The national press also showed a remarkable double standard on the Ryan story and betrayed their political activism. NBC's Tom Brokaw would not allow any story on Clinton rape allegations to soil his newscast, and he wouldn't even say the name "Juanita Broaddrick" on his show. But Brokaw was perfectly happy to introduce the Jack Ryan story on June 23, with reporter Kevin Tibbles leaning heavily on the juiciest allegations (he wanted to take the wife to "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling") and calls for Ryan to quit from Republicans and newspapers alike.
The double standards really sting when elections are on the line. In October 1992, when Illinois Senate candidate Carol Moseley Braun was closing in on her victory, NBC reporters sat on her potentially damaging scandal, as the New Republic reported in 1993. Reporter Paul Hogan of NBC-owned Chicago station WMAQ obtained a letter from Moseley Braun to her mother suggesting she was trying to defraud Illinois Medicaid authorities. Since the candidate knew Hogan was on to something, she would not answer his questions, so NBC reporter Bob Kur asked, and she did not deny writing the letter.
The New Republic reported that her campaign manager, Gerald Austin, talked Hogan out of reporting the story, pleading he would destroy the woman, and more importantly, the liberal cause: "If you go with the story, she loses, and you're responsible for denying the first African-American woman the chance to go to the U.S. Senate." Austin feared she'd be indicted, not elected. Hogan spiked it, and so did Kur and NBC. Anyone who watched NBC's enthusiasm to air the Jack Ryan story to push Ryan out of the race and clear the way for another black Democratic Senator, candidate Barack Obama, can see the liberal activism surging into the headlines again.
In the end, no Republican wanted to have a Jack Ryan to defend. No one wanted to sound like Clintonistas excusing reckless libidos. But the Ryan case showed once again that our largest media outlets don't believe in balance or fairness. They don't believe in getting to the bottom of each and every sexual allegation, even rape charges. They believe in winning.
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