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Reporters now the focus of their own stories

And here I had hoped we might be in the home stretch.  After weeks of allegations, photos and tearful stories of people in Hollywood abusing their power, it had to be winding down.  I figured we were running out of famous people to lose faith in.  And we were … in the entertainment industry.

Then we moved on to politics.  Or returned to it, depending on how you feel about last year’s sexual allegations against Donald Trump.  Roy Moore, Al Franken and others on both sides of the political spectrum are being outted for their inappropriate behaviour.  Worse yet, some are choosing to believe – or disbelieve – based on their own political bent.

And now, we’re looking at a new set of sinners whom we relied on to monitor it all on our behalf:  the reporters.

The strange thing is there’s been a startling similarity not only in the incidents, but also in the excuses.  Men answering doors wearing nothing but bathrobes.  Meetings done in the nude.  Exposing genitals during job interviews.

This, in itself, is utterly, profoundly, and gob-smackingly weird in any setting except maybe the porn industry.  The media has been clear on this fact for months.  Reporters have questioned how anyone can think this behaviour is acceptable or even normal.  And their condemnation of it has been profound.

But now, those same reporters are being accused of the same sexual misconduct.  Literally.

The stories about these new perpetrators include wearing bathrobes during interviews and naked meetings with staff.  (What is this? A fad?)  So I have to wonder what people like veteran newsman Charlie Rose, New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, editor and columnist Leon Wieseltier, journalist Michael Oreskes, or commentator Mark Halperin were thinking during the last few months.

Could they see the similarities in their own behaviour?  Did they wake up in a cold sweat wondering if this was the day that someone in their own circle comes forward with a tale to tell?

Thankfully, they haven’t denied the allegations.  They have apologized.  They have reflected.  They have acknowledged that their behaviour was inappropriate.  However, many claim they are just now understanding the full impact of their actions and that it was not reciprocated.

Just now?  The people who make a living reporting on the atrocities of the world and the abuse of those in power didn’t notice their own abnormal behaviour?

It’s like putting on a hundred pounds and then looking at a photo and claiming you didn’t realize you’d gotten fat.  You see yourself in the mirror every day.  You buy the larger sized clothes.  If you don’t see it, you don’t want to.

It should not take someone else speaking out to make you realize what you are doing is so categorically wrong.

Then again, reporters spend their lives holding up a mirror to the world, but they rarely turn it on themselves.  Perhaps it’s time that we hand one out to everyone on the first day of work.


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