You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘politics’ category.
CNN’s Brian Stelter is reporting Billy Bush may never return to Today. Is the new co-anchor of the 9:00 hour simply disposable? Irredeemable? Is he not worthy of a second chance like Brian Williams whose narcissistic on-air fantasies destroyed his news credibility or CNN’s Richard Quest who was once arrested after hours in Central Park with meth in his pocket and a rope around his genitals.
Billy Bush offered a Friday night apology: “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago—I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.” He was set to apologize on air Monday morning but instead got an indefinite suspension and the cancellation of his surprise welcoming party.
If we’re going to be architects of gender equality and respect in the workplace, we have to find a new way. The old way hasn’t been working very well.
EXACTLY WHAT DID BILLY DO WRONG?
We’ve all seen the tape: a joyful road trip with Trump the Vulgarian and Billy the Wingman that somehow became Pussygate 2016. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE 10/11/16 CNN’s Brian Stelter reporting Billy Bush may never return to Today.
UPDATE: Billy Bush no longer set to apologize on NBC’s Today Monday morning
NBC News is confirming Billy Bush will be off the air Monday Today show’s 9 AM hour, three days after the Washington Post released audio tape of Bush in a lewd, predatory conversation he had with now-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2005 about women, including Bush’s then Access Hollywood co-host Nancy O’Dell.
UPDATE: CNN’s Brian Stelter is reporting Bush may never return to Today. Is Billy Bush simply disposable? Irredeemable? Is he not worthy of a second chance like Brian Williams who’s narcissistic on-air fantasies destroyed his news credibility or CNN’s Richard Quest who was once arrested after hours in Central Park with meth in his pocket and a rope around his genitals.
Sex scandals are as American as apple pie — but when one involves a presidential candidate (Trump the Vulgarian) and a member of the media (Billy the Wingman), you somehow wind up with Pussygate.
On Friday night, Bush—who is married and has three daughters—released a statement of apology:
“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago—I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Enough? Hardly. Billy is just as crass as Trump and creates a hostile work environment as he lets Trump demeans his former co-anchor, Nancy O’Dell, because she wouldn’t sleep with him although he went after her like a “bitch” (presumably in heat.)
Bush, anchor of Access Hollywood, was shilling a three-way for NBC… busing the Apprentice host to the set of an NBC soap opera for a cameo with an actress named Arianna Zucker
When they spot the actress, Bush blurts out, ” “Sheeesh, your girl’s hot as shit! In the purple.”
“Whoa! Whoa!” Trump exclaims.
“Yes! The Donald has scored!” Bush answers. With a raucous laugh, he adds: “Whoa, my man! You gotta look at her…Give her the thumbs-up. You gotta give the thumbs-up….Oh my God!”
Trump then remarks that he’s going to use some Tic Tacs, “just in case I start kissing her,” he explains. “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
“Whatever you want,” Bush agrees.
When the two frat boys get off they bus, Zucker greets Trump with a handshake.
“How about a little hug for The Donald? He just got off the bus,” Bush pimps for Trump who gives her a quick hug and acknowledges, “This is okay with Melania.
“I just got off the bus,” Bush says, and leans in for his own hug from Zucker. “There we go!” he says when the actress complies.
As an author of a book on of political sex scandals in America going back to 1700s, Fall from Grace: the History of Sex, Scandal and Corruption in American Politics (Ballantine) I have researched them all and never before has such outrage and gag reflexes been triggered by the likes of Trump and Billy
. History shows plenty of leaders who loved and lusted after women with whom they didn’t belong.
Their own words show conscience, a longing for romance, an elevation of sex and romance mixed in with their moral stumbling. Absent is a predatory sense of entitlement.
In 1786, the widowed Thomas Jefferson penned one of the greatest love letters in history to Mrs. Maria Cosway, who is married. The 12-page-long letter is a dialogue with his conscience titled, “My Head and My Heart,” in which Jefferson longs for a woman who has made him “the most wretched of all earthly beings.” The letter nobly concludes with Jefferson’s integrity winning over his desire for Cosway.
