By: Wayne Brown
The American media has officially began its work for the 2012 elections. The kickoff event of national concern apparently is the “Herman Cain Sex Scandal”. Politico claimed to have unnamed female sources who were “harassed” by Mr. Cain while he served with the National Restaurant Association. This was the extent of the information or allegations if you will. Rather than present any detailed evidence, Politico simply reported that Mr. Cain needed to be forthcoming with the facts.
Cain took the stance that he has never sexual harassed anyone in any way as the story broke. He has stuck by that claim throughout the early stages of the reporting and a number of credible people have come forward to defend his reputation. The Huffington Post then reported that Mr. Cain had “changed his tune” on the alleged claims which, in effect, was nothing more than a sensationalized headline designed to lure in the reader. Cain had not changed his position but simply explained the circumstances under which these accusations were contrived.
Though Mr. Cain is “accused” of sexual harassment, there are no specific allegations cited other than to say that “he made hand movements which the accusers found offensive”. Since Mr. Cain was in a managerial role at the NRA, he had to recuse himself from investigating the so-called incident and allow other officials to handle the follow-up. This is typical of any such occurrence in most large organizations. Anyone with any knowledge of the events is normally excluded from the information gathering process on the investigative side. Unfortunately, some in the media, want to use this recusal by Cain as an indication of his guilt in the matter regardless of whether there are any supporting facts.
The cases were settled for some amount of financial compensation according to some sources. Cain claims that he was not privy to that settlement nor does he possess any information as to how much was paid. He did go on to point out that he hoped the amount was not a large sum in that there was no behavioral basis for the claim in the first place. Regardless of the amount paid by the NRA in compensation, the fact of the matter is the end result all came down to money seemingly with little concern as to whether Herman Cain was disciplined or paid a price for the actions claimed by his accusers. I don’t know about you, but I find those who claim damages all in the name of money to have somewhat of a credibility problem with the basis of their accusations in the first place.
We live in a society which is supposedly based on the premise, “a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.” That may be true in our courts of law but one quickly finds that in the realm of the race card and sexual harassment, just the opposite is true…the accused in guilty until they can prove their innocence. What a shame that we live in such a world. What a shame that such a card can be played on Herman Cain and he is immediately looked upon with a jaded eye without a single fact being presented beyond the story of an accusation. In this case, we can say that in the court of public opinion, Mr. Cain is being convicted on the basis of accusation only.
Several years ago, I had an employee that I supervised accused of racial discrimination by an employee of one of our corporate customers. As the immediate supervisor, I was “recused” from the investigation by our personnel group. Once all the interviews were completed and the information gathered, it came to light that the accuser had thought that he could get some money for his claim because our employee worked for a large corporation that would be anxious to settle such a matter. He basically assumed and rightfully so that the corporation would be more interested in the claim just “going away” than dealing with it head-on. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong corporation to deal with in such matters. My employee suffered a lot of emotional trauma in this case because he found that he could be accused when he had done nothing. The result brought out a fear in him that will be with him for the rest of his days…a fear that one can be accused and convicted though innocent. To this day, he lives with that fear every day and the fact that he was cleared does little to help him calm his concern.
Politics in America is dirty business. Character assassination is an easy way to destroy the opposition especially when that opposition becomes the party that the other side would rather not run against in the election. It is manipulation across the aisle in its finest form. For far too many people, the fact that Herman Cain is accused is enough to convict him in the court of public opinion. His detractors know this and have no ethical conflict with playing such a card. Winning, in their mind, is not about ethics, it is about outcomes sadly.
I did not write this perspective because I am a “Herman Cain” fan. While I appreciate the fact that he is a successful businessman with a very impressive record of success in all his ventures, I have not yet made up my mind that he is the one person that I want to support as a presidential candidate. That time will come but I am not there yet. I write this because I truly feel that Herman Cain, like any of us, deserves better than what he is currently getting from a media that is far too ready to drag him out in the street and tar ‘n feather him with accusation ending his chances for political success.
Where is the Republican organization in this matter? Does it not take a formal stand for those candidates participating in the election process or does the public have to wait for the “anointed one” to be named before any defense can be forthcoming? Does Herman Cain not deserve the benefit of the doubt and deserve to have some reasonably concrete evidence placed upon the table before he is politically black-balled on the basis of accusation alone? Where are the other candidates in this conservative race for the nomination? Are they just going to sit back and watch the media fry Mr. Cain without weighing in on the circumstance? If so, they make a very stupid mistake because eventually this process may also come to their door. Any right thinking candidate, regardless of political affiliation, would be demanding proof of guilt and putting those in the media on notice that their approach in this circumstance is unacceptable. One day the bell might toll for thee.
Herman Cain’s life is considered by the media to be an open book with no chapter closed for their inspection. What a shame that their attitude was so different in regard to the current media darling in the White House who has a chain of baggage a mile long which the media makes no demands upon but actually defends to the death in most cases. What an ironic contrast between two people desiring the same office. If one thought about it long enough, one might conclude that the American public is being manipulated in their thinking and actions by a media with a desired outcome on an otherwise democratic event. That in and of itself is quite troubling in our country.
Hopefully, Herman Cain can preserver and continue in his political ambition to occupy the White House as the Commander-In-Chief. Much of that will depend on continued efforts of the media and the public response to those efforts. Regardless of any forthcoming proof, the right spin placed upon the subject material can be an anchor which weighs heavily on the political success of Mr. Cain. One might want to ask, “How does Herman Cain prove that he never sexually harassed anyone?” For that matter, how do you prove it of yourself given that someone comes forward with the accusation? Stop and think on that for a while before you help tie the loop in the noose to hang Mr. Cain’s political career.
America deserves far better than it is getting from the media today. Whatever happened to objective journalism in this country? Somewhere around the time of Vietnam and Watergate, journalism took on a different role in this country. A free press was originally thought of by the Founding Fathers as an element which would keep America honest because it would report the facts, not the accusation, the innuendo, but the facts. A free press would cut to the chase and do so in an objective manner so that the overall good of the American public was best served. Now we have reporters more worried about being barred from the White House detail than reporting the facts. More sensationalism that detail; more desire by the reporter to make a name than to research the facts and report them. Human nature and political leanings have overcome truth and objectivity in journalism in America today. No longer is a free press the guardian and keeper of American freedom. What a sad state of affairs.
©Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.