By Peter Barry Chowka
The outing of U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) as the latest high profile alleged abuser of women – accompanied by photographic evidence – calls for a cautious analysis. Not because there is any doubt about the veracity of the accusations by Franken’s main accuser, Leeann Tweeden. After all, Ms. Tweeden has come forward with an incriminating photo and a detailed recounting of Franken’s harassment and humiliation of her in 2006, two years before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. As of this writing, Franken has issued three increasingly detailed written apologies for what he did to Ms. Tweeden which adds total credibility to her claims.
What needs to be looked at closely and critically is how the mainstream media and the powers that be – including elements of the Resistance, the Shadow Government, and the Deep State – are preparing to use this story to advance their ultimate agenda: The take down and removal from office of President Donald J. Trump.
It was surprising to see the media, and even many Democrat politicians, jump on the Franken story as soon as it broke on Thursday November 16. It was full-speed ahead to attack Franken and even to call for his resignation from the Senate. The Teflon coating that almost always protects Democrats and, until recently, most of the left-wing moguls and celebrities when they get in trouble, especially of a sexual harassment nature, was stripped away – and the feeding frenzy piling on of Franken was off and running.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not sorry to see Franken exposed for being the creep that he is. His entire career as a writer, comedian, and performer before he got into politics in 2007 reeks. Examples of his sleazy and disgusting work which have helped to lower the bar of the popular culture starting in 1975 are abundant. But until Thursday, Franken, to my knowledge, was never publicly accused of actually acting on his immature, puerile sexist beliefs.
An example of the unusual media focus on this story is the coverage of it on CNN on day one. On Thursday evening, CNN preempted the second hour of Anderson Cooper’s AC360 at 9 P.M. E.S.T. and substituted a “special edition” hour long episode of The Lead with Jake Tapper that usually airs five hours earlier.
Tapper’s special prime time show started with an uninterrupted, commercial-free replay of his entire interview with Leeann Tweeden that originally ran live on his afternoon show earlier Thursday. The fact that no commercials were shown for over 35 minutes straight was unprecedented. That kind of rare preemption of ads is usually reserved for times of really serious breaking news, like a terrorist attack or a major hurricane bearing down on the U.S.
The prerecorded segment, with a new live intro by Tapper, was followed by a new live discussion featuring familiar CNN talking heads Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator. Both of these commentators are consistently anti-Trump. From CNN’s transcript of the program:
JAKE TAPPER: And this – this is not a partisan issue.
AMANDA CARPENTER: No.
TAPPER: Democrats are doing this to women. Republicans are doing this to women.
SYMONE SANDERS: Independents have probably done it as well, Green Party folks, people that – don’t even believe in a political system.
This is about overall culture and system. We have – it has far exceed a problem. (INAUDIBLE) had a really great piece in (INAUDIBLE) a couple weeks ago specifically about sexual culture, and talking about the fact that this is from the Hills, to Hollywood, to the boardroom, everywhere in between. And so this is a system and we have to examine what is it about our culture or sexual culture that seems to support this. We talk a lot about rape culture, but rape should not have been the bar that is met for us to have a conversation about this, for us to do something. Because it’s not just rape, it’s those sexual microaggressions, the cat calling on the street, it’s the someone “pushing up” on you in an office in a professional setting.
[21:40:04] None of these things are OK, but we are only now liberated to have these conversations because women have been courageous in coming forward, so now – because this is bigger than Al Franken. . .
CARPENTER: They [U.S. Senate] can vote to censure him [Franken] to the simple majority vote and take a stand on this issue. And for that matter, Donald Trump or anyone else they see fit.
SANDERS: Yes. I mean, I guess it’s just – it just troubles me because Donald – it seems like everyone else in this moment has had to account for what they’ve done and what they’ve been accused of except for the president of the United States. . .
CARPENTER: – I remember America –
SANDERS: We are America.
CARPENTER: [In 2016] I was encouraging the delegates to vote for someone else other than Donald Trump. I stood on a panel with Van Jones. He said you cannot abort your candidate at this point in time. I said it is the right thing to do and look what happened, Donald Trump became president. . .
SANDERS: Yes. Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the accusers of Donald Trump liars. And so, people that live in glass houses have a tendency not to want to try to throw stones. And that’s what we’re seeing here.
So, the president, his hands are essentially tied. If he thinks Roy Moore should step down, I’m wondering if he then is going to turn in his resignation as president of the United States of America.
TAPPER: Well, I am hearing a lot of people today saying Al Franken needs to step down, but they’re not saying the same thing about President Trump. I mean –
SANDERS: We have to address across the board, OK? So if we are going to really attack this issue, if we really want to change the system, we have to have a certain set of standards by which we engage in this work of combating sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual microaggression. So, we can’t have one standard for somebody and another standard for someone else.
Accusations of sexual harassment and worse that were leveled against candidate Donald Trump in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, which were never heard in a court of law and largely disappeared as soon as he was elected, clearly did not stop his ascent to victory in the election. During the past year, however, the perception of him as a sexual aggressor has permeated through social media. It continues to motivate the anti-Trumpers and is now gaining new momentum. If the scorched earth campaign against men who are accused of impropriety that is gaining momentum (accusation = proof of guilt) and expanding now to include Democrats (giving it more bipartisan credibility), it is safe to assume that it will be used as an additional weapon to target President Trump for removal from office.
Thomas Lifson has an excellent quick summary of his similar concerns about the Franken story and what it might lead to in today’s American Thinker, “Al Franken’s career is collateral damage for the Dems on the way to getting Trump:”
That sinking feeling Al Franken is experiencing is the realization that his career is now a pawn in the fanatical efforts of Democrats to get President Trump out of office.. . . The logical steps for getting Trump are clear.
Step one: Establish that sexual harassment before taking office is sufficient grounds to remove someone from office. This is the necessary predicate. Franken’s departure from office will establish the purported sincerity of the Democrats in establishing this brand-new principle. . . Step two: Apply this doctrine to Roy Moore if he should win the Senate seat for which he is running. If he loses, triumphantly announce that even the reddest of red states agrees that previous misbehavior is dispositive in removing an incumbent.
Step three: Throw Bill Clinton under the bus. . . Step four: As the hysteria mounts, following the blood sacrifices, demand that President Trump be impeached for actions before he took office. Failing that, tell voters that by hanging onto office, he is disgracing the nation and telling little boys to grope their little girl classmates in first grade.
Suggestion: Pay close attention as this story unfolds. And keep Lifson’s, and my, analysis and admonitions in mind.