In 1796, Alexander Hamilton self-published his confession of an affair with a married woman rather than fall victim to financial blackmail during his time as the first secretary of the treasury, He detailed the entire event and included his personal struggles to end the relationship:“The intercourse with Mrs.Reynolds in the meantime continued… Her conduct make it difficult to disentangle myself.”
Warren Harding wrote love letters with erotic zeal to Mrs. Carrie Phillips for over a decade: “There is one engulfing, enthralling rule of love, the song of your whole being which is a bit sweeter — Oh Warren! Oh Warren! “ when your body quivers with divine paroxysms and your shoulder hovers for flight with mine.”
Even Lyndon Johnson added some wit to his seduction of a staffer when he climbed into her bed and instructed, “Move over, this is your President.”
Sex talk among politicians has a great range of emotion and a lot of chivalry. Not one person in high level politics is known to have ever uttered words that boasted an entitlement to sexual assault.
Friday night, Jeb Bush tweeted that no apology would be enough to forgive Donald Trump for his boasting that he can grab a woman’s pussy at will because he’s a star. I tweeted him back to ask if he felt the same about his cousin, Billy, who is seen on the tape egging him on, then pimping him off to a soap opera star for a post-Tic Tac hug. (Jeb Bush didn’t respond.)
While the GOP has bunkered in, the leadership at NBC has hunkered down, trying to access the fallout for their future star of the news division. Bush quickly issued an appropriate apology, but as they say in television, sometimes “sorry” isn’t enough.
At best, Billy Bush created a hostile work environment for those on the bus who undoubtedly decided to “go along to get along.” And who is Bush calling “Honey,” on the bus and does he know how belittling that term is for any woman in the work place.
No one thinks the news division chief, who refused to cut ties with the fully damaged Brian Williams, will summarily fire Bush either. But what should they do when the morning show is so heavily tilted with female viewers.
As a veteran network news executive who’s reported extensively on sexual harassment and has personally managed this dirty secret of the workplace as both an executive and a target (see Daily Beast “Roger Ailes Harassed Me, I Thought I Was the First and the Last), I share my final thoughts on Bush. (The voters get to decide the fate of Trump.)
First, I’d send Billy Bush off to Texas to apologize to the family elders and have his ears boxed by his aunt, Barbara Bush. That would be enough to satisfy me, personally, but there’s more to do.
What about something more meaningful for him, for the rest of the country. Why not assign Bush a Today Show series on sexual harassment, rape on campus, gender equality in Hollywood. Team him up with Jenna Bush, if she even would touch this hot mess. Let him help use this as a teachable moment for himself, first, then guide America to a better dialogue between men and women. This round, why not really groom and grow the anchor of the future.
PATERNO ISN’T THE ONLY ONE WHO FAILED TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN
UPDATE July 24, 2012: The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s $60 million penalty for Penn State’s football program has underscored the severity of the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors.
In addition, the NCAA officially stripped legendary coach Joe Paterno of his victories over the past decade, denouncing his role in a system-wide cover-up of the sex crimes which including including a rape of one boy in the team shower that was reported directly to him by an eyewitness.
I’m with NCAA executive chairman and Oregon State President Ed Ray who said yesterday, “The fundamental story of this horrific chapter should focus on the innocent children and the powerful people who let them down.”
Joe Paterno isn’t the only one who failed to protect the children, so let’s not stop our public repudiation with the one guy who’s already dead. Yes the president of Penn State was pressured to resign as was the chairman of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, but it shouldn’t stop there.
It is now time to hold accountable Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett who was attorney general during at least six of the 15 years Sandusky was molesting children and, as governor, was automatically given a seat on the Penn State Board of Trustees.
BRINGING NEW MEANING TO “AT-RISK YOUTH”
Public records show that Tom Corbett, during his campaigns for attorney general and governor, received $647,481.21 in political donations from present and former board members of The Second Mile, the non-profit charity for at-risk youth founded and run by Jerry Sandusky.
