Washington Post and #MeToo movement won the night in Alabama

Washington Post and #MeToo movement won the night in Alabama
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Two winners you won't see on any ballot or political pundit's box score as a result of Republican Roy Moore's loss in deep-red Alabama were the Washington Post and the #MeToo movement.
 
In terms of why Moore lost a state that Donald Trump won by 28 points, know this: Without the Post's Nov. 9 story that featured four women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct while they were teenagers as young as 14 nearly 40 years ago, the judge — even in being a mediocre-at-best candidate — wins this race with room to spare, given the 28 points he had to play with. No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama for 25 years, for good reason.
 
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In a time when media trust has plunged to an even lower-all-time low among Republicans, Moore tried to paint the Post report as a witch hunt, as illegitimate, as fake news.
 
 
But the Post did what so many news organizations have failed to do recently: It took its time. It vetted the accusers' stories to ensure no error or contradiction could be thrown back at them to broad-brush the story as false down the line.
 
We know this not only because Moore wasn't able to exonerate himself by a majority in the court of public opinion, but because of a conservative activist group called Project Veritas, run by James O'Keefe. Project Veritas tried to dupe the Post into running with the story of someone portraying herself as a Moore accuser who claimed he had impregnated her years ago while she was a teenager. The paper found holes in her story after weeks of research and vetting.
 
Eventually, the Post burned the source as a phony. Other news organizations should follow suit on this when a source knowingly provides false information to push an agenda or narrative.
 
Moore himself appeared on Sean Hannity's radio program on Nov. 10 in an attempt to exonerate himself. Hannity, who openly claims to not be a journalist but rather an opinion host and staunch supporter of President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE, didn't give the candidate much wiggle room during that interview.
 
Consequently, Moore fumbled his answers along the way, particularly around whether he had ever dated teenagers while in his 30s.
 
HANNITY: At that time in your life ... Let me ask you this, you do remember these girls, would it be unusual for you as a 32-year-old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a 15-year difference, or a girl 18. Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

MOORE: Not generally, no. If I did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything but I don't remember anything like that.

HANNITY: But you don't specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time?

MOORE: I don't remember that and I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.
 
In the end, even Hannity's critics gave props on the questions asked. And Moore showed he had no real answers for the accusations nor could he poke any holes in the Post's meticulous reporting.
 
 
On another front, many polls going into last night's election may have shown Moore winning, but there was a movement with overwhelming momentum serving as a riptide pulling him away from the finish line: the #MeToo movement that has now taken down and seriously damaged the reputations of some of the biggest names in politics, media and entertainment.
 
Here's just the short list: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Mario Batali, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the Democrats' last best hope of preserving a House majority Franken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersA presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day Michigan redistricting spat exposes competing interests in Democratic coalition Detroit voters back committee to study reparations MORE (D-Mich.) — and the aforementioned Moore. The full list contains dozens of more big names that began with the Weinstein allegations that broke the dam back in October.
 
The combination of the Post's report, a charged environment against those accused of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault (especially when throwing in one accuser who was 14 at the time) and Moore's narrow victory in a statewide election in 2012 by just 4 points, the recipe for disaster for Republicans was set.
 
 
You'll hear about former White House chief strategist and current Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon being a loser in this one, marinated in schadenfreude, given all of the enemies he's made, especially within the GOP. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told Bloomberg Wednesday morning that "it was a good day for America yesterday in the sense that Bannon lost," for example.
 
 
A Republican lost in Alabama on Tuesday night. He was a flawed candidate months ago. But when looking at the real reasons why this happened, look no further than the Washington Post's flawless reporting and a #MeToo movement that will likely have a big say in some other political contests moving forward.
 
Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.