The Professor Mannes don't know: Who the Sam Hill is Matt Stieb? We ask for an obvious reason.
Yesterday, Tara Reade did an online interview with Megyn Kelly, late of Fox News and NBC. Excerpts have been posted on Twitter!
In a short post, Stieb reported the session for New York magazine. His short post carries this headline:
Everything We’ve Learned From Tara Reade’s Megyn Kelly InterviewThe headline sounds promising. Unfortunately, here's the first thing Stieb chose to report:
STIEB (5/7/20): On her online show, Kelly asked Reade about a Biden statement from 2018 in which he said that accusers should start off with the presumption that they are telling the truth. “Do you think he’s afforded you that presumption?” Kelly asked. “No,” Reade replied, and referred to alleged harassment online, including a death threat, following her decision to come forward. “His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely. I have not experienced that.”Kelly asked if Biden is affording Reade the presumption that she's telling the truth!
Since Biden has said that Reade's accusation is false, that was a fairly silly question. Also, under the circumstances, that would be a very strange thing for Biden to do.
Why would Kelly ask such a stupid question? She asked because the question highlights something Biden said two years ago.
In his remark, Biden was playing a modified version of the "Believe Women" card, one of the several extremely dumb memes our own liberal tribe has churned out in recent years.
By some, we're now told that "Believe Women" never meant that people should believe all women. This recalls the high-profile, absurdist joke told by Steven Wright:
I went down to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door.Wright is a comedian, but so are our human tribes. With that in mind, let's return to what Biden said back in 2018.
I said, "Hey, the sign says you’re open 24 hours." He said, "Yes, but not in a row!"
Let's use some common sense! Surely, even Biden couldn't have meant that a person being falsely accused by a woman should somehow afford her the presumption that she's telling the truth.
Even Biden isn't that dumb, but our progressive stampedes often are. And this is the nonsense with which Stieb began his review of the session.
How strongly do we sometimes truly believe in our tribe's truest beliefs? So strongly that Stieb's short report already bears a correction of an extremely basic point—a point he apparently misstated when his report first appeared.
Everybody makes mistakes. That said, this particular glaring misstatement tilted the field in Reade's direction. In fairness, this is the story of human behavior all through the annals of time.
Should (female) accusers "start off with the presumption that they are telling the truth?"
We're forced to add the gender qualifier for n obvious reason. In the current standoff, Biden is accusing Reade of saying something that isn't true, and Kelly didn't ask if he should be afforded the presumption that he is telling the truth.
Should women start with that presumption? Yes, they should, if you want to reside in the Eden of dimwitted True Belief.
Is Tara Reade telling the truth? Like you and like Professor Manne, we have no way of knowing. That said, it has turned out, in recent years, that other accusers weren't telling the truth. This brings us back to Emily Bazelon's concerns about Tara Reade.
Last Thursday, over at Slate, Bazelon said that she didn't regard Reade as highly credible. She seemed to suggest that Reade could be lying—or that she might "have problems."
To her credit, Bazelon didn't claim to know whether Reade is telling the truth. She merely said that she had concerns, questions, doubts.
We have concerns and question too. Meanwhile, accusers sometimes do "have problems." The tribal mind discards such facts, but such facts remain true.
We're currently living in the age of the White House campaign sex claim. Gennifer Flowers threw out the first pitch in early 1992.
In a high-profile New York City press event, Flowers claimed that she'd had a torrid, twelve-year love affair with "my Bill"—with Candidate Bill Clinton. In this way, Flowers inserted herself, and her thrilling claims, into the middle of a major world event.
That said, was it possible that Flowers "had problems?" In Newsweek, Jonathan Alter quickly reported some problems with Flowers' claims:
ALTER (2/3/92): Gennifer Flowers also has credibility problems. Among them...Oof! The hotel wasn't open yet, and she hadn't been Miss Teen Age America. Meanwhile, Flowers achieved paydays totaling more than $500,000 in return for her thrilling claims. (Previously, she'd been earning $18,000 in an Arkansas state job.)
* Flowers claims she met Clinton at the Excelsior Hotel in 1979 or 1980. The hotel didn't open until late 1982...
* Flowers claims to have taken 50 hours of classes at the University of Arkansas. There is no record of her having attended the school.
* Flowers claims to have been Miss Teen Age America, 1967. She wasn't—that year, or any other.
Did Flowers perhaps "have problems?" We have no ultimate way of knowing, but in 2000, Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote The Hunting of the President, a history of the mainstream press corps' endless pursuit of Bill Clinton.
