Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Interesting Example of a Double Standard

This is just too precious. David Brooks writes for the NY Times and castigates the victims of sexual harassment by Herman Cain. But "Angry Black Lady" at the Balloon Juice blog takes to task for his double standard:
Why the New York Times continues to allow David Brooks to crap all over the opinion page, I will never understand.


Moving on:
Now we turn to ethical issues. My first question, and this is a genuine question, concerns the victims. Let’s detach ourselves from the specifics of the Cain case and consider a general question: If you are the victim of sexual harassment, and you agree to remain silent in exchange for a five-figure payoff, should any moral taint attach to you? In the old days, somebody who allowed a predator to continue his hunting in exchange for money would certainly be considered a sinner. I’m reluctant to judge people in these circumstances, but I’m inclined to agree. Am I missing something?
First of all, Brooks is never again allowed to use the word taint. Just don’t.

Second of all, everything Brooks said is victim-blaming bullshit. It’s the same argument that the uninformed and unenlightened make when they claim that rape victims have a duty to report their rapist lest they be held morally responsible should the rapist strike again. It’s a callous, anti-feminist, bullshit argument that has no place in public discourse, much less splattered on the New York Times by a person who could have simply googled it, and read one of a hundred blog posts written by feminists on the subject of victim-blaming in the context of sexual assault and harassment.

But here’s the kicker—David Brooks need not have even spent the fifteen minutes it would have taken him to discern that his “ethically responsible women don’t settle” argument is a load of horseshit because David Brooks himself has been the victim of unwanted advances.

In 2009, Brooks appeared on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell to talk about a Republican Senator (whom he refused to name) making an unwanted advance on Brooks. He stated that during a dinner, a Republican Senator had “his hand hand on my inner thigh the whole time” and it made Brooks uncomfortable.

From Think Progress:
BROOKS: You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.


BROOKS: I can only imagine what happens to you guys.

O’DONNELL: Sorry, who was that?

BROOKS: I’m not telling you, I’m not telling you.

Brooks said that he has “spoken to a lot of young women who are Senate staffers and they’ll have these middle age guys who are sort of in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Emotionally needy, they don’t know how to do it and sort of like these St. Bernards drooling everywhere.”
You would think that a high profile person like David Brooks would be so shamed by being "outed" for such an egregious example of a double standard. But he won't. He gets paid lots of bucks to sit in judgement of others. A little fact like the fact that he is a hypocrite isn't going to stop him. But readers should stop reading him. I did. Several years ago. I can only take a certain amount of sleazy reporting and moral unaccountability before I decide I won't waste any more time reading somebody who commits to print his moral failings and feels no shame.

No comments: