Today’s Fox prime-time lineup preaches paranoia, attacking processes and institutions vital to our republic and challenging the rule of law.
.. I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” In moral and ethical terms, that oath never expires. As Fox’s assault on our constitutional order intensified, spearheaded by its after-dinner demagogues, I had no choice but to leave.
.. I increasingly was blocked from speaking on the issues about which I could offer real expertise: Russian affairs and our intelligence community. I did not hide my views at Fox and, as word spread that I would not unswervingly support President Trump and, worse, that I believed an investigation into Russian interference was essential to our national security, I was excluded from segments that touched on Vladimir Putin’s possible influence on an American president, his campaign or his administration.
.. I was the one person on the Fox payroll who, trained in Russian studies and the Russian language, had been face to face with Russian intelligence officers in the Kremlin and in far-flung provinces. I have traveled widely in and written extensively about the region. Yet I could only rarely and briefly comment on the paramount security question of our time: whether Putin and his security services ensnared the man who would become our president.
.. Trump’s behavior patterns and evident weaknesses (financial entanglements, lack of self-control and sense of sexual entitlement) would have made him an ideal blackmail target — and the Russian security apparatus plays a long game.
.. Fox never tried to put words in my mouth, nor was I told explicitly that I was taboo on Trump-Putin matters. I simply was no longer called on for topics central to my expertise. I was relegated to Groundhog Day analysis of North Korea and the Middle East, or to Russia-related news that didn’t touch the administration. Listening to political hacks with no knowledge of things Russian tell the vast Fox audience that the special counsel’s investigation was a “witch hunt,” while I could not respond, became too much to bear. There is indeed a witch hunt, and it’s led by Fox against Robert Mueller.
.. I must stress that there are many honorable and talented professionals at the Fox channels, superb reporters, some gutsy hosts, and adept technicians and staff. But Trump idolaters and the merrily hypocritical prime-time hosts are destroying the network — no matter how profitable it may remain
Tax cuts. Deregulation. More for the military; less for the United Nations. The Islamic State crushed in its heartland. Assad hit with cruise missiles. Troops to Afghanistan. Arms for Ukraine. A tougher approach to North Korea. Jerusalem recognized as Israel’s capital. The Iran deal decertified. Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned. Yes to Keystone. No to Paris. Wall Street roaring and consumer confidence high.
And, of course, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. What, for a conservative, is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?
.. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
.. And want to preserve your own republican institutions? Then pay attention to the character of your leaders, the culture of governance and the political health of the public. It matters a lot more than lowering the top marginal income tax rate by a couple of percentage points.
.. Or maybe you regret the failure to repeal Obamacare. But that had something to do with the grotesque insults Trump lobbed at John McCain, the man whose “nay” vote sank repeal... Look at every other administration embarrassment (Scaramucci) or failure (the wall, and Mexico paying for it) or disgrace (the Charlottesville equivocation). Responsibility invariably lies with the president’s intemperance and dishonesty. That puts Republican control of Congress in play. It also risks permanently alienating a millennial generation for which the G.O.P. will forever be the party of the child-molesting sore loser and the president who endorsed him... Now look at the culture of governance. Trump demands testimonials from his cabinet, servility from Republican politicians and worship from conservative media. To serve in this White House isn’t to be elevated to public service. It’s to be debased into toadyism, which probably explains the record-setting staff turnover of 34 percent.. In place of presidential addresses, stump speeches or town halls, we have Trump’s demagogic mass rallies. In place of the usual jousting between the administration and the press, we have a president who fantasizes on Twitter about physically assaulting CNN. In place of a president who defends the honor and integrity of his own officers and agencies, we have one who humiliates his attorney general, denigrates the F.B.I. and compares our intelligence agencies to the Gestapo.
Trump is normalizing all this; he is, to borrow another Moynihan phrase, “defining deviancy down.” A president who supposedly wants to put a wall between the U.S. and Latin America has imported a style of politics reminiscent of the cults of Juan Perón and Hugo Chávez.
.. Trump is empowering a conservative political culture that celebrates everything that patriotic Americans should fear: the cult of strength, open disdain for truthfulness, violent contempt for the Fourth Estate, hostility toward high culture and other types of “elitism,” a penchant for conspiracy theories and, most dangerously, white-identity politics.
