ONTD Political

Donald Trump Is Accused Of Raping A 13-Year-Old. Why Haven’t The Media Covered It?

3:10 pm - 11/02/2016
There are two big reasons.

If you’ve been anywhere near Facebook or Twitter in the past several months, you’re probably aware that there is a case working its way through the courts that accuses Donald Trump of forcibly raping a 13-year-old girl in 1994.

On Wednesday, the woman, who remains anonymous, will appear at a press conference with her new attorney, Lisa Bloom, the daughter of Gloria Allred. Bloom wrote a column about the case in The Huffington Post last summer.

For months, people have wondered why this case isn’t getting more ― or, really, any ― attention in the press, even now that Trump faces an actual court date: a Dec. 16 status conference with the judge.

The allegations aren’t entirely implausible on their face. The accuser says Trump raped her repeatedly at parties thrown by since-convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was widely known to throw wild parties with young women and girls. Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served a small portion of an 18-year sentence.

In a New York magazine profile of Epstein before he went to prison, and long before Trump ran for president, Trump acknowledged that he knows Epstein. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,’’ Trump says in the story. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it ― Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

The lawsuit against Trump includes affidavits from two anonymous women who say they were witnesses. Yet there’s been little coverage of the case. As one of the media outlets that has not published much about it, I can say there are two main reasons we shied away.

The accuser is anonymous.

The accuser in this case is anonymous, and the suit is filed under a pseudonym in New York. A previous case filed in California used the name “Katie Johnson.” To accuse someone in print of forcibly raping a child is about as serious a charge as can be made. To do that with an anonymous accuser would be an extraordinary step, putting the journalist’s reputation on the line.

One senior national reporter who has covered both campaigns said that the anonymity was the main stumbling block. “If it’s something that’s this damaging to a candidate, you better be sure, and she’s anonymous,” the reporter said, asking for anonymity to talk openly about the decision-making process. “Look, if she came out and she would do an interview, that would be different, but she’s an anonymous plaintiff.”

To go forward with an anonymous source shifts responsibility for the veracity of the claims from the accuser to the reporter. If the person is named and on record, the reporter can argue that he or she is merely reporting what the person is saying, and people are free to believe her or not. But giving anonymity says something different to an audience. It suggests, I, as a journalist, have investigated this person and these charges, and find them sufficiently credible to bring them forward without a name attached. That requires an extreme amount of confidence in the source.

And the way the case rolled out did not inspire that confidence.

The accuser’s public backers have been savaged in the press.


One of the leading organizers of the effort to get the press to pay attention to this case is Steve Baer, an outspoken Republican donor. Baer last made news when his effort to out an alleged affair between Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) contributed to McCarthy dropping his bid to become House speaker. Baer’s style is to liberally cc and bcc an endless stream of powerful people, and it usually has the effect of getting none of them to listen.

When I wrote to him Monday night, for instance, to say I was going to write a story on why the media were avoiding the child rape story, he replied and cc’ed Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, along with a host of other media figures.

And Baer, in fact, is among the more credible advocates the accuser has going for her.

The accuser initially filed the case on her own behalf in California, but it was tossed for not stating an articulable violation of her civil rights. The case has since been refiled in New York, under the representation of a patent lawyer named Thomas Meagher. A patent lawyer handling the case hasn’t inspired the most confidence. (He didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

The least credible backer has to be a man who may or may not be named Al Taylor, but is more likely named Norm Lubow, and was apparently a former producer for “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Media outlets who have tried to get in touch with Johnson have had extreme difficulty doing so. The Daily Beast did a deep dive into the case and the people supporting the accuser in July, and came to a devastating conclusion: “Far from derailing the Trump train, Katie Johnson and her supporters seem to be in an out-of-control clown car whose wheels just came off,” wrote Brandy Zadrozny.

The Guardian and Jezebel also looked into the situation and came up with equally unfavorable takes. A writer who actually talked to Johnson came away confused about what to make of the allegations. It’s unclear if anybody has managed to speak to Tiffany Doe or Joan Doe, the two witnesses cited in the case. “Jezebel, The Guardian and The Daily Beast effectively poisoned the well on Katie’s credibility,” Baer lamented to HuffPost, accurately.

If you’re still struggling to understand why the story didn’t get more coverage, imagine for a moment that you’re a reporter thinking about spending weeks looking into it. Then go read the Daily Beast article. Still ready to go down that rabbit hole?

ut as the reality of the court date increasingly dawns on the press, coupled with Trump’s own admission that he sexually assaults women, the case is getting harder to ignore. Baer said that two media outlets have recently done interviews with Johnson, and stories could pop at any minute.

Erik Wemple, a media reporter at the Washington Post, said he hasn’t talked to many journalists about their decision to shy away from the story. “I can’t cover everything,” he said. “Around the spring, the Washington Post was getting hammered for assigning two dozen reporters to investigate Trump. I wrote a piece wondering whether that was anywhere near enough. It wasn’t, as it turns out.”

