So if you were ever wondering why there’s enmity between CNN and the Trump administration, consider this:
On that network Sunday morning, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announced that she was a victim of sexual assault and it took less than a minute for “State of the Union” anchor Jake Tapper to use it as a political point against her.
During the interview with Tapper, a visibly emotional Conway announced, “I’m a victim of sexual assault. I don’t need Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
Conway then went on to attack CNN for comparing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to Bill Cosby, saying that “those comparisons on your network are a disgrace and the anchor should have called them out.” (To the surprise of none of our readers, I’m sure, the anchor who made that rebarbative comparison was Don Lemon.)
“This is not even Bill Clinton,” Conway continued.
“You have Senate Judiciary Committee members who refused to remove Bill Clinton from office after he received oral sex in the Oval Office and lied about it to a grand jury as president of the United States. The hypocrisy is ridiculous, and if not one Senate Judiciary Committee member changes his or her vote because of what they learned from the FBI investigation, that tells you all you need to know about what the president and Judge Kavanaugh have said is a sham.”
Okay, so a heated debate, granted. Still, one would fully expect Jake Tapper to handle this in a dignified manner. Or use the sexual assault against her, one of the two.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard you talk about something personal like that and I’m really sorry,” Tapper began. “But you work for a president who says all the women who have accused him are lying, there have been a number of people–“
“And don’t conflate that with this, and certainly don’t conflate it with what happened to me,” Conway shot back.
You would think that would have been a sign to Tapper that this exchange was inappropriate, but, well, nope.
“President Trump has said his personal experiences have informed his view of this, that’s the only reason I’m bringing that up,” Tapper continued.
“He’s said, yes, it informed how I looked at it because I’ve had so many false allegations against me, that’s what he’s said. So my question is, as a survivor of this — and again, I’m deeply, personally, very sorry about whatever pain you’ve gone through — but does that not make you think, when you hear somebody like Professor Ford or other people make allegations, does that not make you think, these women need to be heard, and even if there are not corroborating witnesses, that is not … absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
Conway was relatively calm in her answer, pointing out women do deserve to be heard and lambasting the fact that politics now determines how we treat either alleged victims or perpetrators.
My reaction would have been somewhat stronger:
This took less than a minute to devolve into a conversation where the subtext is, “How could you possibly work for someone who’s been accused of sexual misconduct?” That’s probably not something considered befitting an anchor anywhere, even CNN.
But such is the nature of the political mob — something that Conway pointed out.
“This is Judge Kavanaugh now,” she said. “It could be anybody by next week. Respectfully, it could be any man in any position now.”
Yes, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, but it is evidence that careers and lives shouldn’t be destroyed when the evidence is absent. The media has turned ravenous over this, so much so they’re even willing to use a sexual assault victim’s own experience against her.
Evidence isn’t the only thing absent here, given that shame seems to be in woefully short supply, as well.
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