The New York Times proclaimed the results of its six-week "investigation" of Donald Trump's behavior with women on the front page of the Sunday paper. It discovered that Trump is kind of sleazy around women. The Times wants us to know this right now -- as opposed to six months ago -- when it's clear he will be the Republican nominee running against Hillary Clinton.
No Republican is surprised. The New York Times' shameless partisanship knows no bounds.
When Juanita Broaddrick accused President Bill Clinton of sexual assault in February 1999, the Times was not impressed. It never found her story worth publicizing. Times reporters were first told about Broaddrick's allegation near the end of the 1992 presidential campaign, but they regarded it as partisan "toxic waste."
After former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey accused Clinton of sexually harassing her in the Oval Office, columnist Frank Rich criticized her in a column titled "The Liars' Club."
This is the paper where feminist columnist Anna Quindlen dismissed Paula Jones' sexual harassment case compared to Anita Hill's. She said there was "no reason to let right-wing activists, no friends to either the President, women, or the issue of sexual harassment, shame us into foolish lock step."
This is the paper that published columns written by Hill and journalist Gloria Steinem during the Lewinsky scandal, in which they shredded feminism in defense of President Clinton.
As for toxic waste, this is the paper that proudly put columnist Maureen Dowd on the front page on April 7, 1991, as she slimed President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan when discussing biographer Kitty Kelley's uber-sleazy and uber-unsubstantiated tabloid tales. "The new biography also offers sensational claims that the Reagans practiced a morality very different from what they preached. ...that both the Reagans had extramarital affairs, and that Mrs. Reagan had a long-term affair with Frank Sinatra."
Proof? Who needs proof? The fact that Bantam Books was able to publish Kelley's book without being sued was all the proof this rag required.
Now Trump is being accused of behavior much less severe than that of Clinton with Jones, or Willey or Broaddrick. Keep all the Clinton-defending in mind.
On May 14, Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey sneered in print: "Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed."
They began with an account from model Rowanne Brewer Lane, where she described how Trump asked her to put on a swimsuit at a Mar-a-Lago party in 1990. Barbaro and Twohey reacted: "But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters."
The story quickly blew up in their faces. Brewer Lane appeared on Fox News and CNN, trashing the Times' account as a manipulation of her words. She told them Trump was a gentleman (not "debasing") and that she had told the Times she didn't want her story to be a hit piece. CNN told the Times reporters, "Rowanne has asked for an apology. What do you say?" Barbaro refused to give any ground: "I think we really stand by our story. We believe we quoted her fairly and accurately, and that the story really speaks for itself."
Yes, it does.
It's safe to say that Trump is no one's idea of Mr. Manners. His rudeness toward women was summarized by Fox's Megyn Kelly at the first GOP debate. And the way Trump treated her afterward underlined it. But The New York Times now has no right whatsoever to pass judgment on presidential candidates and their treatment of women.