Is Sharon Bialek telling the truth? How about Herman Cain?


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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. For Bob:

    I wonder if Drum will ever pry his lips from Mattthew's ass.

  2. Well, you're right there is no way to know for sure.

    But it's a little incredulous that Cain is not only the victim of multiple false allegations of sexual harassment but that these allegations were so fraudulent that they were alleged by complete strangers! What are the odds of that?

    I mean, I can understand how someone, especially a rich man, can be falsely accused multiple times, but to be falsely accused by strangers multiple times? That's like being kidnapped and held for ransom 2 or 3 times. One starts to wonder if the victim is telling the whole truth because it's so odd that Cain was evidently a huge fraud magnet.

    I mean who alleges these things against strangers? Wouldn't one pick someone they new to make the fraud a little more convincing?

  3. Bob, I was just waiting for you to bring up Kathleeen Willey:

    You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll throw things, but I bet you won't be allowed to add a critical comment to this story at Newsbusters featuring a butthurt Kathleen Willey still lying her shameless ass off about just about everything.

  4. I was just re-reading The Hunting of the President and on page 287, Linda Tripp is quoted as saying to Willey, "Kathleen, what are you doing?" in her claims about sexual harassment. It is funny to read but back then, it was terrible to watch the mainstream media coverage back in real time.

  5. The reasons Herman Cain's supporters keep giving for backing him are as follows: What about Bill Clinton? (forgetting that Bill Clinton had consensual relationships, and apparently not understanding the difference)
    We don't like Gloria allred, therefore this woman is lying.
    This is the fantasyland the right lives in, which is why one cannot have an intelligent discussion with them.

  6. It seems likely to me that lots of people would be willing to lie, either to help defeat a candidate they opposed or for hope of gain, particularly when there's no downside risk. What would happen if several women alleged that Obama or Biden had harassed them 15 or 20 years ago? Would we force them off the ticket?

    I'm not a Cain supporter and I don't claim that the accusations against him are false. I am concerned about how safe and easy it is to bring a charge of sexual harassment. An accusation like this is risk free. If a woman says that a man harassed her when they were alone, there's no way to disprove her. Even if she could be disproved, she might never be charged. E.g., the woman who lied about the supposed Duke lacrosse team rapes was never prosecuted for those lies (although she is now being tried for an unrelated murder.)

  7. "I am concerned about how safe and easy it is to bring a charge of sexual harassment. An accusation like this is risk free."

    What a silly concern. Only a privileged man can write that comment. It's not easy to sue for sexual assault or harassment. Look at the Penn State scandal and how ashamed those victims were. Many victims don't report it and never sue. In fact, most victims are scared to come forward because of the shame and the stigma people like David apply to them. While there may be individual incidents of false allegations I hardly think this is common.

    It certainly is odd that Cain has attracted so many cases of fraud and extortion, no? If we can believe his story that is, right? These are anonymous women who are strangers to him, right? I didn't know this type of fraud was such an epidemic. I'm sure thousands of women will run out and hire lawyers (who will be more than willing to take on bogus cases) to sue rich businessmen whom the woman has never met before. What a great scam! I'm sure insurance companies and associations are more than happy to pay settlement monies for bald extortion schemes.

    Plus, most of these allegations happened well before Cain announced his presidency, right? He settled two potential lawsuits a while ago, no? Only the most recent allegation appeared after he ran for president, afaik.

  8. I wonder if anyone anywhere has a tape of Kathline Whiley VERY short lived radio show (first guest, Ken Starr!), a truly interesting historical document I would one day like to hear. Beyond that, Christopher Hitchens in his new Slate piece explains how the Cain business once again shows liberals insensitivity to women.

  9. David in Cal writes: I am concerned about how safe and easy it is to bring a charge of sexual harassment. An accusation like this is risk free.

    No it isn't. And this is why we come to rely on contemporaneous evidence. In Kathleen Willey's case, we have the testimony of Linda Tripp, which describes a Willey actively pursuing a relationship with Clinton, the letters Clinton released which show the same, and Willey herself's testimony, which was self-contradictory, and occasionally shown to be simply false (when her version of reality misplaced people with alibis).

    In Bialek's case, you apply the same contemporaneous evidence tests. She confided to two friends immediately after the incident that Cain's behavior was inappropriate, without going into detail, and we have their statements. There will have been records made of the phone calls and restaurant reservations and hotel upgrades, and Cain himself could disprove her story simply by demonstrating that he was elsewhere that night.

    But he instead chooses to say that he has never acted inappropriately with anyone, period (this is actually expressing an opinion), and that everything she says is false. Everything? Really? Blanket denials like this are a sort of tell-- is it false that he agreed to meet her, or false that he upgraded her hotel accomodations, or false that they had dinner, or is it just false that he groped her in the car? Is it likely that he "doesn't remember" any of this?

    And why does Herman Cain not know anything of the accusations made against him in the complaint filed by Krasshaur and her lawyer (as said in answer to a reporter's question at his press conference)? Wouldn't you, if it happened to you? And wouldn't you sort of brush up on the specifics of her complaint before calling a press conference to address the complaint?

    And lastly, I taste a bit of misogyny in your "risk-free" claim. Sexual harrasment is deeply shameful and painful to the victims, and there's a societal stigma attached to victims as well by the more swinish elements of our culture (she probably was asking for it, etc.).

    In Bialek's case, I don't see that she has anything to gain here but the knowledge that the man who acted badly all those years ago and got away with it then isn't going to get away with it now. And that is all that is in it for her. No book deal. No cash settlement. No wingnut welfare.