What’s more, despite personal knowledge of the Sandusky child molestation investigations, Gov. Corbett approved a $3 million state grant to The Second Mile. The grant has been put on hold, but Gov. Corbett should now address possible conflicts of interest, influence peddling and, at best, his failure to lead.
If an interview with the First Lady is, indeed, a litmus test for the strength of a new morning show anchor, Gayle King has lit up the internet. Based on the first two inaugural days of the new CBS The Morning, void of any real news, who knew the woman previously known as the BFF of O would nail the first real news-making interview of the week.
To start, there was something smart and intimate about conducting the interview in the First Lady’s office, away from the West Wing and the grandure of the White House public rooms.
Michelle Obama’s office , which I don’t remember seeing on television before, felt a bit more cramped than expected, sending a subliminal message of the humility she was trying to express as she and King addressed some of the more sensational content of the new Jody Kantor book about the Obamas.
It wasn’t just the interview questions that made this interview particularly engaging. King’s unique poise, warmth and, yes, star power ensured this viewer was glued to the set for part two. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: Now that Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors, it’s time to examine how he got away with hurting so many children for so long: who knew what and when did they know it? To that end, I begin with reposting my November blog on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett who was that state’s attorney general during at least six of the 15 years Sandusky was molesting children. To date, Corbett has refused to address why the Sandusky case stalled under his watch citing “grand jury restrictions.” Will he now step forward to explain how and why this investigation got derailed on his watch, then help assure the people of his state that future serial child molesters will be stopped much earlier than Jerry Sandusky?
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has launched one of the most effective cover-your-ass campaigns in memory, in public everywhere weighing in as a moral compass on everything from the firing of Joe Paterno (“It was the right thing to do”) to the question of whether or not to fire the graduate assistant coach who reported seeing Jerry Sandusky rape a 10-year-old but did nothing to intervene (he failed “to meet the higher moral obligation.”)
Sadly, it appears the man who became Pennsylvania’s governor in 2011 failed to meet a higher moral obligation as well. For at least six of the 15 years Jerry Sandusky is alleged to have molested children, Tom Corbett was Pennsylvania’s attorney general, the top law enforcer in the state. The case began, then stalled on his watch.
Corbett’s priorities towards the end of his AG tenure now seem more curious: he used the grand jury not to finally close in on Sandusky, but to launch a criminal investigation against two anonymous political critics and to subpoena Twitter to reveal their identities.
Gov. Corbett has spent much of his time since the Penn State scandal erupted dodging personal questions by saying he isn’t allowed to talk about the case because of grand jury restrictions.
Although various Sandusky molestation reports had been kicking around for years, the case officially landed on Corbett’s desk in 2009. According to the New York Times, officials at Clinton County high school had reported charges to the local district attorney that Mr. Sandusky had molested a boy there, but, citing a conflict of interest, the prosecutor passed it on to the attorney general’s office to investigate.
Corbett did convene a grand jury back in 2009 which begs the question: why didn’t he bring an indictment?
It’s hard to say. No one has pressed him for an answer.
Instead, reporters have accepted surrogate impressions. The New York Times, for one, quoted Kevin Harley who worked with Corbett during his years as Attorney General is now the Governor’s press secretary: “He knew what witnesses were going to the grand jury even though he was running for governor. So then he became governor, and he knew at some point that this day would be coming. He just didn’t know when it would be.”
Was running for governor too much of a distraction to bring even the most difficult of grand jury cases forward after more than a year?
David Gregory began his interview with Gov. Corbett with this extraordinary puppy pass:
MR. DAVID GREGORY: Governor Corbett, welcome to MEET THE PRESS.
GOV. TOM CORBETT (R-PA): Thank you, David.
MR. GREGORY: I know you’re limited, because you were attorney general, in speaking about the criminal investigation, but I have to ask you more broadly, are there more victims that we don’t know about?
GOV. CORBETT: I don’t know the answer to that, David. When you conduct investigations like this–and in my career, I have conducted investigations like this–the more that you can get public about what has happened, the more that you can demonstrate that law enforcement and authorities are going to assist the victims of these types of crimes, it is not uncommon to see more victims come forward.
