Nate Jackson / Nov. 10, 2017

One Moore Hit Piece

Republican Roy Moore is guilty until proven innocent because he's been convicted by the media.

Did Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore engage in inappropriate sexual advances toward a 14-year-old in 1979? That’s what The Washington Post’s latest blockbuster story alleges. Not just one girl either; three other women told the Post that Moore pursued and/or engaged in relationships with them when they were minors, though only the first alleged non-consensual behavior.

We’ll begin with this question: What did the Post reporters know and when did they know it?

Given the prevalence in recent months of allegations of sexual harassment, assault and worse, it’s frankly no surprise that another man would find himself on the wrong end of such accusations. More pointedly, given that the Alabama special Senate election is just over a month away and Democrat Doug Jones is within striking distance, now is the perfect political timing to assassinate Moore’s Christian character. After all, Democrats are fresh off their wins in Virginia and New Jersey Tuesday…

Moore declared it was exactly that, saying in a statement, “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.” Furthermore, he insisted the story is “garbage” that is “the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.”

Senate Republicans, however, weren’t exactly quick to defend him. “If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a formal statement on behalf of all Republican senators.

If Moore is guilty, that’s the obvious course — at a minimum. But how is he supposed to prove his innocence in the current media environment of “guilty until proven innocent”? The statute of limitations on such crimes in Alabama is just three years, so Moore no longer has legal recourse to be declared innocent. In any case, as Rush Limbaugh has long put it, “It’s not the nature of the evidence; it’s the seriousness of the charge.”

One interesting tidbit from the Post: None of the women sought out the paper to tell their story. “While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.” The primary accuser also says she voted for Donald Trump.

When were those “ensuing three weeks”? And what Democrat tipped off the Post’s reporter? Was it the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center?

The Post certainly did a professional job with its Clinton/DNC-style anti-Moore dossier. Reporters anticipated the questions opponents would ask and either answered them or obfuscated. On the other hand, there’s something about the report that seems credible. Moore married a woman 14 years his junior, lending weight to the idea that he preferred (far) younger women. And witnesses corroborate the other relationships at the time.

But if the allegations of what would be molestation and pedophilia are true, how did the story sit in the closet for nearly 40 years, during which time Moore was, among other things, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, only to come out one month before a Senate election that could help tip the scales to Democrats?

Whether or not any of this political bushwhack story is true, it doesn’t look good for Moore or the GOP — because he’s already been convicted in the media.


Update: Jim Geraghty’s take at National Review is worth pondering: “If you believe Moore’s denials, you have to believe that four of these women, with no evidence that they know each other or ever met each other, all decided to lie when the Washington Post showed up at their door, that they all spontaneously made up a story that they were able to recount in detail in multiple retellings to reporters over a period of weeks, and they all chose to make up similar stories about Moore’s sexual pursuit.”

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