Skip to comments.What did Politico know and when did they know it?
Posted on 11/04/2011 10:58:38 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife
What did Politico know and when did they know it?
Last evening I sent a series of questions via Twitter to the 4 authors bylined on the Herman Cain sexual harassment story. And I did so because it occurred to me that one component of this story that no one seems to be asking about is what, exactly, did the Politico reporters know of any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements by which either/both Herman Cain and the two women cited anonymously in the Politico story were bound. So far, I havent received a single response.
Perhaps theres a reason for that. As a correspondent wrote me last night, what Politico knew and when they knew it wouldnt really change the fact of the putative story: Herman Cain was accused on two occasions of some form of harassment in the work place on one such occasion, according to the Politico story, the proximate cause for the sexual harassment complaint being a gesture that wasnt really sexual to begin with. And so my interlocutor wondered why it would matter what information the reporters had at their disposal? a stance quite possibly being adopted by the reporters themselves, which might explain their silence.
Well, that, and Im a nobody, so what business do I have bugging them with my little questions, anyway?
But heres why I think the questions I asked matter: if the Politico reporters knew Herman Cain was unable to comment on the cases and its possible, in some cases, that even acknowledging the existence of a confidentiality agreement is a violation of that agreement should they have disclosed that knowledge in the story?
This is not an idle question. Shortly after the story was published, some of the reporters started appearing on cable news shows, refusing to answer questions about any of the specifics of the complaints, and and this bit is crucial pointing the media toward Cain, suggesting that they approach him about the specifics.
And now, the media campaign aimed at Cain is fixated less on the crime even CNN ran a story acknowledging that such claims and settlements are oftentimes just the cost of doing business (Kurt Schlichter follows that up with a good New York Post column today detailing how these suits work) and more on a supposed concern over Herman Cains evolving story. The cover-up, you see, is worse than the crime and Cains responses, were told, have raised all sort of questions about his veracity.
The excuse the reporters gave for the thinness of the details they provided in their initial story was that they were concerned to protect the privacy of the women whose claims theyd anonymously referenced. Less concerned were they about Herman Cains reputation and good name and how this story may affect it not surprising, really, given that Politico reporters were involved in at least one iteration of Journolist (essentially, a cabal of liberal-left reporters who colluded together behind the scenes to determine the news cycle and to aid progressive causes and candidates, while hoping to delegitimate Republicans, conservatives, and the TEA Party). But surprising or not, the questions Im hoping to raise are still valid ones and redound to Politicos standard for professional ethics.
If the worry among the chattering classes is now focused on Herman Cains various awkward attempts to answer the questions the Politico story helped to raise specifically, how the evolution of Cains answers in various interviews are affecting public perception and creating a cloud of suspicion over both his campaign and his character it becomes important to know just how much of what has become the story was driven by the machinations of the Politico reporters themselves.
That is to say, if the reporters who worked on this story were aware in advance of publication that Herman Cain was constrained by a confidentiality agreement from answering the charges Politico was levying against him (and Im quite sure theyll respond by saying they were merely reporting earlier charges, not levying any charges against Mr Cain, but we all know better), should they not have disclosed this in the story itself particularly if they were going to follow up the storys publication by doing media appearances in which they explicitly told other members of the media to press Mr Cain for the specifics?
Or, to put it another way, how do the Politico reporters square their suggestion that Mr Cain be responsible for providing the specifics to a story they published, with their own knowledge of a confidentiality agreement that they knew would prevent Mr Cain from speaking.
Already, the new wrinkle to this story is that Cain may have violated the confidentiality agreement merely by attempting to answer questions from reporters demanding the specifics Politico reporters asserted it was incumbent upon Mr Cain to provide. In fact, Politico itself is now reporting, using one of the womens attorneys as their proxy, that Cain broke his confidentiality agreement even as the WaPo is complaining that Cain wont answer questions.
So the question is, how much of what were now seeing play out is a result of Politicos attempts to drive Cain into having to give answers to questions theyd raised but knew he wasnt legally permitted to answer? That is, how much of this story is a direct result of Politicos cynical attempt to box Cain in?
Why would Politico reporters tell members of the media to approach Herman Cain for the specifics without disclosing that Cain was legally prevented from any such disclosures including, possibly, the disclosure of any such legal agreement? Did they know of such an agreement and fail to alert readers and the media that Cains various deflections were not necessarily a component of any guilt, but rather a legal necessity about which these reporters were already aware?
Because if so, it is fair to conclude that the story itself coupled with the media appearances immediately following it by Politico reporters pointing reporters to Cain for a detailing of any specifics was designed as a Catch-22 for the candidate: to defend himself, hed have to break his confidentiality agreement; conversely, to maintain his confidentiality agreement would be to allow the anonymously-sourced story, left intentionally vague by the Politico reporters, to hover over his campaign unanswered for the duration.
