Americans who don’t live in Nebraska have probably never heard of Democratic Senate candidate Chris Janicek.
And judging by the mainstream media’s coverage in the hotly contested election year of 2020, it’s a good chance they never will.
But the reason for that says more about the mainstream media than it does about the Janicek campaign or the vile text message the candidate allegedly sent about a now-former female staffer.
According to multiple news accounts that likely won’t be getting in-depth treatment on prime time television any time soon, Janicek is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate — a candidate so flawed his own party wants him to withdraw from the ticket.
That’s because, according to The New York Times, Janicek used a June 4 group text conversation with campaign staffers to describe a disagreement he’d had with the then-staffer, then posed a question that every American would have heard by now, if Janicek was a Republican, of course.
In extraordinarily vulgar terms, Janicek asked if the campaign should spend money on providing the woman with a sexual encounter, noting “it will probably take three guys,” The Times reported (on page 20-A of the print edition, according to the online article).
According to The Times, Janicek “then described in explicit terms what he wanted the men to do to her” and asked “Thoughts?”
The development was first reported publicly by The Tulsa World on Tuesday — 12 days after the text messages — after the Democratic state executive committee voted Monday to deprive Janicek’s campaign of any party funding for his already longshot effort to unseat GOP incumbent Sen. Ben Sasse.
Apparently, no one is buying the odd Janicek argument – which he gave to CNN — that he couldn’t be guilty of sexually harassing a woman because, you see, he’s homosexual.
“I’m an openly gay man running for Senate against Ben Sasse, so it was not sexual harassment, it was something that had been discussed between her and a girlfriend,” Janicek told CNN Tuesday in one of the more bizarre defenses in American politics.
Here is Janicek in a May interview explaining why he thinks he should be in the Senate.
That sounds like it all came right out of the Democratic handbook — but now Democratic officialdom in Nebraska wants Janicek gone.
“Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment,” state party chairwoman Jane Kleeb said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Our party will not extend resources or any type of support to any candidate that violates our code of conduct and doesn’t treat men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
That’s a marvelous thing to hear from a Democratic apparatchik, considering the Democrats’ sordid legacy of ignoring women who’ve accused bigger named Democrats than Janicek of much, much worse. (The stories of Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones come to mind, with their accusations the former President Bill Clinton raped or sexually assaulted them.)
But the Janicek comments are recorded on text messages, and, it’s worth pointing out, Democrats had little chance of winning a Senate seat in solidly red Nebraska anyway, no matter how much they dislike a pro-life conservative like Sasse.
But what’s really missing is the mainstream media broadcast and cable coverage that would have accompanied this story if it had been a Republican candidate, even one seeking to unseat a safe Democratic senator like, say, Chuck Schumer in New York.
Sure, The Associated Press covered it. And CNN and The New York Times have already given the topic more coverage than they initially gave the accusations of Tara Reade, who claimed that then-Sen. Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her in the Capitol in 1993.
(When it comes to truly big-name Democrats like Biden, who sewed up the number of delegates needed to win the party’s nomination with his June 6 primary victory in Guam, of all places, the media is shamelessly protective when it comes to sexual allegations.)
But a search of the mainstream media networks finds coverage of the story sorely lacking.
NBC News covered the story as part of a roundup of political news relying on the Tulsa World’s report. ABC News used the AP report. As of Wednesday afternoon, CBS News hadn’t appeared to cover the story at all.
Even a casual watcher of American media knows that any Republican who said what Janicek said, the way Janicek said it, would have been plastered all over the nation’s living rooms by now.
As of Wednesday, Janicek was still in the race, which means Americans aren’t likely to hear much more about him, or the Nebraska Senate race, between now and Election Day.
However, the deadline for him to withdraw and the party to name a replacement candidate is Sept. 1, the AP reported.
If that happens, the mainstream media can resume its regularly scheduled broadcasting of boosting Democratic candidates even when they’re running in hostile territory like Nebraska.
And Americans who get their news from broadcast media will likely hear all about it.
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