That scared look on CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King’s face the morning after Charlie Rose was fired from the program said it all.
That was not a look of betrayal on King’s face: that was a look of guilt. The fear in her eyes was the fear of being caught. Charlie Rose’s licentious behavior in front of the cameras on CBS This Morning was so obvious that professional comedians joked about it.
King talked about feeling betrayed by Charlie Rose, but she had no right to say that. Her face told the truth: she, and everyone else around her, knew about Rose’s sexual treatment of women, and they covered for him. Even when they were reporting stories about sexual harassment by other powerful men, they did not speak up. They are culpable for – at least – a cover-up.
Surely King, Oprah Winfrey’s official best friend, also knows the relationship between power and on-the-job sexual harassment. Feminists talk of little else. So while King may have known Rose would never use his power against her, Oprah’s best friend, less well-connected and less powerful women in his orbit would lack such protection.
Still, she did nothing. And now she is even getting away with pretending to be another of Rose’s victims.
If people as astonishingly empowered as Oprah’s best friend, almost-president Hillary Clinton, and Beltway Media Queen Cokie Roberts all continued to give a pass to unwanted passes (and groping, and rape) so long as they were perpetrated by the men of the liberal tribe, then what, exactly, has been gained from 50 years of endless talk by feminists about sex and power?
Does political tribalism and elite power really matter more to these feminists than sexual abuse of other women?
Of course it does.
When Cokie Roberts announced this week that the entire tribe of female Capitol Hill reporters knew better than to get into an elevator with Congressman John Conyers Jr., a Detroit Democrat, my first reaction was this: did they warn the cleaning staff?
My second reaction was: where were the men? Where were the male journalists who knew this – and according to Cokie Roberts, everyone in the press corps knew this?
Where were the congressmen and congresswomen, who must have known, too?
We know where one of these men was: Cokie’s husband, Steve, was busy writing editorials with his wife. They were both busy not revealing what they knew about what Congressman John Conyers did last week while blasting Republican candidate Roy Moore for what he allegedly did 40 years ago.
Here is Steve and Cokie’s syndicated column published Nov. 22, just a few days before Cokie admitted to serial collusion in keeping Conyers’ apparently routine sexual assaults of women from being reported to authorities:
Moore, the Republican nominee in a special Senate election next month, stands widely accused of preying on teenage girls … He is a law-breaking sexual predator who exploits his followers’ darkest fears about any outsider who doesn’t look or act or pray like them. And yet many Alabamians seem determined to reject the Christian values of obeying the law, loving strangers and acting charitably toward others and vote for Moore anyway.
As Cokie Roberts smeared Alabama Christians with a broad brush for being cynical, she was concealing knowledge of at least one serial sexual predator operating in her own workplace.
The couple then avoided mentioning Conyers as they smeared Donald Trump sexually and lashed out at Christians again:
Trump is equally crass in his political calculation, accepting Moore’s denials and dismissing the accusations as ancient history that happened “40 years ago.” … Last year, 80 percent of self-described evangelical Christians voted for Trump, a thrice-married billionaire living in Manhattan who bragged openly about his sexual conquests.
Then they called Trump and Moore racists:
Moore and Trump belong to a long and despicable tradition in American politics: hating and demonizing dark-skinned, strange-sounding “others” as somehow un-American.
The editorial ends with a final attack on Christians. Steve and Cokie are concerned that Christians are becoming too interested in “power” to stick to their principles:
“I think what we’re seeing is an extreme politicization of Christianity,” Marie Griffith, author of a new book on the subject, told The Atlantic. “It has become so focused on power.”
The money-changers have returned to the temple. And the vote counters, political consultants and power-brokers have joined them there.
It is important to bear in mind that when the Roberts wrote those words, they were in the middle of reporting serial sex scandals in Congress at the same time as they were actively helping conceal at least one sex scandal involving a powerful congressman that appears to be far more grave than any of the other political sex scandals to date.
And not only were they helping conceal this sex scandal, but Cokie Roberts apparently felt it was such an ordinary state of affairs that she commented on it casually on a television show. This is important: she did not write about or report on Conyers: she dropped her comment like an afterthought in a chatty section on a chatty Sunday roundtable.
She did not so much expose as try to normalize Conyers’ predatory behavior. At least she thought she did, until it blew up in her face.
It is time for Cokie Roberts to face the sorts of consequences she is continually demanding from others. It is time for congressional hearings on what the press corps, other media figures, and fellow elected officials knew about Conyers. But at the moment it is impossible to imagine who could ethically sit on such a panel – or report it on the news.
Of course they knew. How could they not?