From the breaking news, one might think that with a woman who claims she had a 13-year affair with presidential candidate Herman Cain, someone is being seriously exposed as a hypocrite. That would be the press. The media can't deny they continue to display a lousy double standard. For Republican candidates, scandalous news is instant. For Democrats, it's eventual, if at all!
Ginger White's charges sound a lot like Gennifer Flowers in 1992, when she said she had a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton. So many in the press pounce on Flowers as unequivocal evidence of the media's sense of balance. After all, they will remind us, just look how we covered that scandal!
Yes, look. It's a wonderful exercise in media disinformation. Political junkies will recall that Flowers held a (SET ITAL) press conference (END ITAL) carried live on CNN on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23, 1992. It had all the elements for snappy news. She played audiotapes of phone conversations with Clinton. Despite all this, the first network mention was a short story by NBCs Lisa Myers, more than 24 hours later. Other than that, the three broadcast network morning and evening newscasts waited to breathe the name "Flowers" for four days.
And then they dismissed the scandal as a non-scandal. On ABC, anchorman Peter Jennings (who was married four times) set the tone: "At several stops today, talking about Gennifer Flowers, Gov. Clinton denounced what he called 'trash for cash'. And there appear to be quite a few people who agree." Jennings declared a quick ABC poll found only 26 percent wouldn't vote for an adulterous candidate. "But our polling unit points out that at least half of those people who said no are Republicans and unlikely to vote for Gov. Clinton anyway."
The networks rewarded Clinton with all this tolerance because, as liberal journalist Hendrik Hertzberg explained, at the time, reporters loved Clinton's potential: "(T) hey think he would make a very good, perhaps a great, president. Several told me they were convinced that Clinton is the most talented presidential candidate they have ever encountered, JFK included."
Herman Cain is the polar opposite of Bill Clinton to these people. Political reporters consider him an under-educated buffoon and, as a black conservative, possibly self-loathing to boot. So there are no reasons to delay adultery charges. In fact, they should be rushed on the air, followed by sneering political death notices.
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