  10. Chris, my point was that a false accusation is risk free. Let's say Willey was lying. She took no risk. She didn't get punished in any way.

  11. A false accusation is only risk free if you don't get punished and no harm is done to your reputation, and how can you know that at the outset? Willey nearly got indicted for perjury by the special prosecutor.

  12. I wish Willey had been indicted. First of all, there was no way to get beyond "he said, she said." She couldn't have been convicted.

    But, the trial would have been a zoo. After Clinton testified that he didn't do it, Willey's lawyer could have called all the Clinton-accusing women to attack Clinton's character. Can you imagine Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaderick and all the other Clinton bimbos all testifying about alleged Clinton sexual misdeeds?

    The only thing better than prosecuting Willey would have been prosecuting her and putting the trial on TV!

  13. David, I don't know where you're from, but here on Earth, defamation is an actionable offense in many countries, including the US, and is frequently brought in courts of law. Take my word for it.

    Or are you just pretending to be obtuse?

    And one more thing, David: no one mistakes your complaint as anything other than what it is-- a thiny-veiled advocacy of the neoconservative holy grail of "loser pays" style "tort reform."

  14. David writes: I wish Willey had been indicted. First of all, there was no way to get beyond "he said, she said."

    Willey escaped indictment by admitting that she had lied. That was the deal. Did you miss that?

    It has been pointed out to you repeatedly that Willey's testimony was contradicted by others to whom she confided her desire to iniatiate some sort of socio-sexual relationship (as my old psychology prof once said) with Evil Bill Clinton.

    You're arguing in bad faith, David, clearly.

  15. Wikipedia says Willey admitted giving a false statment about a former boyfriend. It says nothing about Willey admitting that her charges against Clinton were false.

    The Final Report of the U.S. Office of the Independent Counsel report noted that "Willey gave false information to the FBI about her sexual relationship with a former boyfriend, and acknowledged having lied about it when the agents confronted her with contradictory evidence. Following Willey’s acknowledgment of the lie, the Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute her for false statements in this regard."

    Wiki says nothing about Willey ever admitting that her charges against Clinton were false. To be clear, I'm not arguing that Willey's charges were true, but that unless she admitted that they were false, she couldn't be convicted of perjury.

    As far as defamation, a jury would have to decide who was more credible, Willey who had given false statements or Clinton, who had given false statements. From a purely legal standpoint, I don't see how either could prove defamation against the other.

  16. In a book published in 2007, Kathleen Wiley claimed that the Clintons were behind the murder of her husband. Take that for what you will.

  17. @ Chris Vosburg 5:22

    Has Bialek specified a date? In her
    press statement on Nov. 7, she just said 'mid-July' of 1997.

  18. Generally I side with people making accusations of sexual harassment at the workplace because of the enormous risk it takes to make such an accusation. If someone is put in an uncomfortable position, it's easier just to not say anything, to leave things as they are, to not rock the boat. People have a tendency to not believe people who make those accusations and to blame the victim even if they do.

    It's hard to risk one's job and every future job (because who wants to work with someone who makes such accusations?) as well as one's reputation just to make a wrong situation right. So I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    There are two exceptions: first, in court, it's not about the benefit of the doubt. Second, when the cameras start rolling and people involved are famous, a certain kind of person comes out of the woodwork.

    Anyway, I'm not following this case since I find each of the Republican candidates equally vomit-inducing and I'm not about to split hairs about which has the slightly-less-asinine politics.

    Focus on what the current politicians are doing and let the Republicans decide who'll be their candidate. It seems the election always sucks the air out of the room, which is a great system if you want to keep people dumb since there's always an election somewhere.

  19. David Tomlin writes: Has Bialek specified a date?

    Not as far as I know (just "mid-July," as you said). Be nice if one of our intrepid reporters would simply ask her (or her attorney).

    In fact, if I were accused of what she accuses Herman Cain of, the first words out of my mouth would be, "Oh yeah? And when exactly is this supposed to have taken place?" so you might wonder why the Cain campaign hasn't asked-- loudly and publicly-- for this specific information.

    You might well ask.

  20. Here's just one of the many things that drives me crazy about this whole ideat that making sexual harassment charges is so easy, all the gals are doing it! People like David in Cal immediately see a woman who is a money-hungry opportunist who thinks this is an easy way to earn some bucks and enjoy the limelight at the same time.

    In his world, such women are very likely to come out of the woodwork as soon as a prominent man is revealed to be (allegedly) a big old horn dog with a self-control problem. But isn't it just as likely, or maybe even more likely, that the man is lying to cover his butt.

    Seriously, if the accusing woman has made up everything and is lying through her teeth, that actually sounds like a dangerous thing to do to me. How many women would risk such a thing? Because it IS a risk, after all. These are politicians -- they're going to find out everything about you, dig up stuff in your past you do not want brought up. Things could get pretty ugly for you.

    On the other hand, the likelihood that the accused is lying is far greater. Look at his motive -- he has A LOT to lose. It's almost expected, in fact, that he WILL lie, at least at the beginning until he can't lie no more. Look at how Cain's story evolved over the first couple days. Look at Anthony Weiner's endless denials. What would really be shocking is if an accused man came right out and said, yes, I acted inappropriately, upon the first utterance of an accusation.

    I'm just saying, one of them is lying. Which one is more likely?

  21. Anonymous, allow me to make a slight emendation:
    People like David in Cal immediately see a woman who is a money-hungry opportunist... if she accuses a Republican but a seeker of truth, wisdom and light if she accuses a Democrat...