Rose, Thrush latest big-name journalists caught in sex scandals, and other media disasters

Where do we begin? With journalists covering the sex scandals rocking politics? Or with the sex scandals rocking journalism? Journalists came out looking bad in both.

Journalists dominated the sex harassment discussion – not for their reporting, but for their own alleged actions. CBS and PBS dumped veteran liberal journalist Charlie Rose and The New York Times suspended anti-Trump reporter Glenn Thrush.

“Media outlets are devoting tremendous resources to investigating their colleagues and competitors,” wrote The Hill’s Jonathan Easley.

The Washington Post broke the Rose story. It began: “Eight women have told The Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

Rose’s 45-year career came to a crashing end. The fall of the reliably liberal journalist became the lead story on the morning news show he had hosted.

The left-wing site Vox did a similar, scathing takedown of Thrush, who joined The Times after covering the presidential campaign.

Writer Laura McGann detailed  her encounter with Thrush and added details from others, “from unwanted groping and kissing to wet kisses out of nowhere to hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol. Each woman described feeling differently about these experiences: scared, violated, ashamed, weirded out. I was – and am – angry.”

Vanity Fair followed with speculation on Thrush’s future, noting how one source “said that high-level Times figures are ‘torn’ about whether Thrush should keep his job.”

The scandal is taking a toll on other outlets. NPR’s David Folkenflik described his network as being in chaos. He wrote that “the network finds itself confronted by a series of dispiriting developments: a CEO on medical leave; a chief news executive forced out over sexual harassment allegations; the sudden resignation of a board chairman; fresh complaints over inappropriate behavior by colleagues; and a network roiled by tensions over the treatment of its female workers.”

2. Sex-Harassment Coverage Also Bad: It was almost impossible to keep up with the sexual misconduct allegations against politicians this week – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.; President Bill Clinton; Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.; and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, were the most prominent.

Franken had new allegations of groping, which resulted in yet another apology. That’s his third. PBS dropped him from a special honoring comedian David Letterman, who also had his own issues with sexual misconduct. Even the Post observed Franken’s era on “Saturday Night Live” “was full of jokes disparaging women.”

Yet Franken has his defenders. Joy Behar of “The View” called his actions “odd” and “careless.” Then she linked the issue to President Trump, like most stories these days. “If Franken has to resign, then Trump needs to resign,” she told viewers.

Co-host Sunny Hostin defended Clinton as well. “I mean if we’re talking about Bill Clinton, he paid the price,” she said.

The timing was odd since The Daily Mail reported on new allegations against Clinton that day. “Bill Clinton is facing explosive new charges of sexual assault from four women, according to highly placed Democratic Party sources and an official who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations,” wrote Ed Klein.

Conyers “secretly settled a sexual harassment claim with a staffer in 2015,” The Hill reported.  Yet, ABC and CBS downplayed that scandal.

Release of a nude photo of Barton made the political scandal bipartisan. The Washington Post  treated him as the bad guy for trying to stop publication of the photo. Given the media hue and cry about “revenge porn,” this seemed oddly political. Reporter Mike DeBonis begged people on Twitter to send him dirt on Barton: “If you were inappropriately propositioned by Barton, we'd like to hear your story,” he posted.

The overall reaction to political harassment was tied to both Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and Trump. And pundits blasted the GOP consistently.

New York Times pretend conservative columnist David Brooks took his anger out on the right as usual on PBS. Brooks bashed “defenders of Roy Moore” as “all a bunch of hypocrites.” Then he went even further, calling them “heretics.”

3. The Washington Post Is Neutral? Nope!: Under the Trump administration, the Washington Post has become an openly anti-Trump outlet, attacking the administration in every section.

Reporter Janell Ross took the liberal paper’s bias to a new level this week when she appeared on a panel at a secret liberal donor conference backed by billionaire George Soros. The story, broken by the Free Beacon, showed she hadn’t told her supervisors “about her participation in this event.”

The event’s agenda, “Beyond #Resistance: Reclaiming our Progressive Future," flies in the face of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. That code urges journalists to “act independently” and says: “Journalists should: Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”

The Free Beacon regularly shines light on Democracy Alliance events, despite the group’s attempts to stay in the shadows. This time, it put pressure on the Post to take action against Ross.

Perhaps the Post should examine Ross’s Twitter feed before moving forward. It’s a hilarious look at what “neutral” journalists consider to be a moderate worldview. Two months of tweets push an openly left-wing, anti-Trump agenda through comments and retweets. She cites numerous left-wing celebrities including Hillary Clinton sycophant Peter Daou, fired anti-Trump attorney Preet Bharara, and MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

One particularly obvious one was retweeting fellow lefty Post journalist Radley Balko saying: “Republicans  1st Amendment. Unless you're Muslim. Or media. Or a cop critic. Or anti-war. Or a flag burner.”

4. Donald Trump Is Like Charles Manson?: This is the ultimate click-hate kind of comparison. America’s most-famous psycho killer finally dies and the alt-left media race to link him to Trump. Newsweek’s nuttery was especially bad since it was once a legitimate publication.

Newsweek posted a story headlined: “How murderer Charles Manson and President Donald Trump used similar language to gain followers.” The similar language is English. The outlet quoted American Psychoanalytic Association’s Mark Smaller saying Trump “uses the kind of ‘emotional’ rhetoric that appeals to people who feel alienated similar to the kind of language Manson used in seducing his followers,” reported The Hill.

After Newsweek was blasted across social media, it changed the headline to: “HOW MURDERER CHARLES MANSON USED LANGUAGE TO GAIN FOLLOWERS.” Newsweek updated the story with a laughable clarification: “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek's editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.” 

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.