Conason and Lyons are major journalists. They extended the list of Flowers' peculiar past claims:
CONASON/LYONS (page 25): Musicians and club owners who had worked with Flowers described her as manipulative and dishonest. Her resume falsely proclaimed her a graduate of a fashionable Dallas prep school she’d never attended. It also listed a University of Arkansas nursing degree she’d never earned and membership in a sorority that had never heard of her. Her agent told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that contrary to her claims, Flowers had never opened for comedian Rich Little. A brief gig on the Hee Haw television program had come to a bad end, the agent would later confirm, when Flowers simply vanished for a couple of weeks with a man she’d met in a Las Vegas casino—and then concocted a tale about having been kidnapped. She had never been Miss Teenage America. Even her “twin sister Genevieve” turned out to be purely a figment of Flowers’ imagination.Oof. Meanwhile, was Flowers the sort of person in whom you'd want to place your trust? In 1995, she published her own book, Passion and Betrayal—a book in which she didn't name a single time and place where she and "her Bill" had canoodled together.
On that basis, none of her specific claims could fall apart, as the Excelsior Hotel claim apparently had. She did remember to include this recollection of the time she met Hillary Clinton:
FLOWERS (1995): I was shocked. She looked like a big fat frump with her hair hanging down kind of curly and wavy. She had big, thick glasses; an ugly dress; and a big, fat butt.It's hard to have sufficient contempt for that bit of prose, but so wrote Gennifer Flowers. Is that the kind of person in whom you'd want to place your trust? Is it possible that Flowers might, in some way, possibly "have problems?"
You've never seen such questions asked because, by 1998, the mainstream press corps had anointed Flowers as a major truth-teller. This was based on a minuscule point of agreement:
By now, Clinton had testified that he'd had, on one occasion, one sexual encounter with Flowers, not involving intercourse. Flowers, of course, was still claiming a twelve-year love affair with her heart, in the end, being broken..
That point of agreement was close enough for mainstream press corps work. Flowers was now paraded around, accompanied by the claim that we now knew that she had been telling the truth all along.
In October 2016, Donald J. Trump threatened to bring her to one of his debates with Hillary Clinton. That same month, the New York Times wrote a ridiculous front-page report in which the rehabilitation of this truth-teller was extended.
In that way, Gennifer Flowers became the era's inaugural sex accuser. In March 1998, along came Kathleen Willey, appearing on Sixty Minutes.
Willey was instantly treated as the world's most credible person. She was upper-middle class in habillement—in fact, she and her husband had been fairly wealthy—and she was conventionally attractive.
Perhaps for those reasons, smitten male journalists stood in line to swear she was telling the truth. She said she'd been semi-attacked by President Clinton, in the Oval, on one occasion.
It would be hard to overstate the extent to which our smitten pundits vouched for the credibility of the fabulous Willey. Later that year, the problems began, with the press corps constantly withholding such facts from public view:
October 1998: In October 1998, Kenneth Starr executed a major "document dump." Included was sworn testimony by Linda Tripp, a friend and associate of Willey.
Under oath, Tripp had testified that Willey had been trying to arrange a tryst with President Clinton. She'd said that Willey had been thrilled by her Oval Office encounter.
This sworn testimony contradicted the story Willey had told. Our major press organs hushed it up—and then, we had the disaster.
May 1999: In May 1999, Willey accused a journalist of threatening her outside her Richmond, Virginia home. She claiemd that the journalist had been acting on behalf of the murderous Clinton. She lodged the claim on the crackpot cable show Hardball, goaded on by a deeply irresponsible Chris Matthews.
Fortunately, the journalist was able to prove that he'd been in California on the date Willey had named. Before he could do so, a person with a history of mental illness appeared at the journalist's home with a gun, apparently planning to shoot him..
Matthews apologized, after which the astonishing incident was never mentioned again. Stampeding tribes take care of their own, as do such guilds as the press corps. Very few people ever heard about this astounding event.
March 2002: In March 2002, Robert Ray, Kenneth Starr's successor, published his final report on the Lewinsky matter. In an appendix to the report, Ray said that Willey had lied to his investigators so often that they had to negotiate two (2) immunity agreements with her.
Willey went on from there to become a crackpot right-wing radio host. We're omitting various aspects of her troubled personal history.
Willey had seemed amazingly credible when she first appeared. But was it possible that she had been lying, or that she might have "had problems?"
Other accusations have been false during this era, although you'll never be able to get the tribal true believers to believe any such thing.
Some accusers have lied, or they've perhaps "had problems." Consider the tragic story of the (false) accuser in the 2006 Duke lacrosse case.
Her name is Crystal Magnum, and she has a tragic history. It's fairly clear that she "had problems," as William Styron's "beaten children of the earth" are known to do.
Mangum's accusation was exciting but it turned out to be false. Her tragic history reads, in part, like this:
Mangum was born and grew up in Durham, North Carolina, the daughter of Travis Mangum, a truck driver, and his wife Mary. She was the youngest of three children. She attended Hillside High School, graduating in 1996.We'd start by noting the appalling lack of adult supervision which allowed that gruesome "party" to take place at all.
