Appearing on Fox News's media watchdog program over the weekend, National Review editor Rich Lowry complained the women who have accused Republican Herman Cain with sexual harassment haven't been treated with the same "pall of suspicion and disdain that surrounded Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers."
Lowry's complaint though, is comically inaccurate. Last week Rupert Murdoch's American media properties (New York Post, Fox News and Fox Business) devoted all sort of times and energy to viciously smearing Cain's accusers. Or, to put it more politely, casting a "pall of suspicion and disdain" on them.
In Murdoch's Post, columnist Andrew Peyser took misogyny to whole new heights (depths?) by trashing Cain accuser Sharon Bialek as a "shameless" gold digging "tart."
Meanwhile, Murdoch's cable channel has been ankle-deep in Cain accuser sludge. Fox News Sean Hannity declared the public, detailed sexual assault allegations against Cain represented a "smear campaign," while Hannity guest Dick Morris chortled that he was looking forward to Bialek's "spread in Playboy." Hopping over to Fox Business, Morris attacked her as a "gold digger." Fox contributor Andrea Tantaros belittled Bialek a "scam artist," while demanding Cain accusers accept responsibility for inviting sexual harassment at the hands of the candidate.
And online, Fox dumped all over Bialek, accusing her of having "a Chicago smell." (Stay classy, Roger Ailes.)
As Media Matters' Solange Uwimana noted:
Indeed, those who tuned into Fox News the past two weeks were treated to just that: insults about the accusers, mockery, and dismissal of the alleged victims' claims. Sexual harassment "can have a devastating impact" on victims, but Fox News chose to make a joke of it. The network even devolved into blaming the victim, with Sean Hannity blasting one Cain accuser for "staying in the car" with him after the alleged harassment.
If Lowry's anxious to see Cain's accusers hit with a pall of suspicion and disdain, he should sample more Murdoch media. They're smearing the women in plain sight.