Opinion

Jack Shafer

Politico’s rush to cane Herman Cain

Jack Shafer
Oct 31, 2011 21:50 UTC

Let’s assume that Herman Cain misbehaved, in the manner that is alleged in Politico, during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s.

Such an assumption is hard to make—not because the allegations are unbelievable, or because Cain vehemently denied the charges today at a National Press Club lunch (“I was falsely accused”), but because Politico wrapped the allegations in journalistic gauze that frays and dissolves as you unwind it.

What are the allegations? To review, Politico reports that:

·At least two of Cain’s female employees complained about his behavior, which included “conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature.”

·These conversation took place at “hotels during conferences,” at “association events,” and at “the association’s offices.”

·Cain also allegedly made “physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.”

Parity panic in the political press corps

Jack Shafer
Oct 4, 2011 20:16 UTC

The political press corps, like their sportswriter brethren, prefers to cover contests where the winner is announced before the game is played. Until somebody anoints the overdog, no underdog can be proclaimed, profiled, and scrutinized to give the competition its needed dramatic tension. And when the candidates—or teams—are so piddling that a pre-winner can’t be identified, political correspondents and sportswriters panic.

Sportswriters actually have it worse, and National Football League writers worst of all, because the NFL deliberately pushes its 32 teams toward “parity” with spending caps, free agency, revenue sharing, shared TV rights, the college draft–which gives last year’s worst teams the best picks–and the so-called “balanced schedule,” which rewards last year’s bad teams with softer match-ups this year. The end product of NFL parity is the Jacksonville Jaguars, for whom .500 is a winning percentage.

The end product of Republican Party parity is the gang of gibbering right-wingers, token libertarians, and one or two centrists currently fumbling their way through the party’s presidential nomination process.

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