.. People who have known both Weinsteins say they had a complicated relationship dating back to childhood that often involved Harvey belittling Bob, who frequently sought his older brother’s approval. As Bob’s Dimension unit became successful, he “became more confident and he’d stand up to Harvey more,” said a former Miramax executive.
.. Bob Weinstein was less likely than his brother to blow his top, people who worked with the pair said.
.. At the 2000 premiere of “Scary Movie,” a Dimension executive attempted to introduce his wife to his boss. Bob Weinstein stuck out his arm and shoved the woman back
.. As Weinstein Co. has fallen apart in the past two weeks, some former employees have sought to distance themselves from Bob as much as Harvey. Others say Bob Weinstein had a softer side that only people who worked closely with him got to know.
.. “Bob was a tough taskmaster and a challenging boss, but also humane, with a great sense of humor,
.. Bob and Harvey Weinstein feuded on-and-off for many years, said people who worked with them. During one period around 2003, the two communicated only through handwritten notes, which assistants passed between them, according to a former employee. “It was literally an equivalent of a father saying, ‘Please tell your mother to pass the salt’,” the former employee said.
.. Their offices, once next door to one another, moved farther apart—first to separate floors and then to different buildings in Weinstein Co.’s Manhattan headquarters. In recent years, their families have rarely gotten together for holidays or other occasions outside of work, said one person familiar with the matter.
.. In about 2011, after an argument over how to allocate the studio’s resources between their respective movies, Harvey Weinstein punched his brother in the face in front of about a dozen other Weinstein Co. executives, knocking him to the ground, said two people who were present. “I’ve been assaulted!” Bob yelled, according to those people. Bob, who was bloodied, wanted to press charges, but was talked out of it, according to a person familiar with the incident.
.. “He had the pulse of what Americans wanted at one time,” said a former Dimension executive. “Can you get that back?”
The legal and administrative response to campus rape over the past five years has been a kind of judicial and bureaucratic madness, a cautionary tale about how swiftly moral outrage and political pressure can lead to kangaroo courts and star chambers
.. It’s also a cautionary tale with specific implications for cultural liberalism, because it demonstrates how easily an ideology founded on the pursuit of perfect personal freedom can end up generating a new kind of police state, how quickly the rule of pleasure gives way to the rule of secret tribunals and Title IX administrators (of which Harvard, Yoffe notes in passing, now has 55 on staff), and how making libertinism safe for consenting semi-adults requires the evacuation of due process.
.. Rape and sexual assault are age-old problems. But the particular problem on college campuses these days is a relatively new one. For ideological reasons, the modern liberal campus rejects all the old ways in which a large population of hormonal young people once would have had their impulses channeled and restrained — single-sex dorms, “parietal” rules for male-female contact late at night, a general code emphasizing sexual restraint. Meanwhile for commercial reasons as well as liberationist ones, many colleges compete for students (especially the well-heeled, full-tuition-paying sort) by winkingly promising them not just a lack of adult supervision but a culture of constant partying, an outright bacchanal.
.. both parties are frequently hammered because their entire social scene is organized around drinking your way to the loss of inhibitions required for hooking up. It’s a social world, just as anti-rape activists and feminists have argued, that offers an excellent hunting ground for predators and a realm where far too many straightforward assaults take place. But it’s also a zone in which it is very hard for anyone — including the young women and young men involved — to figure out what distinguishes a real assault from a bad or gross or swiftly regretted consensual encounter.
.. many colleges shamefully loath to deal with rape accusations at all. But once that reluctance became a public scandal, the political and administrative response was not to rethink the libertinism, but to expand the definition of assault, abandon anything resembling due process and build a system all-but-guaranteed to frequently expel and discipline the innocent.
.. a system designed to assume the guilt of the accused has clearly encouraged dubious charges and clouds of suspicion and pre-emptive penalties unjustly applied.
.. a not-much-talked-about truth that minority students seem to be accused of rape well out of proportion to their numbers on campus. So setting out to strengthen women’s power relative to men has created a cycle of accusation and punishment whose injustices probably fall disproportionately on black men.
.. Offering young men broad sexual license regulated only by a manifestly unfair disciplinary system imbued with the rhetoric of feminism seems more likely to encourage a toxic male persecution complex, a misogynistic masculine reaction, than any renewed moral conservatism or rediscovered chivalry.