The Disgraceful Death of #MeToo

You may think that the media would have its hands full touting Chinese Communist Party propaganda, but you’d be wrong. After ignoring Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden for as long as was humanly possible, the media finally has found its collective tongue and has begun to denigrate, doubt, and question Reade’s story in a way they never did with Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh two years ago.

In the past few weeks, several media outlets have tripped over themselves to discredit Reade’s story. Helen Lewis of The Atlantic wrote that she “never believed in ‘Believe Women,’” which is rich coming from a writer who once complained that Blasey Ford was “being put on trial,” and even richer considering The Atlantic published article after article after article excoriating Kavanaugh and implicitly accepting Blasey Ford’s claims. Meanwhile, the Washington Post declared that “Believe all Women” is a straw man, CNN announced that Reade’s “conflicting accounts” muddle her story, and many other outlets either are downplaying the story or continuing to ignore it altogether.

But perhaps the most hypocritical take on the issue comes from the New York Times, which has the incredible chutzpah to say that “Believe All Women is a Right-Wing Trap.” The main point of the article is that the #MeToo movement only ever said “Believe Women,” not “Believe All Women,” which is a phrase conservatives have “wielded as a whip” to denigrate sexual assault survivors, at least according to the Times

The Times’ strategy is brilliant in its simplicity. Instead of trying to defend Democrats’ hypocrisy on its face, a herculean task, the Times simply nitpicks, twists language, and plays with semantics. “A-ha! We never said believe all women! Just women who accuse Trump’s appointees without a shred of evidence!” 

Even if the Left had never used the word “all” specifically (a dubious claim), the Times misses the point entirely. Blasey Ford’s accusation was opportunistic, self-contradictory, politically motivated, and completely lacked evidence. Her own friend contradicted Blasey Ford’s story and was pressured to change her testimony. And when Kavanaugh became understandably upset and cried at being falsely accused of rape, he was further accused of showing “white male privilege” and not having the “proper temperament” to be a Supreme Court justice. 

Yet not only were we expected to accept Blasey Ford’s baseless accusations, we were supposed to idolize her.

The New York Times in 2018 was “heartbroken” at Blasey Ford’s “desire to please.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote a glowing article praising her “courage,” and Time placed her on its cover—a cover that was then recognized as the 2018 “Cover of the Year.” Anyone who questioned Blasey Ford’s testimony was accused of being insensitive at best, and a victim-blamer at worst. Senate Republicans were excoriated for “putting Blasey Ford on trial,” even after treating her with kid gloves and launching a full FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s life to verify her claims. 

Now compare all of that with the Left’s treatment of Tara Reade. Where’s that Time cover for her, anyway? Don’t hold your breath waiting on it—Time is already busy accusing Reade’s lawyer of the heinous crime of being a Trump donor. 

We’ve already seen how the media has hypocritically covered for Blasey Ford while smearing Reade, but they’re not the only ones culpable. The same politicians who bared their fangs at Kavanaugh are now meek as lambs.

Kamala Harris not only ignored Reade’s allegations after being approached by her for help but also endorsed Biden. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who began the entire Kavanaugh debacle by airing Blasey Ford’s false claims, called Reade’s accusations “absolutely ridiculous” and asked, “where has she been all these years?” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who once stated “I believe Dr. Blasey Ford,” said there was “no contradiction” in how Democrats have handled the two cases and has also endorsed Biden. 

According to their own logic, aren’t these senators giving approval to a sexual predator and elevating him to the highest office in the land? Sure, nothing conclusive has been proven against Joe Biden(even though Reade’s accusations are more credible than Blasey Ford’s), but did that stop Democrats when it came to Kavanaugh?

And of course, who can forget the reaction of our cultural overlords in Hollywood? Alyssa Milano, who in 2018 tweeted that “You can’t pretend to be the party of the American people and then not support a woman who comes forward with her #MeToo story,” has finally found a #MeToo story she doesn’t like.

Milano defended Biden, saying there should be a “thorough vetting of accusations” and that “there is something to the idea that people are going to weaponize #metoo for political gain.” Due process apparently only applies when it defends your political allies. 

All this goes to show that the Left is in possession of no principles and is now simply using #MeToo as a weapon to beat down political opponents. And like any weapon, it can be put aside when it no longer serves one’s purposes. 

The #MeToo movement initially helped to expose many awful sex offenders and monsters, but it quickly lost credibility when it was used as a cudgel for political purposes against Kavanaugh. The fact that Biden’s accuser is so casually tossed aside by the Left is the final nail in the coffin. 

This should serve as a lesson to conservatives: Senate Republicans accepted the investigation into Kavanaugh’s life, they did everything possible to be sensitive to Blasey Ford, they played fair. But for what? Now, when it’s Democrats’ turn to do the same, they shamelessly trample their own cherished principles. Where are the David Frenches and Jonah Goldbergs on the Left screaming for an ideological policing of their side? Where is the NeverBiden movement? 

All this is not to say that conservatives should stoop down to the level of the Left. Instead, we should learn the lesson that our opponents are willing to go to any length, even engage in the most hypocritical and blatant doublethink imaginable, in order to win. We’d do well not to take their bait the next time.

It is now clearer than ever that the Left understands better than anyone George Orwell’s quote that “Who controls the past controls the future.” To the Left, the past has no objective meaning: it’s just a subjective mush that can be reinterpreted and twisted until it serves modern political goals. We’ve already seen this with things like the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which is bad enough; but the fact that the Left now feels brazen enough to change the narrative on something that happened only two years ago is terrifying indeed.

About Elad Vaida

Elad Vaida is currently enrolled in the Heritage Foundation’s George C. Marshall Fellows Program, and the America’s Future Foundation Writing Fellows Program. He has a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Penn State University.

Photo: Constantine Johnny/Getty Images

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