Fox anchor: Older men dating teenage girls was “part of the past” in the South

Wash. Examiner's Hugo Gurdon: “The media have kind of mingled” accusations against Roy Moore “with a complete disregard for the difference in the culture of Alabama 30 or 40 years ago.”

From the December 12 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered Overtime:

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HARRIS FAULKNER (HOST): So we've seen some of the criticism now, and you saw the Congressman Gomert (R-TX) also talking about ways in which he thinks that Roy Moore will have a victory here. And your thoughts are -- and I don't know if you term it “fake media” or what it is in your book but it's actually helped his cause?

HUGO GURDON: No, I think that what has happened is this. Roy Moore has always been recognized by a lot of people around him as an unattractive, unappealing character. But the reporting of the last month or six weeks during which the sexual harassment allegations and the sexual abuse allegations have come up, the media have kind of comingled two different things. One is the actual offenses that he is alleged to have committed, the sexual contact with a 14-year-old and there was also allegations about him trying to force a young woman into having some kind of sexual encounter in a car. Those are actual offenses but the media has kind of mingled that with a complete disregard for the difference in the culture of Alabama 30 or 40 years ago. Right in the first Washington Post story, two of the women, two of the four women, recounted that their mothers were actually rather pleased, in fact delighted, that they were dating Roy Moore. One of the women said that her mother regarded Roy Moore as marriage material and allowed her to stay out late beyond her curfew to date Roy Moore, the other woman said that her mother when she heard that she was dating Roy Moore said, you are the luckiest girl in the world. And I think the point here is that in rural America at that time, and in Alabama it wasn't unusual, let alone automatically disreputable for teen and a 30-year-old man to be dating. Frank Luntz did a focus group just recently, and there were people in the focus group saying that their grandmothers had married at age 13 and 14. I think that by mixing these things up, the media has probably prompted a number of voters in Alabama to think, this is just the elite opinion forms of the Northeast and they are scorning and sneering at us deplorables. And this may mean they will give Roy Moore a pass for things that might actually be offenses.

FAULKNER: You know what's interesting? I'm going to take some grief, I'm already ready for it on Twitter right now and other social media, for having this conversation but I'm from the South. So as I listen to you -- originally, I am -- whether those things were right or wrong in the past, we can have very good conversation about that today, but we should not ignore the fact that that is part of the past, it's just like any other part of our past. It's a good discussion to have and to really look at where things were and where they are. And we certainly can overlay like tapestry what our value system is now, but to start at baseline I think is very important.

GURDON: And to have that conversation is not to excuse any offenses.


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