Performing the functions they’re paid for: The tribes aligned on cable last night concerning the claims of Sharon Bialek.
Did Herman Cain assault Bialek, as she has described? On CNN, Niger Innis was thoroughly sure that this had to be bunk. He wound around and around with the hapless Erin Burnett.
Eventually, Innis stated his claim, spilling with an odd certainty:
INNIS (11/8/11): 99.999 percent of all Americans or people on the planet don't know exactly what occurred there, so we can only look at what is before us and make our judgment. And if you look at Ms. Bialek's press conference and you look at her weird and bizarre behavior of not only her, but of Gloria Allred—and by the way, I know Gloria. I like Gloria personally...I like her personally. I don't like what she does. I don't like her profession, the way she pursues her profession. I think she is the poster child for why we need dramatic radical tort reform and things like “loser pays” in these tort cases.Burnett never quite managed to ask how Innis could possibly be so sure. (At one early point, she tried.) But then, the pundits seemed equally certain on The One True Liberal Channel, although those pundits were equally certain in the other direction.
But no, I know her personally. But I also know her game. And I don't like her game. But doing an analysis of Ms. Bialek's statement and how she made her statement and Gloria Allred saying this is a stimulus package and Ms. Bialek—
BURNETT: OK, I agree with you. I thought that was distasteful. I agree on the stimulus package–
INNIS: And then Ms. Bialek going, saying she went home to her boyfriend, but she he didn't tell him any details.
When you have a fraudulent charge, and let me say for the record I believe these are fraudulent charges by Ms. Bialek—
BURNETT: Right. I understand that.
INNIS: If I was Herman, I'm going to talk to Herman later tonight. I'm going to suggest to Herman that he sue her for defamation of his character. And I believe she's a fake phony fraud.
The “liberal” pundits seemed equally sure that Bialek was telling the truth. On last evening’s Last Word, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor atoned for an earlier blunder, committed last week on the Ed Show. At the time, Taylor was discussing the claim that Cain had engaged in the sexual harassment of two women at the National Restaurant Association.
Breaking every known rule of the cable game, Taylor made the following error, a week ago Monday night. How could a tribal player—an “MSNBC contributor”— have made such a rookie mistake?
TAYLOR (10/31/11): Now I’m here in Atlanta. You know, I’ve known Herman Cain for some time. I don’t get to see him around the state an awful lot these days. But he frankly doesn’t have a reputation for this.In a time of tribal alignment, Taylor committed the ultimate sin—she introduced the element of doubt into Big Ed’s discussion. Last night, she expressed no doubts about any of the “Cainwreck” accusations. Her previous error was erased, of course. Lawrence did not bring it up.
We women talk about these things when we run into men who tend to be predators. We share information.
TAYLOR: Herman Cain was never known in Atlanta as a skirt-chaser. That doesn’t mean this story is not true, but it doesn’t mean that because there is an agreement or settlement that the story is true.
Last night, Taylor seemed sure of all charges. So did the omnipresent Toure, the latest cable confection. This was intriguing, largely because of the oddness of Cain’s remarks in yesterday’s press conference.
Yesterday, Cain clearly said that he has never set eyes on Bialek. (Well—he said this about as clearly as he ever says anything.) This was a very strong denial.
Is there any chance it’s true?
The answer, of course, is yes. Bialek could be making a weirdly false accusation. Such things have happened before, of course—although you’d never know it from watching the hacks on The One True Liberal Channel.
It’s possible that Bialek’s claims are weirdly false. It’s also possible that her claims are perfectly accurate! Like you, we have no earthly way of knowing one way or the other. Meanwhile: If Bialek’s claims are weirdly false, the other claims against Cain could still be true. Karen Kraushaar’s claims could be true while some other claim is false.
Last night, watching the hacks on the liberal channel, you would never know that accusations are sometimes false—even weirdly false. The contributors are paid to fill you with tribal certainty; last night, they earned their money. For ourselves, we recalled the way the hacks all stood in line to praise the obvious “credibility” of a prior accuser, the fair Kathleen Willey. The hacks all swore she was thoroughly credible. By this, they meant that she was conventionally good-looking; that she seemed to be upper-middle class; and that she was accusing Bill Clinton, whom the hacks were all lustily chasing.
(One year later, the same gang of hacks began chasing Candidate Gore all around. Liberals still aren't allowed to discuss it. But are you happy with how that turned out?)
Everyone swore she was very credible. But uh-oh! By the time the Clinton chase was through, the special prosecutor announced that he had come this close to charging Willey with perjury! Needless to say, the hacks worked hard to bury this information.
It's the law! You simply aren’t allowed to know when the hacks are all wrong.
Sometimes, people make false accusations—even weirdly false accusations. And not only that! One claim can be false, while all other claims are true.
You would have no idea of these basic facts from watching the hacks last evening.
Visit our incomparable archives: The boys and girls all stood in line to swear that Faire Willey was telling the truth. Chris Matthews was so in thrall to his dearest dear that he almost got a journalist killed by pimping one of his darling's claims forward.
The claim turned out to be false—but not before a gunman was arrested at a journalist’s home. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/20/99.
(Joan Walsh simply luvs this man. Rachel said he was the best, then quickly signed her first contract.)
As Willey’s credibility faded, the hacks worked hard to keep you from knowing, on two or three different occasions. For a capsule review of these gruesome matters, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/10/03.
We reported this every step of the way. The storeboughts wouldn’t tell you. And the hacks won’t tell you such things today! You saw them align on cable last night, performing the functions they’re paid for.
Final point: Was Cain telling the truth about Bialek? Like you, we have no idea.