carry a mattress around to make the point.