This Sunday on MSNBC's AM Joy, Joy Reid's panel, which included former Media Matters staffer Eric Boehlert and Christina Lopez, author Gabriel Sherman (who has been one of the best reporters out there covering the sexual harassment problems over at Fox), and Voto Latino's Maria Teresa Kumar, did a very nice job of breaking down the "both siderist" nonsense we've been hearing from the right--and from many in the corporate media. To them, elected Democrats accepting donations from producer Harvey Weinstein is the same as the right turning a blind eye to the actions of our pussy-grabber-in-chief.
REID: I’m glad you made the Roger Ailes comparison, Eric, because here's the thing. So you had a culture at Fox News which Gabe has been key on covering that included not just Roger Ailes but also Bill O'Reilly and other people at Fox News we've heard allegations about. And so, you've now got this assumption on the part of Republicans that not only did Hollywood and New York know about Weinstein, but somehow every single Democrat to whom he wrote a check knew about it, too. Do you have any reporting or information that Democrats--that political people--had any idea about Harvey Weinstein?
BOEHLERT: No, we haven't seen anything like that. I think Democrats have done the right thing. They denounced him across the board. They sent the money back. They've sent it to charity. They've done everything Republicans should have done last year whether it was Roger Ailes, whether it was Bill O'Reilly, whether it was Donald Trump, nominee for president of the United States. These people didn't return a dime, they didn't dis-invite Trump from anything. Nobody said, “Hey, you shouldn't be our nominee.”
Look, what Weinstein did was completely wrong. Everyone agrees, so... who's defending him?
REID: Is anyone defending him?
BOEHLERT: There's kind of this straw man narrative that I think, frankly, a lot of people in the political press are trying to push, that this is kind of the both sides, right? The press loves the both sides approach. They're trying to make this stick, but there's no... the facts don't support it.↓ Story continues below ↓
REID: And that is I think one of the important points, Christina, is this sort of pitch in media to do a both sides narrative and to presume that both sides behave the same way and to presume that somehow Democrats have to answer for Harvey Weinstein, when literally no one is defending him, when literally on the other side they're covering for Donald Trump despite this.
After reading through the list of women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Reid continued.
REID: No one is asking that every single Republican who's been defending Donald Trump go through an answer for that.
LOPEZ: And that's the thing, Joy. It's really interesting to see that a lot of the media that are right now claiming that people are defending Harvey Weinstein, when it would be hard to find anyone defending this, are the same people who are right now propping Bill O'Reilly up, allowing him to do a comeback tour and basically helping him rehabilitate his image.
And at the same time, these are the people that never said the names of these women, that never gave them a platform to speak and who are the first to say that, you know, basically put doubts in women that dare come forward to say that Donald Trump actually sexually harassed them or basically made a hostile environment for them to work in.
Sadly, what was missing from this conversation are the names of the "both siderist" enablers at Reid's own network, like her colleague Chuck Todd, or CNN's Chris Cillizza who wrote this stinker of an article a couple of days ago, asserting that Harvey Weinstein is now a big problem for Democrats:
Weinstein has, for years and years, been a major -- and high profile -- Democratic donor and fundraiser. He has doled out hundreds of thousands -- and helped raise millions -- for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Weinstein had made 185 individual donations to a variety of Democratic candidate and liberal-aligned organizations dating back to the early 1990s. [...]
It seems like Weinstein's boorish behavior -- to put it mildly -- was an open secret in the circles he ran in. The prevailing sentiment when the New York Times published its piece was not "WOW!" but rather "Finally!"
That's important. If everyone around Weinstein knew about his inappropriate conduct around women, why were so many Democratic politicians willing to pal around with him and/or accept his money?
The answer to that question will likely be some version of this: "I had no idea that he was capable of this sort of thing."
Which may well be true. But, it leads to this obvious question: Why not? As in: If everyone around Weinstein knew he acted like this around women -- particularly those with whom his status in Hollywood he believed gave him a measure of control -- why didn't someone ever mention something to Obama, Clinton, Warren or any of the other politicians and organizations that Weinstein lavished money on?
That's a question that should be asked of every prominent Democrat with ties -- financial or otherwise -- to Weinstein. And it's one that doesn't have a good answer.
Here are some of the responses to Cillizza on Twitter:
Updated to indicate Eric Boehlert is a former Media Matters staffer.