In some ways, given the role of Facebook in disseminating news, it matters less this cycle than any other previous one that the media has largely ignored the case. Open platforms, too, have helped the story circulate. The story that Bloom published on HuffPost’s contributor platform has been shared on Facebook 140,000 times. The piece has been viewed 5,221,475 times since June.

But with Bloom’s press conference Wednesday, everything could change.

Source: HuffPost

I really this case starts getting some real attention beginning today, because this woman needs and deserves justice. (Also, this would help take everyone's attention off Hillary's emails and Comey's assholery, which would be a nice bonus.)
firebunny 2nd-Nov-2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this article. I've been wondering about the lack of media coverage, to the point that I questioned if the case was an urban legend.
fight4thislove 2nd-Nov-2016 09:26 pm (UTC)
It amazes me that the media outlets haven't picked this up. It's going ahead in frigging FEDERAL court but no, let's not report on it.

I really hope this blows up tonight and tomorrow and finally takes Trump down. Any other candidate, this would've been reported on right away and their career would be done with.

Edited at 2016-11-02 09:27 pm (UTC)
sentinelsoul 2nd-Nov-2016 09:39 pm (UTC)
What I'm getting from this is that most reporters were too chickenshit to report this because some people may think they were totally supportive of the anonymous accuser because she was anonymous and that it would hurt their careers? What kind of logic... Just report the facts! Fact: Trump is the accused in a lawsuit dealing with the rape of thirteen-year-old girl. Fact: The accuser has remained anonymous. Fact: The courts have decided that thete is enough merit to this to not throw it out and to proceed with the case. It's public record, not speculation, ffs.
moonshaz 2nd-Nov-2016 09:57 pm (UTC)

I thik you've nailed it, and I totally agree.

totteringg 2nd-Nov-2016 10:38 pm (UTC)
I mean reporters would kill to have a story like this, but they are obligated to fact check and make sure there's something to substantiate even the existence of the accuser. The Jezebel article on it want into a lot of detail about how they tried to confirm she exists and they couldn't. The first lawsuit that was filed was thrown out pretty quickly and a patent lawyer (which is weird) was then brought on to file the case in NY instead. As it is, there's not a lot to report aside from the details you mentioned and I'm pretty sure most places have written about there being a child rape suit that has a pretrial hearing scheduled where the judge is going to decide whether or not to move forward. Obviously Trump is a rapist and a sexual predator in general, but I do think they need to make sure in this specific case that the accuser exists.
sentinelsoul 2nd-Nov-2016 11:14 pm (UTC)
And that's fair and right to fact-check, but the thing I haven't seen most places even mention the simple facts as they are, or if they do it's buried on their sites. I don't understand why they don't say this what we know, this what we don't, and we cannot confirm anything beyond what the public record states. Any other time with any other story they'd go hog wild with it, but this time they won't? Really? I'm not asking them to invent shit, just report and clarify what is and isn't known. I shouldn't have to find out that a presidential candidate has a rape lawsuit filed against him from comments in places like the mothership, here, or other blogs, or even places like HuffPo.

There's journalistic integrity and then there's journalistic cowardice. And whether it's the journalists and reporters themselves or their bosses pulling this shit, it has to stop. If they can't verify or confirm the existence of this anonymous accuser, then report on that. That's a story, too, and I haven't heard shit about it except here. This post is, in fact, the most I've heard or read about this lawsuit anywhere, and that's not right.
lovedforaday 2nd-Nov-2016 10:18 pm (UTC)
the deplorables did what they do and have frightened the accuser from going through with her press conference. donald trump is a truly awful person.
lightframes 2nd-Nov-2016 11:23 pm (UTC)
That's so sad.
moonshaz 3rd-Nov-2016 01:57 am (UTC)
UGH.
leomonade 2nd-Nov-2016 11:20 pm (UTC)
it was cancelled
natyanayaki 3rd-Nov-2016 12:54 am (UTC)

I've been facebook messaging/tweeting media-esque things about this for MONTHS (mostly the fb messages, I only recently started tweeting again). The David Pakman Show discussed this though.

I wonder if some big media people were involved with Epstein, so there is some sort of unofficial not discussion rule.

Thanks for posting it here OP!

(no subject) - Anonymous
natyanayaki 4th-Nov-2016 02:54 am (UTC)
I don't know if they were best friends, but I do think Bill Clinton used Epstein's plane and IIRC some of the rapes happened on Epstein's plane. It's really fucking scary ugh.

Yeah, I can understand why HRC the greatest feminist ever (not) wouldn't bring it up, but it's shady as fuck that the media won't. I wonder who in the media got services from Epstein's victims.
(no subject) - Anonymous
natyanayaki 5th-Nov-2016 02:52 am (UTC)
it's so fucking creepy :/
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