Politics & Policy

Surprise! It’s Kind of Standard for Sexual-Assault Accusers to Face Scrutiny!

Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe (Image via YouTube)
The real story here is just how carefully the Washington Post scrutinizes sexual-assault stories before publishing them.

Project Veritas seems to have been caught hiring a woman to falsely accuse Roy Moore of sexual assault to the Washington Post — presumably in order to prove how it’s just so easy to get away with fabricating these stories — only to find that, well, it isn’t.

The woman, who identified herself as Jaime Phillips, approached the Post with a horrifying story: She had a sexual relationship with Moore when she was only 15, and it resulted in a pregnancy that he persuaded her to abort. The assumption, presumably, was that the Post would be so entranced by this politically perfect story that they’d just run with it — without verification — revealing once and for all that all a woman has to do to be believed by the Libturd Snowflake Fake News Post is simply say she was assaulted by a conservative man, and that all of Moore’s accusers were just a bunch of gold-digging fakers out for fortune and fame.

Of course, that’s not what happened. No, what happened was Phillips was easily outed as a fake, through inconsistencies in her story, background details that didn’t check out, and a GoFundMe account that she’d created — under her own actual name — announcing that she was moving to New York because she’d found “work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceit of the liberal MSM.”

I can’t believe I even have to explain this this, but posing as a sexual-assault victim is a despicable thing to do. It hurts actual victims by making the public even less likely to believe their stories, while many are already too afraid to come forward because they’re worried they’ll be written off as liars. I know the president of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe; he’s always been kind to me, and yet I still have to say that I’m absolutely horrified by these actions.

The fact that sexual-assault victims who go public must endure both shame and doubt is not up for debate. Just look at the comments under any tweet or article on the subject. It’s always a lot of “Why did she wait so long?” (It’s not like there’s any humiliation, painful emotions, or concern about jerks like you not believing her!) or “She’s just doing it for the fame!” (Because, you know, if a woman wants to be famous, all she has to do is randomly accuse a powerful man of sexual assault. That’s totally how you get to the red carpet, and not how you get people to be reluctant to work with you because they think you’re a “troublemaker”!) or “Why didn’t she sue?” (Because a 14-year-old from a broken home definitely had the resources to take on a district attorney in a he-said-she-said legal battle!) or even “She was asking for it” (Yes! Blame the victim!).

All too often, the tendency is to doubt the victims — and, perhaps for this reason, the Washington Post was very thorough in the reporting of its original Roy Moore story. As a I previously wrote in a column for National Review, the Washington Post’s reporting about Roy Moore was nothing like that Rolling Stone campus sexual-assault story that turned out to be false. Rolling Stone relied on only one, single unidentifiable source, while the WaPo had four on-the-record victims — and their stories were backed up by more than 30 corroborating sources. The math alone says they’re different, so why do so many people keep assuming that they’re basically the same thing?

The fact that Project Veritas’s sting backfired, and wound up being an additional argument for the victims, will be completely lost on anyone who needs to understand it.

If they’re looking at the facts, no one should be surprised that it wasn’t so easy for Project Veritas to feed a false assault allegation to the Washington Post. The number of sources that the reporters interviewed before publishing the story alone should have been enough to know that some faker wouldn’t be able to get through without facing problems. Somehow, though, Donald Trump has managed to turn the phrase “Fake News!” into a wool over too many people’s eyes, making them completely blind to even the most basic of facts. It’s sad but it’s true: We now live in a world where, for too many people, “More than 30 sources” can be countered with simply, “The Washington Post Is Fake News!” and that’s that. Apparently, even James O’Keefe fell for it, and his disgusting attempt at discrediting credible victims wound up becoming even more evidence that the victims should be believed.

The worst part of all of this, though, is that it doesn’t even matter: The fact that Project Veritas’s sting backfired, and wound up being an additional argument for the victims, will be completely lost on anyone who needs to understand it. O’Keefe himself knows this; he actually sent out a fundraising email after the news of his botched sting broke (insisting that “we already got our story”), and I’m sure he’ll get donations from it. For some, the Washington Post is just the enemy, and that’s the end of the story. Its opinion section is liberal, and therefore the newspaper must be defeated at all costs.

The real story, of course, is that the sting demonstrated just how carefully the Washington Post scrutinizes sexual-assault stories before publishing them, but I know that the people intent on defending Roy Moore don’t care much about that. In far too many circles, a devotion to tribalism has become far more important than a devotion to the truth — and when we’re talking about something as gravely serious as victims of childhood sexual abuse, I couldn’t be more sick about it.


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