The Sexual Harassment Bandwagon

After Herman Cain’s news conference yesterday, MS-NBC’s resident screamer/mouthfrother Chris Matthews assembled his usual collection of clueless LSM yackers to speculate on what they had just heard. David “Howdy Doody” Gregory, referring to Herman Cain’s recollection of what happened, expressed astonishment that the National Restaurant Association would pay thousands of dollars to settle a dispute over an innocent hand gesture.

That may seem reasonable, unless you have the slightest connection with the reality of running a business, which none of these inside-the-beltway elitists ever will.

From the CNN story, “Sexual harassment settlements: ‘cost of doing business’:”

Such allegations are expensive and time-consuming to defend against, said Caren Goldberg, a human resources management professor at American University who testifies as an expert witness on employment law.

There are legal fees to take into account, as well as the cost of tying up your executive and others employees in hours, maybe even days of depositions. There is also the risk to reputation and the expensive matter of going into damage control if a publicity nightmare strikes, she said.

“Sometimes, even if the company is right in principle, it’s more cost-effective to settle than fight on a principle. It’s the cost of doing business,” she said. “It doesn’t take many attorney hours to incur five digits’ worth of fees. That could be a low-cost settlement right there that makes the problem go away and swears everyone to secrecy.”

 Now, consider when the settlement reached in Herman Cain’s case occurred: 1999. MMM …what was going on in 1999? Oh yes, that was the year that Bill Clinton was acquitted in his impeachment trial. Remember that? If managers consider these distracting, potentially expensive disputes something to pay to get rid fast of today, imagine how they must have viewed them in the wake of the revelations about Bill and Monica?

And yet, as unbelievable as this seems, Mr. Gregory is missing something even more significant. At the risk of being cynical, let me suggest that perhaps Mr. Cain’s accuser may have been, shall we say, inspired by the incessant bombardment we all endured about sexual harassment in 1999.

Consider what happened after Anita Hill displayed great “courage,” according to the Liberal Death Star, by suddenly remembering, after following him around for years, what a horrible person Clarence Thomas was:

Initial fears that Ms. Hill’s shoddy treatment by the Judiciary Committee would deter victims of sexual harassment from coming forward proved unfounded. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where Ms. Hill worked for Mr. Thomas during his time as its chairman, saw a 50 percent increase in sexual harassment filings the year after the hearing. In the 2010 fiscal year, according to the commission, the number of such filings with the E.E.O.C. and state and local fair employment agencies totaled 11,717, compared with 6,883 in 1991.

By “shoddy treatment,” I assume that the New York Times means the fact that under questioning from Sen. Arlen Specter, Ms. Hill admitted what she had first denied; that is, that Senate staffers had told her that her statement would be shown to Clarence Thomas, which might cause him to withdraw. How dare he expose her lies!

It’s clear that there is a bandwagon effect when these high-profile cases become a media obsession. All the cool kids are doing it! In 1999, that was true of sexual harrassment charges. Does this fact mean that Herman Cain did not do what he’s accused of doing? Of course not. Does it mean that when Jurassic media talking heads discuss this case they are as disconnected from reality as usual? Absolutely.

Meanwhile, while “journalists” chase down sleazy accusations from 15 years ago, Iran is progressing nicely in its quest for nuclear weapons and our economy continues to limp along, so at least we’ve got our priorities straight.

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Politics, Pop Culture, the Hottest Issues of the Day, and Your calls. The Teri O’Brien Show, featuring America’s Original Conservative Warrior Princess, Live and in color, Sundays 4-6 pm Central time  at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Teri-OBrien. Daring to Commit Common Sense, Fearlessly, and More Important, Cheerfully, in the Age of Obama.

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