No, really, I’m not gullible! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 7,482 times, I eventually figure it out. First (not really first, but I have to start somewhere) progressives, Democrats and the news media (the Axis, or AUC) proclaim that even a rumor of sexually inappropriate behavior by a GOP President’s Supreme Court nominee when he was in high school should disqualify him, then I watch all of them line up behind the most photographically documented serial sexual harasser in U.S. history as their choice for President. Then a failed candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination blames her horrible performance in the Democratic primaries on people discriminating against her because she is a woman and “of color,” and is subsequently nominated as President-in- waiting only because she is female-of-color (otherwise being a pandering, hypocrical boob) as the AUC rejoices. Next evidence of his son’s foreign influence-peddling with her running mate’s involvement not just buried, but buried with the assistance of an outright fabrication (“It’s the Russians!”). Then such examples start popping up all over: Dan Rather, who disgraced journalism, has a journalism medal named after him. Governor Cuomo is accused of sexual harassment by a staffer, and the story is barely reported.
And yet, and yet, when I first wrote about the Jeffrey Toobin scandal, I felt sorry for CNN’s reliably biased legal analysis (it’s unethical for lawyers to let bias affect their independent judgment—I’ve even been hired to teach that), because I feel sorry for anyone who destroys their career and public trust by doing something so mind-meltingly stupid. I even wrote that I wouldn’t write about it any more, because I didn’t want to pile on. The Golden Rule, you know.
Because, you see, I am a moron. I continue to be unable to grasp the complete attempted inside-out-ization of all American logic, principles and values by the people who currently control the White House, half of Congress, the schools, the universities, the news media, social media, Big Tech and entertainment. So now I reluctantly have to write about Jeffrey Toobin again.
Here are some quotes from prominent progressives and media types that end the New York Times’ “The Undoing of Jeffrey Toobin”:
First let’s take Jonathan Alter, the one-time Newsweek columnist and reporter, back when it was semi-respectable. Alter briefly won my respect when he suddenly ditched his hair piece for his NBC News contributor slots, but lost my regard forever when on election night 2000 Doris Kearns and Chris Mattews had to explain to him that no, Al Gore passing Bush in popular votes did no mean Bush was obligated to concede.(I also lost all respect for NBC, such as it was, for presenting someone to the nation as an election analyst who didn’t understand the Electoral College. He tweeted, regarding his good friend Toobin,
“You are a fine person and a terrific journalist and did nothing here to hurt anyone outside of yourself and your family. I don’t like Twitter mobs, and I don’t like bullies from the left or the right taking part in cancel culture. I have trouble with the conflation of offenses. I don’t put Al Franken in the same category as Harvey Weinstein.”
It’s good to see that Jonathan is as astute as ever. Good lord.
- There is more than a little evidence in the Times article that whatever he is, “fine person” are not words one can legitimately apply to Toobin. Before he sought a new record for inappropriate workplace behavior, Toobin engaged in such charming humen interactions as this:
The magazine journalist Lisa DePaulo said that in 2003 Mr. Toobin asked her out for New Year’s Eve, telling her he’d separated from Ms. McIntosh (his wife). A few days after accepting, she returned home to a phone message from Mr. Toobin in which, she said, he described in vulgar terms a sex act he planned on enacting with her.
Classy. Then there’s this:
In 2009 and 2010, Rush & Molloy, a gossip column in The New York Daily News, reported on an extramarital affair he’d started with Ms. Greenfield, then a fact checker at Glamour, another Condé Nast publication. She became pregnant in 2008. After her son, Rory, was born in 2009, Ms. Greenfield, who went on to work in family law, sued Mr. Toobin, 13 years her senior, over child support. She declined to comment for this article.Mr. Toobin had no contact with the new baby “by his choice,” according to a court document, until he was nine months old.
Yeah, Jonathan, hell of a guy.
- Alter’s ethical standards are, shall we say, a bit loose; incomplete, even. This would be the “No harm, no foul” rationalization, except there is harm, and it would be obvious to anyone not warped by hanging around the AUC too long, like Alter. Toobin’s conduct harmed workplace decorum and order, his employer’s reputation, and the reputation of every organization that has pointed to this scuzz as a trustworthy professional. He demonstrated disrespect for his colleagues, since he didn’t think a meeting with them was important enough to keep his mind on his work. He accepted monetary payment under false pretenses.
I presume Alter would similarly see no harm in a professional’s ending in rude, profane or obscene speech in a meeting, or intentionally farting and belching—after all, who’s hurt?
- Finally, Alter tells us that he’s a devotee of the most corrupting of all rationalizations, the reviled #22, “There are worse things.”
Next let’s hear the assessment of Tina Brown, the British gossip columnist turned leftist American publisher: “I think 27 years of superb reporting and commitment to The New Yorker should have been weighed against an incident that horribly embarrassed the magazine but mostly embarrassed himself,” she opined.
No surprise there: Brown announces her fealty to both The King’s Pass (Rationalization #11) and Ethics Accounting (#21). That’s the attitude we have seen so often: as long as you do enough for The Cause, almost anything will be forgiven, or better yet, ignored.
Finally, and this was disappointing, Malcolm Gladwell, the author of some insightful airplane books like “The Tipping Point,” weighed in:
“I read the Condé Nast news release, and I was puzzled because I couldn’t find any intellectual justification for what they were doing. They just assumed he had done something terrible, but never told us what the terrible thing was. And my only feeling — the only way I could explain it — was that Condé Nast had taken an unexpected turn toward traditional Catholic teaching.”
Ugh. Gladwell really thinks criticism of Toobin is about a moral objection to masturbation? Really? REALLY? I regard the writer’s analysis as willful blindness; he’s smarter that that. Talk about a tipping point! If, say, the President of the United States did a Toobin during a remote summit with foreign leaders, would Malcolm say, “What’s the big deal? Masturbation isn’t a sin!”
Well, if the President was a Democrat, he probably would.