The Huffington Post sinks to a new low in its DSK coverage.
In the media business, the pressure for commentators to gain attention is both immense and fundamentally unfair. Working in an atmosphere where web traffic rules supreme and byline-building is a contact sport, commentators are routinely pushed to make the boldest possible pronouncements on hot-button issues.
The folks at the Huffington Post know this game full well. Almost every day, the Post’s bloggers obscure political issues with their sanctimonious personal confessions — ones that would seem right at home in an undergraduate creative writing seminar (next up at the HuffPo Word Slam: Rich Rose will read from his bold personal essay “Why I Accept Trans People”).
HuffPo blogger Eve Ensler — an undergraduate-level playwright responsible for The Vagina Monologues — sank to a new low in her August 26 “V-Report” column for Huffington on the aftermath of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s dismissal on rape charges. “The day DSK was dismissed I sent this out via Twitter:” opens Ensler, “‘I am so OVER women being put on trial when they get raped.’”
Instead of discussing the facts of the DSK case, Ensler sticks to her personal narrative, laying out a series of anecdotes like a presidential debater trying for populist appeal:
Within seconds, emails, tweets and Facebook responses began to pour in. Women sent me stories about cases reported and unreported. One woman pressed charges against a younger male student who stalked and attempted to rape her at Seminary school. She wrote to the Dean and a church district Superintendent. She was told no one could help her… A 12-year-old in Missouri is for reporting a rape and forced to write a written apology to the boy who raped her and deliver it personally. She is accused of filing a fake report and thrown out of school.
After needlessly associating Strauss-Kahn’s three-letter nickname with incidents that occurred many miles from his Manhattan hotel, Ensler goes even broader: “What happens to women who come forward to press charges against rape and battery? They are often told it’s because of the way they were dressed, they wanted it, they are making it up. Their own histories are put on trial.”
So naturally Ensler doesn’t mention the history of DSK’s accuser Nafissatou Diallo. She doesn’t mention that Diallo “contradicted key details of her original story, ultimately providing investigators with at least three versions” or that Diallo admitted to lying about a previous alleged rape. Nor does Ensler mention how important Diallo’s history proved to DSK’s dismissal. “The nature and number of [Ms. Diallo’s] falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whatever the truth may be about the encounter,” wrote the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. “If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so.”
Perhaps Ensler is so OVER our constitutionally protected right to a fair trial? Should every rape accuser instantly see vindicated in a court of law, no matter how many times she has lied to authorities? Does Diallo automatically then deserve a payday in her related civil suit against multi-millionaire Strauss-Kahn?
Instead of addressing these concerns, Ensler builds up to her shameful and negligent crescendo.
Here’s where I pause and consider another media phenomenon: the cannibalistic practice of monitoring our peers’ articles and throwaway blog posts on the off-chance that they cross some kind of P.C. line. The Huffington Post is one of the loudest policers of the free speech of those falling outside their trust-funders-with-problems genre. So, lest I be run out of media on a rail, I proceed with caution.
Ensler ends her piece emphatically with a personal anecdote. She ties it to the completely unrelated DSK case as though her personal experience validates some kind of point about Strauss-Kahn:
Let the DSK dismissal be our call to rise. Something has shifted with this case, let’s seize this moment. Let so many of us speak out that it’s a landslide and it turns the tide and the courts and the method of justice.
So, I’ll go first:
My father regularly beat me senseless and sexually abused me. He gave me bloody noses in restaurants and smashed my head against walls and whipped my legs with belts. There was no one to turn to. I am reporting it here and now. He has passed on, but I want it on the record.
This is the point in the seminar where we’re all supposed to nod our heads hiply and feel enlightened for having heard that (organic snacks and Kombucha are on the table, help yourselves).
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online