Morning After (The Sunday News Wrap)

False Equivalence isn’t just a river in Egypt

Barry Friedman
8 min readNov 20, 2017


Discussions of icky, disgusting, lecherous, relentlessly sick (and some really bad ones, as well) men filled the airwaves yesterday morn, with members of both political parties expressing their outrage. The consensus was we must talk about sexual abuse more, we must come out clearly against men behaving badly, we must stop doubting and humiliating victims, regardless of when the assault took place, and, from now on, we must have zero tolerance of these pigs and their piggery.

That is unless voters don’t make a fuss about the transgressions; then Roy Moore gets a parking space and per diem.

All the morning news shows, to be fair, also included some talk of the truly horrendous tax cut the House just passed, but otherwise it was all penises all the time.

On Meet the Press, Andrea Mitchell, sitting in for Chuck Todd, went through the sexual harassment charges, innuendos, and misunderstandings against — alleged and perpetrated — by Bill Clinton, Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Clarence Thomas, Al Franken, and, not to put too fine a point on this, the current leader of the free world himself. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), her guest, though while aghast about the sudden decay, reminded us, nevertheless, that the end justifies the grope.

Now politically, are Republicans better off if Roy Moore wins or if he loses? If he loses the seat or whether he wins and Democrats think they have an issue going forward?


Well, you know I said that I thought the women’s story was more credible than his response, that Alabama voters deserved a better choice. But they’re going to have to make that decision. They know Roy Moore a whole lot better than I do. I’ve met him once. They’ve watched him at a pretty controversial career for 20 years. And we’ll just have to see what they do.


You say that the women’s stories were credible. What about the women, more than a dozen, who came out during the 2016 campaign against President Trump? Were they credible?


Well, whatever whatever they had to say people heard that. And they elected President Trump the president of the United States. So at some point I think you have to let the voters have a say here.

Logic, meet brick wall and then say hello to the junior senator from Missouri. His thinking seems to be, sure, the president fingered a girl at a nightclub against her will, but he carried Michigan.

Game. Set. Maul.

On the panel, as well, none other than Rich Lowry stopped by. Lowry, whose masturbatory fantasies of Sarah Palin still have me worrying about ED every time someone whispers the word Starburst in my ear, has seen the devil and his name is Stephen Bannon.


— I really think it should have been incumbent on the Republican Party to give their voters a better choice. And that would have meant fundamentally President Trump weighing in very heavily against Roy Moore and pressuring state party officials saying, “Look, you don’t have a future in this party unless you find some way to leverage this guy out of this race. It didn’t happen. Now Roy Moore is running the only race he can which is saying, “Look, all these attacks on me are attacks on you, my supporters,” and envying against Mitch McConnell. And it really goes to the cynical demagoguery of the likes of Steve Bannon who if Roy Moore killed someone with an ax Steve Bannon would say, “It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault.”

You say “cynical demagoguery,” I say “Today’s GOP,” let’s call the whole thing off. And not for nothing, but if Roy Moore killed someone with an ax, Bannon would say, “It’s Hillary Clinton’s fault.”

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and kill someone with ax and I wouldn’t lose voters.

Just want to see what it looks like.

Let’s continue.

Over at Face the Nation, Senator Tom Cotton, too, decided the people of Alabama should be the final arbiter of Roy Moore senatorial chances, a 14-year-old girls pawed breasts notwithstand.

JOHN DICKERSON: You said you wouldn’t encourage the people of Alabama to vote for him. What’s better for Senate Republicans if Roy Moore wins and comes to Washington as a Republican or if a Democrat wins in that race?

SENATOR TOM COTTON: Well, what’s better for Senate Republicans is what’s better for the American [sic]is that we focus on the work ahead of us, which is the tax bill that cuts middle class taxes, cuts taxes on businesses and repeals the hated Obamacare mandate.

For God’s sakes, gals, it’s all about middle class tax cuts with businesses getting just a tiny, tiny part of it — hardly anything at all. Can’t you see the big picture? And, for Christ sakes, sometimes it’s just a breast, your ass in jeans. Take one for the team, would you?

The senator then gave Donald Trump a pass on this because victory

SENATOR TOM COTTON: Well, it happened in the middle of the campaign last year, John, and the American people had their say on that as well. And I think what’s important is that we take all of these things seriously and that we move forward and each individual case we have people who are charged with weighing the evidence, whether it’s a court of law and a sexual harassment case, whether it’s a Senate Ethics Committee as Al Franken has said. But it’s hard to generalize.