In 1996 she filed a police report alleging that three years earlier, when she was 14, she had been kidnapped by three assailants, driven to Creedmoor, North Carolina, and raped. One of those she accused was her boyfriend, who was 21 at the time, which would be statutory rape. She subsequently backed away from the charges, a move relatives claimed was motivated by fear for her life. Mangum's father said he did not believe she was raped or injured, though her mother believed such an incident could have occurred—but not in 1993. She thinks it is more likely to have happened when Crystal was 17 or 18 years old, shortly before she made the police report.
In 2002, she was arrested on 10 charges after stealing the taxicab of a customer to whom she had given a lap dance. This prompted a police pursuit at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, occasionally in the wrong lane. After being stopped, she nearly ran over a police officer, succeeding only in hitting his patrol vehicle. She was found to have a blood alcohol content of just over twice the legal limit. Ultimately, she pleaded guilty on four counts: assault on a government official, larceny, speeding to elude arrest, and driving while impaired, serving three weekends in jail, paying $4,200 in restitution and fees, and being given two years' probation.
In March 2006, she was hired as a stripper at a party organized by members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team. After arriving in an intoxicated state, having earlier consumed alcohol and cyclobenzaprine, to perform with another stripper at a house rented by three of the team captains, she became involved in an argument with the occupants of the residence and subsequently left. She then became involved in an altercation with her fellow stripper that necessitated police assistance. The officer who arrived on scene took her to a local drug and mental health center, where she was in the process of being involuntarily committed when, after being asked a leading question, she made an allegation that she had been raped at the party...
In 2008, Mangum published a memoir written with Vincent Clark. The book gives her version of events. She continued to insist that she was assaulted at the party and says that the dropping of the case was politically motivated. The book also outlines her earlier life, reasserting her claim that she was raped at the age of 14.
That said, a tragic personal history suffuses these events. In April 2007, the Raleigh News-Observer published a long, sympathetic profile of Mangum which included this report:
"The 28-year-old woman has struggled with poverty, alcohol abuse and psychological instability. In recent years she turned to therapists for help with bipolar disorder and other mental problems and took anti-psychotic medication."The murder arrests came later:
In February 2010, she was arrested on charges of attempted murder of her live-in partner, Milton Walker. She was eventually convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer.We're strongly inclined to recommend pity for the many "beaten children of the earth." We do not recommend believing their accusations on the basis of their gender, as large segments of the Duke faculty instantly rushed off to do.
In November 2013, she was found guilty of second-degree murder after she stabbed boyfriend Reginald Daye, who died 10 days after. She argued that she acted in self-defense, fearing that Daye would kill her. She was sentenced to 14 to 18 years in prison.
In fairness, they were simply Believing Women, as they'd been told they should do!
Recent history has taught us that some accusations aren't true. That said, nothing will stop the Professor Mannes from urging us to disregard this blindingly obvious fact.
For us over here in the liberal world, the Professor Mannes cast themselves in the role of Our Own Donald Trumps. That said, nothing will ever curtail their true belief, or their impossibly faulty judgment.
Is Tara Reade telling the truth? Like the hapless Professor Manne, we have no way of knowing. But just as no one knew Kathleen Willey when she first appeared, no one knows Reade today. Meanwhile, reports of "corroborating evidence" have been greatly exaggerated, not unlike Mark Train's death.
Why did Emily Bazelon express concern about Reade? To read about the horse rescue allegations, you can just click here.
To puzzle about the ways she has praised Biden in recent years for his work on behalf of women, you can just click this. Or you can peruse Reade's bizarre essay in praise of Putin, who she had been savaging in the preceding years. Her essay includes such wisdom as this:
READE (11/27/18): President Putin’s genius is his judo ability to conserve his own energy and let the opponents flail, using up their energy, while he gains position. Currently, President Putin has a higher approval rating in America then the American President, particularly with women. President Putin has an alluring combination of strength with gentleness. His sensuous image projects his love for life, the embodiment of grace while facing adversity. It is evident that he loves his country, his people and his job. Although his job may seem like in the words of writer, Elizabeth Gilbert on genius, “ trying to swallow the sun.” This is a whole lot to deal with for one mere mortal… President Putin’s obvious reverence for women, children and animals, and his ability with sports is intoxicating to American women. Especially since the bloated, American President is so negative, denigrating and dismissive of anyone but himself as he stumbles even playing golf (which is not a real sport anyway but a past time, sorry golfers).Is it possible that something "is wrong" with the person who composed this essay? Since everything has always been possible, that has to be possible too!
It's also possible, as some have suggested and said, not without hints of evidence, that Reade is now on the Russkie payroll. And by the way—it's possible that she's on the Russkie payroll and that she's telling the truth!
No one had ever set eyes on Kathleen Willey when she lodged her exciting accusation on Sixty Minutes. To people who were chasing Clinton, she seemed amazingly credible.
Now we have the Professor Mannes. They're vouching for the credibility of another person no one knows.
Tara Reade may be telling the truth. It also could be that she isn't.
Her claim could be true, and her claim could be false. Above all else, remember this:
The true believers in our deeply flawed tribe have no way to know.