On his X show this week, Tucker Carlson interviewed Larry Sinclair, a man who claims to have smoked crack and slept with Barack Obama in 1995. I found the entire thing tawdry and ugly —and not only because I think the guy is full of crap.
Some right-wing social media personalities find an aversion to information warfare a sign of weakness. There are plenty of solid reasons not to join a mob recklessly accusing a politician — or anyone, for that matter — of smoking crack and cheating on his wife that have absolutely nothing to do with politics or winning the approval of liberals. One is basic decency.
But, yes, the left did not show the same civility in the past. And it’s laughable for journalists to complain about Tucker’s interview. There’s little ethical difference between the coverage of the alleged sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh and Carlson interviewing Sinclair — other than one of those two stories had serious political consequences and involved meritless accusations of odious criminal behavior.
Moreover, Tucker’s not coming to any conclusions about Sinclair’s allegations, right? He’s merely reporting on them. He’s just asking questions.
Yes, Sinclair has a long history of legal trouble. But that’s not the only gauge of credibility, nor is it necessarily dispositive. Unlike Sinclair, Christine Blasey Ford would not even offer a place or time for the alleged assault perpetrated by Kavanaugh. Not one witness corroborated her story — not even her longtime close friend or any of her 70-something classmates did so.
For that matter, there is still no evidence that Blasey Ford had ever met or known Kavanaugh at all. Her claims have zero credibility. Her accusation would have been laughed out of any court of law, and it should have been laughed out of every newsroom. Yet, Democrats still smear the justice with unfalsifiable accusations of sexual assault as a matter of policy.
But forget Blasey.
The legacy media play this game in which they pretend to innocently “explain” or ask questions regarding (highly selective) scurrilous accusations — spreading them widely in the process — without ever actually endorsing them or gauging their veracity.
“Who is Julie Swetnick, the third Kavanaugh accuser?” read a four-bylined headline in The Washington Post in October of 2018. Among other things, she is “an experienced Web developer in the Washington area who has held multiple security clearances for her work on government-related networks.” CNN also wondered, “Who is Julie Swetnick, the third woman with allegations about Brett Kavanaugh?” “Julie Swetnick Is Third Woman to Accuse Brett Kavanaugh of Sexual Misconduct,” answered The New York Times. “Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick speaks out on sexual abuse allegations” was NBC News’ contribution. And so on and so forth.
Well, Swetnick, who accused the Supreme Court nominee of engaging in a gang rape, was a fraud. And though not every outlet acted irresponsibly, most did (and consciously so.) Shyster lawyer Michael Avenatti, the guy who trotted out these accusers — now serving 16 years in federal prison — was a fixture on CNN for weeks.
But forget Swetnick.
In a book about the Kavanaugh controversy, New York Times reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly claimed to have uncovered another victim … one that reportedly couldn’t even recall the incident herself. The two were interviewed by basically every major outlet as experts on the matter without any pushback. This is the standard legacy media uses when leveling accusations.
How about the Trump “golden shower” dossier claim — part of the fabricated oppo file paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC that helped the DOJ concoct the Russia collusion hoax? Outlets like CNN (“Mueller investigated rumored compromising tapes of Trump in Moscow”), The Washington Post (“Real or ‘fake news’? Either way, allegations of lewd tape pose challenge for Trump”), The New York Times (“Lordy, Is There a Tape?”), and virtually every lefty outlet, gave the pee tape attention. There is literally no accusation against conservatives that won’t get an airing from the media.
Some people will, no doubt, argue that the media has no choice but to cover these people because major figures in a political party are talking about them and the DOJ or FBI are investigating. Yes, Senate Democrats said they believed the women who accused Kavanaugh of rape. And Kamala Harris put unsubstantiated allegations into the congressional record. These are terrible people.
If Republicans had done the same, an army of fact-checkers, reporters, analysts, and columnists would have been mobilized to debunk, contextualize, and dismiss the claims. They would treat any unfounded accusations as they do the Biden family corruption allegations (for which there is tons of corroborating and circumstantial proof) by ignoring it as best they can and playing defense. But, the entire process changes depending on the accused.
Because, by the standards used for the dossier, or Blasey Ford, or Swetnick, every network should have a story on the Sinclair interview right now.