How the liberal media can really make it up to Clinton’s accusers

How the liberal media can really make it up to Clinton’s accusers
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What a difference twenty years — and a seismic cultural moment — make.

For two decades, Democrats have unquestioningly protected an accused serial sexual predator because he championed their agenda. They told us the horrifying allegations of sexual assault, including rape, that women made against President Clinton were fake news. Along with their praetorian guard in the media, he, his wife, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE, and their ideological defenders spent years dismissing, smearing, mocking and disbelieving these women, who, pre-Harvey Weinstein, demonstrated extraordinary bravery in relating their assaults at the hands of the world’s most powerful man. Even as recently as during the 2016 campaign — with Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee — these women were roundly disregarded as “old news.”

Now, however, given the new mid-Weinstein environment of zero-tolerance for sexual misconduct, some high-profile liberals have suddenly found their consciences regarding Clinton’s long history of vile behavior. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes got the ball rolling when he tweeted: “As gross and cynical and hypocritical as the right’s ‘what about Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonRNC spokeswoman on 2020 GOP primary cancellations: 'This is not abnormal' Booker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE’ stuff is, it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.”

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Peter Baker of the New York Times went in search of someone — anyone — to come publicly to Clinton’s defense. He was unsuccessful.

 

The dominoes had already begun to fall.

In an Atlantic piece entitled “Bill Clinton: The Reckoning,” Caitlin Flanagan argued that the feminists who did the political blocking for Clinton were “on the wrong side of history” and that “this grave wrong needs to be acknowledged.”

In the New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote that she “believes” Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who accused the then-Arkansas Attorney General of violently raping her. Goldberg now admits that Broaddrick’s story “haunts” her.

CNN’s Jake Tapper said “the accusers of Bill Clinton back in the '90s were never given the credence and treated with the same respect that these women are being treated and I think that there is something to be said about how society has evolved since then, but in addition, it's hard not to look back at that period and think, you know what? The media treated those women poorly.”

They’re correct, but it’s not enough for these newfound believers to only issue easy condemnations of Clinton. This is the moment when they need to truly make amends. Otherwise, they are no better than Mrs. Clinton, who, when confronted with wrongdoing of her own, would mouth platitudes about “taking responsibility” and then immediately push to “move on.” Sorry: taking meaningful responsibility doesn’t work that way.

Those who now admit to covering for her husband — and the major media companies that did as well — can now make things right by taking action to reverse their mistake.

They should invite Clinton’s accusers in for extended interviews. Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Leslie Millwee are all ready, willing and able to tell their stories to CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Atlantic and any other outlet now experiencing a Clinton-induced crisis of conscience.

If these media heavyweights mean what they now say, then they can fix their past sins against these women by giving them the same coverage — and respect — they’re giving to accusers of other powerful men. Get behind them. Apologize publicly to them. Really investigate their stories. Show them the dignity they have so far been denied. Help restore their reputations.

The media’s protection racket on Clinton’s sexual misconduct grew to empower both Clintons to believe they could get away with everything. His predatory behavior was based on a belief that he was entitled to engage in it without consequence. That, in turn, is something his wife learned to crave and mimic. And like any addiction, their desire for ever-greater entitlement — and attendant sense of grandiosity — grew. Hence their sloppiness in believing they could abuse power in so many ways.

Some have tried to argue that since Clinton’s long out of office and his wife lost the election, it no longer matters. Really? Many of the men who have been accused are past their powerful primes. Should we ignore their accusers? If Harvey Weinstein were retired, would they be saying his accusers should be ignored? Bill Cosby isn’t in office, is largely retired from entertainment, and his criminal case proceeds.

It’s clear that the Clintons are now politically disposable. Perhaps President Obama’s allies approved this Clinton reckoning so they could enjoy unfettered control of the party, agenda and narrative.

Whatever the case, the Clintons now exist in a new reality — of their own making. In 2015, Mrs. Clinton tweeted: "To every survivor of sexual assault ... You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We're with you." Several months later, her campaign website scrubbed the last two sentences. Even her husband’s staunchest defenders now appear to admit they know why.

It’s long past time for the johnny-come-latelies to openly apologize to and stand with Clinton’s accusers. That’s truly the only way to make it up to them.

Monica Crowley is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a former opinion editor for The Washington Times, and frequent guest on Fox News. She holds a Ph.D in international relations from Columbia University.