Gregory did begin to probe how Jerry Sandusky slipped through the cracks for so many years, but bizarrely asked a nine-part complex question:
MR. GREGORY: I just have to ask you as a trustee, as the governor of the state, as the former attorney general of the state, how did this happen? I mean, was this, was this a culture of indifference? A culture of cover-up? Did it extend throughout the university? Go beyond the university to the police, to the D.A.? Where?
Gregory’s failure to as a direct question regarding Corbett’s tenure as attorney general allowed the Governor to dodge the issue completely.
GOV. CORBETT: I always wait for the results of an investigation before I issue any opinions.
Why did so many reporters give the governor such softballs when there are so many pointed questions that would have skirted any legal restrictions in the case. Here are just a few:
- What percentage of the resources of your office did you dedicate to the Sandusky investigation?
- When did the grand jury looking into Sandusky begin, end?
- How many grand juries did you convene in your last two years as attorney general?
- How many resulted in criminal indictments?
- What was your pedophile prosecution record during your tenure as AG?
- When did you first read the 100-page investigation of Jerry Sandusky produced by university police?
- What actions did you instruct your office to take based on that report?
- Once you began your campaign for governor, how often did you meet with your prosecutors to discuss the road to an indictment of Jerry Sandusky?
- Did your criminal investigation that involved the Twitter subpoena result in an indictment?
- When was your last official conversation about the Sandusky case and what was discussed?
- Had you decided not to bring an indictment against Jerry Sandusky?
- What, if any, was your “pass down” advice (on the Sandusky case) to the attorney general who succeeded you.
As attorney general, Tom Corbett did create a team to go after pedophiles and other assorted child abusers, although he has more often spoken publicly about a disturbing case he successfully prosecuted as a young district attorney where a pedophile used a Christian charity to recruit his victims.
Maybe Corbett did more or tried harder than it appears. In the scheme of things, he’s probably not any more of the devil than those who did “just barely enough” under legal obligations. He’s also not any less of an ostrich — or a coward in his failure to now say what he could have done, what he should have done and what laws must be changed tomorrow.
After we ask the right questions of our elected officials, perhaps we can find out what Dottie Sandusky knew and when she knew it.
Poor Gloria Cain. I’m afraid Herman Cain’s wife of 43 years is about to suffer some of the indignities experienced by the women who have accused him of egregious groping and abuse of power.
There will be many who won’t believe Gloria Cain’s words, many who think she’s only speaking out for her big payday in the end.
With his poll numbers dropping ever since multiple women have accused him of sexual harassment, candidate Cain has now brought his wife to Greta.
And so, the political wife who has stayed in the background now breaks her silence.
“You hear the graphic allegations and we know that would have been something that’s totally disrespectful of her as a woman,” she says. “And I know the type of person he is. He totally respects women.”
“I’m thinking he would have to have a split personality to do the things that were said,” she says.
Is Gloria Cain a shrewd political wife? Or is she like so many others who never see any wrongdoing either because a) they’re too trusting or b) they are married to a charmer who wears a “mask” at home or c) all of the above. Read the rest of this entry »
LAZY REPORTING, DISLIKE OF BACHMANN FUELS CONTINUED FOG OF PHARMA
Has broadcast news been consciously or subconsciously bullied, compromised by the large amount of ad dollars pharmaceutical companies have pumped into their shrinking flagship programs?
Or was it just too hard to resist focusing on another Michele Bachmann gaffe instead of the most important thing she, or just about anyone has had to say in the Republican campaign for president: that government should not mandate vaccinating our daughters with the controversial drug, Gardasil®.
Some people have all the luck and Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of them. He’s had good political fortune. He married a billionairess. Now, it turns out, the 32-year-old housekeeper, who accused him of raping her on the job in the Sofitel Hotel, looks like a terrible witness. In fact, if you listen to all the current cable chatter, you’d think she could be the one heading to jail. Read the rest of this entry »