It matters what the Politico reporters knew of a possible confidentiality agreement and when they knew it. Too, it matters what they knew of any dollar amounts from the settlements they reported on, because specific dollar amounts would have meant that experts in such settlements could have opined on what the settlement figures suggest both about how the complaints were handled internally, and about how common such settlements are in a generic sense in instances of harassment claims. Failure to disclose their knowledge of Cains legal conundrum while pushing other media members to press advantage from that conundrum they were privy to but never disclosed turns the reporters themselves into a very integral part of the story as it has developed. Failure to disclose settlement amounts, if they knew of them, is a bit of omission bias that they must have known could have she additional light on the nature of the claims upon which theyd chosen to report.
So let me ask directly, once again, the following questions of the 4 Politico reporters: 1) Did you know of a confidentiality agreement when you published your initial story? 2) Did you know Mr Cain would be unable to comment on the particulars you left out? 3) Did you know of the actual settlement numbers when you went to press? 4) Did you ever actually speak to either of the women for the piece?
If we allow these questions to go unanswered, the very kind of journalism that is driving this storys trajectory itself hardly new will be practiced upon conservative candidates again and again and again.
Most disappointing of all, at least to me, has been watching conservatives help Politico along, so desperate are they to appear fair, some of them never even recognizing how complicit they are in their own political impotence.
**** note: if you think these questions worthwhile, I ask that you link this post, or post links to this post on message boards and throughout social network sites. As I mentioned in the opening, so far I havent gotten a single response from any of the reporters involved. And I wont, unless they are pressured to answer.
**** update: So Im clear here, Cains guilt or innocence is not whats important with respect to any critique of the reporting involved. Plenty of intrigue concerning the question of Cains behavior is already taking root without my piling on fertilizer.
I always wondered if the weapons of mass destruction argument against Bush was a more serious version of this. What if Bush had a reason he could not disclose the existence of such weapons and the Democrats knew this.
The time has long passed when the conservative movement needed an organization with big bucks dedicated to the specific purpose of destroying anyone who launches this kind of smear. Forget about defense; go on the offense and do not let up until the enemy is crushed.How about you, Donald Trump? Find out who is behind this crime, and make an example of them.
Since there is a whole list out there, and even in a book of all the wmd's found in Iraq...The only thing wrong with the press mantra of no wmd's found in Iraq was the press's lies about the subject.
I think that is exactly what happened.
I distinctly remember articles about mustard gas being found in Iraq.
I remember articles about weapons being moved to Syria, before the war started.
I think the US had definitive proof about the weapons but there was “actionable intelligence” that they had to hold back because it would have compromised intelligence or security in another area.
Because it does not make sense to me that GWBush goes on television in interviews during the past two years and says, “There were no WMD.” when I remember that there were WMD. I remember feeling reassured and “right” about the war back in 2003.
To say that there were no WMD today, is collective cognitive dissonance.
Bush takes that hit for some HUGE REASON. He takes it, knowing that history will paint him negatively. There is something that he knows that we don’t.
And he must think it is worth it.
Trump was on Susteren’s program the other night.
He said that when the time is right, Cain should turn around and sue these women.
That surprised me.
POLITICO learned of the allegations against him, and over the course of several weeks, has put together accounts of what happened by talking to a lengthy roster of former board members, current and past staff and others familiar with the workings of the trade group at the time Cain was there.
In one case, POLITICO has seen documentation describing the allegations and showing that the restaurant association formally resolved the matter. Both women received separation packages that were in the five-figure range.Apparently, the POLITICO reporters saw one woman's complaint and the legal settlement agreement. It is not unreasonable to conclude from the above snippet in the original story that they knew whether or not Cain was bound to confidentiality under the terms of the settlement.
Just to make sure...
This isn’t mine. I copied it from the link.
I think the questions are very good, though.
Someone tipped Politico to look at the NRA.
Maybe he’s just gentlemanly enough that regardless of the media hit job he thinks the woman has the right to her privacy. So far it’s only the lawyer that says she wants to come forward. She says she doesn’t want to. I’m not sure she had anything to do with it leaking either. And if she was as young as everyone says, she’s probably older and wiser now and understands what real sexual harassment is.
That's the problem. "When the time is right," Cain's candidacy will have been destroyed, and there will not be enough money in his campaign funds to pursue a lawsuit. The enemy knows this. Decades ago, the Left realized a need to infiltrate the scumbag legal profession and use it to achieve "social justice" (i.e. communism). The conservative movement does not realize this. They need to quit being "nice," "playing fair," and hoping for the best. This is war, and all's fair in war. Conservatives are dumb to appear on Leftist programs like The View, or the various Sunday morning ambush programs. Be on the attack, always. They bring a knife; you bring a gun.
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