The Roy Moore story was going exactly the way the left and the media wanted. Every day brought new allegations against the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, followed by new controversy and further division within the GOP on a key election. Then something happened to flip the script – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Franken, a longtime comedian and “Saturday Night Live” regular before entering politics, had his former life come back to haunt him. KABC radio anchor Leeann Tweeden said Franken had assaulted her, kissing her aggressively during a USO Tour in 2006, and then groping her for a humiliating photo while she was asleep on a plane.
The two were in a skit together, written by Franken, where they were supposed to kiss. Tweeden said that Franken repeatedly insisted that they had to rehearse the kiss.
“We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” Tweeden said.
The photo was worse, showing a sleeping Tweeden with Franken appearing to grope her breasts.
Franken issued a lame apology and then another more-detailed one. Suddenly, the tidal wave of sexual misconduct claims once more shifted toward the left.
Early in the day Thursday, some journalists downplayed Franken’s situation. CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger put a PR spin on the scandal saying: “This is scratching the surface. He was not a member of the Congress at the time this occurred. He was just a comedian.”
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt tried to rationalize Franken’s behavior. She said that Franken “took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially – not actually groping – but mock-groping her while she was asleep.”
ABC’s schlock-fest “The View” tried to move the story away from Franken and onto President Trump. “What about Trump, his people are saying that those women who accused him are liars!” Co-host Joy Behar told the audience. Interestingly, a photo of Franken allegedly grabbing Behar’s breast also surfaced, according to USA Today.
The story forced Roy Moore’s troubles off the lead spot on the evening news for all three broadcast networks. Two of them even discussed whether congressional investigations will cost Franken his job. As NBC anchor Lester Holt asked: “Will he be forced from the Senate?”
The result of all the sexual misconduct discussions may have undermined the dam holding back stories about sexual harassment and assault allegations against Bill Clinton. The New York Times ran a column from Michelle Goldberg stating clearly: “I Believe Juanita,” meaning Juanita Broderick, who accused Bill Clinton of raping her. And CNN host Jake Tapper noted the real issue with Bill Clinton’s accusers was how the “media treated those women poorly.”
2. Creepy Joe Biden: Former Vice President Joe Biden had some of the worst timing possible this week. The creepy-grabby Biden dropped promotion of his new book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” to push his presidential hopes right in the midst of the sex harassment allegations. It highlighted how journalism has downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s creepy side for many years.
It didn’t take long for conservatives to float images and a video around showing all sorts of nausea-inducing Biden scenes. Even the HuffPost declared his candidacy bad news: “Joe Biden 2020 Is A Terrible Idea In A Post-Weinstein America.”
HuffPost Washington Bureau Chief Amanda Terkel said simply: “Biden is the wrong guy to bear the standard of any party purporting to speak for the victims of unaccountable power.” The lefty Daily Beast dropped a similar piece within minutes of the HuffPost, complete with a compilation of Biden’s creepier moments.
Strangely, New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth defended Biden and called the allegations part of “a new alt-right fake news meme” depicting Biden as a “predator.”
3. Trump Hitting the Bottle … of Water: Donald Trump held a press conference this week to celebrate his foreign tour and the media obsessed about him drinking out of a bottle of water. This wasn’t just reminiscent of the media feeding frenzy over Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., it was further spurred by the senator.
NBC called it: “Trump’s ‘Water’-Gate” on screen. At least the network hasn’t called President Trump “Nixon” … yet. White House Correspondent Kristen Welker depicted it as “this awkward moment that lit up social media, the President pausing to take a sip of water.” MSNBC went gaga over the bottle. “Trump takes two water breaks in one speech,” it headlined a video.
The “CBS Evening News” spent 44 seconds on the story, mocking Trump’s speech, “that appeared for a time might run as long as the 12-day journey itself.”
4. Lefty Protest Gets Kaepernick “Citizen of the Year”: Name country singer Blake Shelton People’s Sexiest Man of 2017 and left-wing media go in an uproar. Pick out-of-work quarterback Colin Kaepernick as GQ’s “Citizen of the Year” and sane people look at you stupefied.
Kaepernick worked with the magazine to “reclaim the narrative of his protest.” So they photographed him in Harlem “intending to evoke the spirit of Muhammad Ali’s anti-Vietnam War protests.”
Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry dared criticize the choice and suggest Houston Texans star J.J. Watt was a better pick for raising $37 million for hurricane relief. At the New York Daily News, Linda Stasi mocked McHenry as “the whitest woman on the planet” to defend “a true heroic modern-day civil rights fighter.”
Rolling Stone tried to depict the entire league’s current treatment of black quarterbacks as “problematic.” The magazine claimed the benching of Buffalo Bills starter Tyrod Taylor was handled unfairly. The article said that “if the NFL were completely fair, he'd also be making more than (Ravens quarterback Joe) Flacco.” Except prior to his injury, Flacco had an excellent playoff record and also won a Super Bowl. Taylor not so much.
5. Hurray For Hollywood: Even without the Franken allegations tarring a former favorite son, it was still a tough week for Tinseltown. “The Old Vic Theater in London has received a total of 20 allegations against Kevin Spacey since his first accuser came forward, all of them from men,” wrote The Daily Caller. Allegations also surfaced that star Sylvester Stallone had forced a then-16-year-old girl into a threesome, which he denies.
A new truTV documentary is attacking one of the most beloved shows on television – “The SImpsons.” The documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” debuts Nov. 19 and goes after the show for its portrayal of the Indian convenience store owner Apu. The character is even voiced by non-Indian actor Hank Azaria.
Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart told The New York Times that people who long for a more conservative culture “live in a nostalgic world.” His response to them? “Here’s what I would say: Tough s***.”