“All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”
.. Their reward for this public-spirited bravery?
To be smeared as liars.
To be the objects of vicious criticism about their private lives — their marriages, divorces, and bankruptcies.
.. This incident happened almost 40 years ago, goes the outraged refrain. Why are these women only coming forward now?.. Here’s a better question: Why would any other woman, seeing what’s happened in the past week, ever come forward again?“This is exactly why women wait 40 years,” said Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who sued her longtime boss, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment... “It’s weaponizing the fear and shame of sexual-assault victims against themselves,” wrote Seth Mandel, an opinion editor at the conservative New York Post. Even for Breitbart, he said, “this is some low stuff.”.. What did the Breitbart reporters find in Alabama? Virtually nothing, but that didn’t keep the media company (headed by former Trump strategist, perpetual bombthrower and Moore-booster Stephen K. Bannon) from publishing screaming headlines.. “She did not go to them — they called her,” Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, told Breitbart... We were meant to recoil in horror, I guess, at how Post journalists committed treasonous acts of journalism. Yes, they persuaded their sources to go on the record, sometimes by making the case that there is a greater good to be served.“Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.”.. Fox News’s Sean Hannity brought the network’s legal analyst, Mercedes Colwin, on his show to blast women who accuse powerful men, saying that they mostly do it for the money... Then, bringing the trashing full circle, Breitbart offered the Sinclair-owned station a megaphone with this headline: “Alabama ABC Affiliate Can’t Find One Voter Who Believes WaPo Report about Roy Moore in Man-on-the-Street Segment.” (Speaking of journalism basics, it’s almost always pointless to stick a microphone in front of random people who often have only heard the general outlines of a developing story.).. Of course, it’s not The Post’s credibility that’s really under attack here. It’s that of the women themselves, who had the courage to be named, quoted and shown in photographs.
Here’s the problem: people were willing to talk about what they knew, but nobody was willing to go on the record, or provide documents to back up their claims. Even though I heard the same kinds of stories repeatedly from reputable sources — most of them priests — not a soul dared to put his name to the accusations. This man was too powerful. At least two prominent laymen who knew about this, but who weren’t under his authority (they did not work for him), would not go on the record about it. One of the men gave no reason; the other said it was to protect the church. This was 2002, if that tells you anything.
.. Unless people were willing to make their accusations public, or disclose court documents, my hands were tied. From a journalistic point of view, until and unless that happened, the stories were just gossip. This story burned me up, especially when I would see this old lecher on television pretending to be so heartbroken about the abuse of children. He was a fraud. Lots of people had personal knowledge of the kind of fraud he was. But nobody said a word publicly. The story was never told.