Over time, one learns that you can always count on MSNBC’s Hardball to produce baffling moments. Thursday was no exception as the show featured USA Today’s Susan Page bemoaning the “sad picture” of “effective” Democratic Senator Al Franken (Minn.) resigning from Congress while host Chris Matthews sneered that “[t]he new Republican age of consent is 14 if” Roy Moore “wins” in Alabama.
In a Thursday morning address on the Senate floor, Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken announced that he would step down from office as pressure mounted from his female colleagues. But he went down swinging, noting what he called “irony” in Donald Trump being president and Republican Roy Moore still running for Senate. ABC’s World News Tonight got his hint and spent more time harping on the “irony” than Franken’s resignation, while NBC Nightly News forgot to report he was a Democrat.
The front of Thursday’s New York Times anticipated today’s resignation by Sen. Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, over sexual harassment allegations, by working hard to make it a bipartisan scandal, and even allowing the Democratic Party to claim the "high ground," despite the fact that the two most prominent sitting congressmen under fire for harassment are Democrats (the other being veteran Michigan Rep. John Conyers).
So-called independent talk radio host and CNN host Michael Smerconish made a fool of himself on Thursday afternoon’s CNN Newsroom, arguing that he’s “not convinced” Democratic Senator Al Franken (Minn.) actually groped KABC Radio host Leeann Tweeden because “[t]here are shadows behind his fingers.”
Following Minnesota Senator Al Franken announcing his resignation on Thursday amid a series of sexual harassment allegations, CBS News special coverage of the lawmaker’s departure lamented what a “big blow” it was for the Democratic Party to lose someone with such a “nationwide progressive profile.” Anchor Bianna Golodryga even grieved “the end to a potentially storied career.”
While the world was clamoring for alleged sex harasser Al Franken to resign from the Senate on December 7th, Hollywood was at a loss as to how one of their own could be crashing. Just hours before Senator Franken told the Senate that he would resign, angry feminist and Trump resistor Rosie O’Donnell tweeted multiple times in support of the senator from Minnesota. The actress tweeted the hashtag #stayAl, and retweeted a Hill story speculating on Franken’s resignation, saying “I HOPE THIS IS FAKE NEWS.”
Democrats have taken two high-profile casualties this week in the war over sexual misconduct, while Republicans, at least for now, are unscathed. That state of affairs doesn’t sit well with Dahlia Lithwick, who worries about principled Dems putting themselves at a general competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis sleazy GOPers.
Veteran liberal journalists Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell on Thursday lamented the “rush to judgment” that forced Al Franken from the Senate. Despite the fact that eight women have now accused the Democrat of inappropriate or unwanted touching, Tom Brokaw mourned, “... There was on the part of the Democratic Party a determination and kind of a rush, if you will, to have the Senator resign so they didn't have the burden of trying to defend him .”
During NBC’s Wednesday special coverage of President Trump’s White House address, anchor Lester Holt also covered breaking news about a growing list of Democrats calling on Minnesota Senator Al Franken to resign amid sexual harassment allegations. Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd hoped the move would help the Democrats regain the “high ground” on the issue.
Both Republicans and Democrats have faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct, but in the month of November, ABC, CBS and NBC spent twice as much time telling viewers about the Republicans’ problems. Nearly two-thirds of this coverage (4 hours, 27 minutes) focused on Republican politicians, compared to 2 hours, 6 minutes spent on the Democrats, a greater than two-to-one disparity.
Near the end of Wednesday’s State of America on CNN International, the show published a head-scratching graphic that placed Republican Congressman Joe Barton (Tex.) alongside other political figures who, unlike Barton, have been accused of sexual misconduct. To make matters worse, CNN political commentator Angela Rye ripped into “white, liberal women” for supposedly forcing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to call for Democratic Congressman John Conyers (Mich.) to resign.
The English poet of the Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, is generally credited with coining the phrase that has been updated in modern English to read, "better late than never." It means to do something or to arrive later than expected may not be good, but it is better than not at all. That may not be true in the case of former President Bill Clinton's enablers and apologists for his sexual misdeeds before and after winning the White House.