Do I know for sure that Herman Cain is innocent of all the charges swirling around him at this moment? No, of course not. I wasn’t there to witness what really happened. Do I know that he is guilty of all these charges, or even one of them? No again. But as I ponder the media frenzy over these allegations—anonymous thus far and undocumented publicly—I seek truth. If Herman Cain is guilty, he should step aside; if he is innocent, he deserves our support in this trial by fire.
I do know this: his campaign didn’t handle the initial allegations well. They seemed to be caught off-guard without a solid response. Cain himself then did what I believe was a decent job of explaining the situation. Some have decided he changed his story on the settlement issue, but I can understand the difference in his mind between a legal settlement that required him to sign a confidentiality provision and a simple agreement for severance pay for an employee. Sometimes we make too much out of a minor semantic problem.
The other criticism I have of how the Cain people handled the controversy was the leap they took in blaming the Perry campaign for leaking the story to Politico. Again, as with the allegations against Cain, that could be the truth or it could not. The evidence for Perry’s people being involved is circumstantial; no direct evidence seems to exist. Cain and his team should not have rushed to judgment. By doing so, they put themselves in the same place as Jonathan Martin, the Politico reporter who “broke” this non-story.
I call it a non-story because it is somewhat like the wind—difficult to grasp due to lack of substance.
It sounded worse the other day when a conservative radio personality in Iowa said that Cain’s visit to his station made a couple of his female employees uncomfortable. Yesterday we learned what Cain had done. He had called one of the women “darling” while asking if she could make him a cup of tea. Horrors! Sexual harassment at its worst!
Has it really come to this? Is this what we now call sexual harassment?
Another internet outlet “broke” a story yesterday about a woman whom Cain pressured to come to his apartment and who woke up in his bed. It was all the buzz. Then came the retractions. No one actually saw them get into a taxi. She didn’t wake up in his bed. Etc., etc.
I think Andrew McCarthy at National Review has the right perspective on all of this. He starts off his commentary by stating he is not a staunch Cain supporter, but he is bristling over the lack of integrity in the media on this matter. He notes,
Politico’s initial story was woven out of insufficient evidence, anonymous sources, and vague allegations that—even if you construed every possible inference against Cain—would amount to an impropriety that outfits like Politico would find too trivial to cover like this if the culprit were a left-leaning Democrat.
McCarthy then researched Martin’s reporting on Obama, and here’s what he found:
I’m looking for any indication anywhere that Martin did any reporting like this to vet candidate Obama—Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Rezko . . . ? I’ve found a couple of pieces in which he suggests that raising Ayers and Rezko was unworthy, desperation politics; and I’ve found an item in which he attacked “Joe the Plumber” after he . . . elicited Obama’s damaging “spread the wealth” comment. But nothing so far that suggests Martin thought Obama should be scrutinized over the sorts of things he seems content to see Cain’s candidacy scuttled over.
The networks—CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC—have gone overboard in their coverage. They’re attempting to turn this into a scandal of Watergate proportions. Why? I believe they hate this candidate and fear he actually could defeat their true love—the current president.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, offered Cain some good advice on a news program last night. He said Cain should announce a press conference, make his denials as public and as strenuous as possible, and then fifteen minutes later, put his campaign back into high gear, focusing on the issues. Don’t allow this to drag on. Stop responding to all the bits and pieces that continue to drip, drip, drip out of what may euphemistically be called news organizations and get back to work.
As I write this, here are the facts up to the minute: no evidence has been brought forth other than anonymous accusations that Cain is guilty of anything remotely criminal or even disgusting. No legal action ever was taken against him for anything he did at the National Restaurant Association. We have accusations that are akin to wind, but their effect is to leave Mr. Cain twisting in that media wind.
I understand why some people are fed up with the political arena. And the media.