November 7, 2011
Cain Accuser's Modified Limited HangoutBy Mark J. Fitzgibbons
The liberal media's coverage of news reminds me of a school of fish. It moves as one, and even when it darts in a direction off course, it does so in unison.
For instance, do two searches using one phrase, "Cain accuser" and another, "Solyndra subpoena." There's no real diversity in the questions being raised or the reporting. Intellectually, it's vacuous and boring.
The meme with the Cain accuser story is that the anonymous accuser has more credibility than Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The charges leveled by the accuser against Cain may have been false, inflated or even extortive, but that is of little consequence to the story.
Speaking through her lawyer and making inconsistent claims for her privacy, the Cain accuser may have already violated the confidentiality of the nondisclosure agreement she signed with the National Restaurant Association by making statements about its existence and some of its contents.
It has been verified that Herman Cain was not a party to the nondisclosure agreement. He is not bound by its confidentiality provisions. He did not breach the agreement by addressing it; his accuser may have.
The Cain accuser, through her lawyer, stoked the controversy by claiming Cain's version of events is not true. Publicly rejecting Cain's claim that he did nothing wrong may be accurate. On the other hand, it may have been done to raise the price for her story. It even raises the specter that she is the original source of the story broken by Politico.
Friday, after the National Restaurant Association released the Cain accuser from the confidentiality of the nondisclosure agreement, her lawyer issued a statement that "She and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately." (emphasis added)
After anonymously stoking the story for good reason or not, which may have been done in violation of the confidentiality requirements of the nondisclosure agreement, it is curious that the Cain accuser now sees "no value in revisiting this matter."
Instead of the inconsistent statement issued Friday by the lawyer, the Cain accuser could have issued the agreement on the spot since the NRA had released her to do so. The lawyer could have redacted her name. That would have provided information contained in the nondisclosure agreement without disclosing her identity. Instead, the strategy used keeps value and a price on the story because it keeps the story open to speculation.
The inconsistencies are alarming to all but the school-of-fish media bent on damaging Herman Cain. And, the media are predictable. You know the story would have been treated much differently if the accused were a liberal.
Most of the media nevertheless have taken the Cain accuser's statements at face value, and have done so in swarms. If the accusations that were the subject of the nondisclosure agreement were true, they deserve to be aired. If the accusations were not true, then they may be defamatory if not extortive.
Contrast coverage of the Herman Cain story with reporting on the White House's obstruction of justice in response to a House subpoena in the Solyndra scandal.
A half billion dollars in taxpayer money was siphoned in what may be unlawful and unethical circumstances. Evidence points to involvement by the White House. Again, the reporting would be much different had the White House been in Republican hands.
With their attention trained on whether Republicans are slapping butts, the liberal media don't seem to focus on government corruption and lawbreaking. For example, it's been disclosed that more Democratic contributors (Wall Street's Lazard, Ltd.) were paid $1 million by the Department of Energy to analyze a potential bailout of Solyndra.
Maybe the media could ask whether anyone at DOE actually does any work themselves, or do they just outsource the work and write checks to Democratic contributors?
As to the subpoena, the White House is not protected by the Fourth Amendment's guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. The White House instead has chosen to rely on "Executive Privilege." Unlike the Speech and Debate privilege for Members of Congress found in Article I, Executive Privilege is found nowhere in the text of the Constitution.
Still, the media seem to report without question the talking points from the White House that the subpoena is motivated by partisan politics. Obviously, the same could be said about Democrats who refused to vote for the House subpoena to gather documents and evidence about what appears to be lawbreaking that may have been at least influenced by the White House.
In the parlance of the Fourth Amendment, there is probable cause for the House subpoena, yet even the Republican chairman of the committee issuing the subpoena, Fred Upton, is too easily conceding to Executive Privilege as a means to hide government lawbreaking.
Upton seems willing to swim with the fish.
David Mayer's excellent book, The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, describes in terrific detail the conflicting views of Jefferson about the First Amendment protections for the printing press. Jefferson talked of the "demoralising licentiousness" of the newspapers of his day.
Mayer quotes Jefferson's draft for the Virginia Constitution: "Printing presses shall be free, except (so far as they or their managers shall be subject to the private action of any individual) where by commission of private injury they shall give cause to private action," meaning lawsuits by private individuals defamed by the press.
Yet Jefferson also understood the value of the printing press, calling it "a formidable censor of public functionaries, by arraigning them at the tribunal of public opinion." Jefferson said that "the people are the only censors of their government," otherwise government officials "shall all become wolves."
The Cain and Solyndra affairs show that the media today engage in licentiousness without holding government officials accountable.
Jefferson might view that as the worst combination. It's certainly boring -- and boorish -- as heck.
FOLLOW US ON