There have been a number of media pieces touching on Bill Clinton's history of sexual assault. Some, like Catlin Flanagan's Atlantic piece have been good. And then there's Michelle Goldberg's New York Times piece.
And that's almost as terrible as the Gloria Steineim defense of Bill Clinton in the New York Times, the one that Flanagan and I both cited.
Why are conservatives passing around the Goldberg piece? Because they haven't read past the title, "I Believe Juanita". Or the first two paragraphs.
Goldberg is a former Nation hack and passionate Hillary Clinton supporter. The piece is pure bait and switch. And it's quite revealing about how the left really thinks.
Michelle Goldberg cynically revisits the old Clinton cartel attacks on Bill's accusers. It's the same stuff as Steinem's smears. Even Sidney Blumenthal gets a name check. Goldberg even invokes the vast right-wing conspiracy.
The larger theme is that "believing women" is dangerous because lefties rape too. Or, as the convenient Clinton rationalization has always been, the vast right wing conspiracy will launch false accusations.
Writing at Crooked, Brian Beutler warns that in future elections, right-wing propaganda will exploit the progressive commitment to always taking sexual abuse charges seriously. It’s easy to imagine an outlet like Breitbart leveraging the “believe women” rallying cry to force mainstream media coverage of dubious accusations.
Why would Crooked be worried about such accusations? Considering Crooked's position deep in the Dem machine, you know they know something. And there's some politician they're protecting.
And so there needs to be preemptive damage control.
"Looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to “believe women” as absolute.," Michelle Goldberg writes. "The Clinton years, in which epistemological warfare emerged as a key part of the Republican political arsenal, show us why we should be wary of allegations that bubble up from the right-wing press."
Believe women should largely be limited to women whose accusations come from the left-wing press and target Republicans. Not women whose accusations come from the right-wing press and target Democrats.
Here's the whole cynical ethos of the Dems and their concern trolling laid absolutely bare.
"Believe women" can only function when those women are on our political side. Believing women from the other side is dangerous. Our media should be trusts. Theirs shouldn't be. Their women can't be trusted. Ours can.
This is pure political tribalism. And it makes a mockery of the left's pretense to be turning over a new leaf. This is the same old Clinton coverup.
It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribalism that led liberals to doubt her. Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us.
If "the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground" then why should anyone believe the media?
It is hard to detect what is true in a blizzard of lies. And Michelle Goldberg comes closest to being honest about the reasons for the left's double standard. Even as she remains dishonest about the standard.
It's pure political calculation.
Believe women. Unless they're accusing Democrats.
If they are, try to poke holes in their story. If you can't, do what you can to find excuses for the accused. If you can't, wait a few decades until the accused is no longer running for public office to belatedly admit that maybe they shouldn't run for public office anymore.
It's a shameful piece from a shameful paper. And conservatives shouldn't be praising it. They should be exposing it.