We head now to THIS WEEK, where George Stephanopoulos finally decided to show up for work. Joining his was, Carly Fiorina — and who can forget her memorable 37 minutes as Ted Cruz’s running mate, last year.

FIORINA: Again, most men are good and decent and respectful men, but enough men are not. And so we just have to decide, women and men, that this truly is not to be enabled, it’s not to be excused. And in particular, that a man does not deserve respect from other men if he is disrespectful to women.

Yes, yes, yes. Men shunning other men. No exceptions.

FIORINA: But for every Republican who has behaved badly, there’s a Democrat who has behaved badly.

Nobody’s perfect. Methinks the math isn’t airtight, but at least she admits the GOP is the bad boy control group.

You know what the problem with phrases like “behaved badly” is?


In 1994, Trump went to a party with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire who was a notorious registered sex offender, and raped a 13-year-old girl that night in what was a “savage sexual attack,” according to a lawsuit filed in June 2016 by “Jane Doe.” The account was corroborated by a witness in the suit, who claimed to have watched as the child performed various sexual acts on Trump and Epstein even after the two were advised she was a minor.

“Immediately following this rape Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I would be physically harmed if not killed,” Jane Doe wrote in the lawsuit, filed in New York.

The lawsuit was dropped in November 2016, just four days before the election, with Jane Doe’s attorneys citing “numerous threats” against her.

Still want to talk about USO tours and kevlar?

Also on the show, Marc Short, White House Legislative Affairs Director, who reminded Stephanopoulos that the president thinks child abusers should burn in damnation, no questions asked, except one: if they grew up, NO FOUL.

SHORT: George, the president has concerns if these allegations prove true about anybody of that nature serving in the United States senate.

Or the Oval Office, for that matter. But I digress.

You have heard us make concerns in particular about allegations that come from teenage girls. And we have said on other networks, and other stations, the reality that we think that those are the most offensive and that there is a special place in hell for people who are child molesters.

Having said that, we also believe that these allegations are arising 38 years after the date, and Roy Moore has an opportunity to tell the people of Alabama his innocence. To date, we’re uncomfortable that he has done that.

It’s the “having said that” that makes it art.

We conclude — and, God, how we wish the entire network would — with Fox News Sunday and Utah Congresswoman Mia Love who joined Wallace and brought along her big bag of pablum.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about to specific cases. Do you believe that Judge Roy Moore, the candidate in the special Senate election in Alabama, should step aside from that race to let a write-in candidate try to hold the seat for Republicans? And what do you think should happen to Senator Al Franken after the allegations against him this week?

LOVE: I’m calling them all on the carpet. I think that all of them should take responsibility for their behavior.

Not the carpet!

Yes, the carpet.

Okay, I have the carpet somewhere.

LOVE: This is — you know, when you think about Al Franken, you think about Judge Moore, you think about all the situations that are out there, they’re all different, and they all deserve due process, and the people need to be able to have time to talk about them and process it. We certainly aren’t going to be able to do that today and seven minutes on a Sunday show.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), report at once.

“if we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.”

With 6 minutes and 55 seconds to spare!

Love: … but I think it’s important that we end up talking about it, getting comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, and saying that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

All right then. It’s unacceptable and uncomfortable, every time it happens, right?


WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about one other person and whether or not he should be held accountable, and that is President Trump, who has had very little to say about the Judge Roy Moore case, but when it comes to Al Franken in that picture, he weighed in on that, the picture of Franken appearing to grope his accuser. The president sent out this tweet: the Al Frankenstien [sic] picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures two, three, four, five and six while she sleeps? On the other hand, when reporters noted that President Trump faces his own allegations from a bunch of women about him allegedly groping them, here’s his spokeswoman said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think in one case, specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t. I think that’s a very clear distinction.


WALLACE: Congresswoman, does that satisfy you, the fact that President Trump has denied the allegations?

LOVE: Well, again, all of these situations are completely different. I think people need to take responsibility for their actions, not just in the future, but also in the past. And we can’t — absolutely — I’m not qualified, nor is it appropriate for us to process, prosecute, judge and sentence in the seven minutes that we have here.

If Love’s indignation were any more selective, it wouldn’t be indignant at all