Did the Media Play Fair with Herman Cain?

So Herman Cain is finally out.  He left the race insisting he’s innocent, that he didn’t do any of those things he was accused of.  Absent a confession some time down the road, or some improbable piece of evidence popping up, we’ll never know for sure if he did what those women say he did.   That’s fine with me since I don’t need to know, and frankly, I don’t want to know.

A more important question, for me anyway, involves the media.  Did Herman Cain get fair treatment from journalists?  The answer is yes.  And no.

Here’s the yes part:  As much as Cain’s supporters might wish the media simply ignored the stories, how could they? Here’s a guy running for president, doing very well in the polls, and facing all these allegations involving sex.  That’s news.

Yes, it’s true that once upon a time there was a kind of gentleman’s agreement between journalists and politicians whereby reporters would pretend they didn’t know what they knew when the subject involved sex and infidelity.  JFK comes to mind. But that was a long time ago.   And imagine if the media did ignore the Cain story and he somehow got the GOP nomination.  What if the Obama campaign went public with the allegations right before Election Day?  That’s the kind of October surprise that would probably sink Cain, or any other candidate.  He’d be finished and his supporters would be screaming about how liberal reporters brought their guy down … by keeping the story under wraps.   

Here’s the no part: Conservatives are right when they complain about a double standard.  Anthony Weiner aside, the media simply salivate more when they’re going after a conservative Republican than a liberal Democrat.  The media didn’t want to have anything to do with the John Edwards story, until they couldn’t ignore it any longer.  And they even ignored, for as long as they could, all sorts of sexual allegations against Bill Clinton.

But Herman Cain was different from Bill Clinton.  With Clinton it was all about sex.  Cain’s real crime, as far as a lot of liberals in and out of the media are concerned, is that he is a black man who had the audacity to call himself a conservative Republican.  That, to a lot of liberals, is the kind of crime they cannot ignore and will not forgive.

Herman Cain always struck me as a very nice guy.  I like him.  But I don’t believe him.  In the end he didn’t have a media problem.  He had a women problem.

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  • Alice Rodgers

    Something doesn’t make sense–if this woman was envolved for 13 years with Mr. Cain—what about the time he was being cured for cancer? Where was she then?

  • HeyLebowski

    No he was not treated fairly by the media, nor was he treated fairly by you Bernie. I watch you every week on O’Rielly, you had decided he wasn’t a viable candidate well before his being accused of sexual harrasment and an affair. So like everyone else in the media you were willing to take part in his prosecution but be a passive participant in his defense, and yes there should have been a defense. Even with the Clinton accusers ( which there were far more) they were not paragons of virtue or pillars of the community but they didn’t have the very dubious backgrounds with such serious financial problems.

    Fair treatment would have been having a corresponding story about these women’s background each time Herman Cain’s name was mentioned relative to these accusations. their backgrounds reeked of serious investigations. Two worked for the National Restaurant Assoc. One had two bankruptcies and had been terminated from most of her nine jobs in the thirteen years since the theoritical event and her neighbors thought she was a gold digger and constantly tried to live far beyond her means and is now being evicted from her house for non-payment. The other is a serial sexual harrasment accuser and finally gave up only after she was convinced she would not get her plum job at Havard. The latest is also a serial accuser who lost a similar accusation in court against another man and also has a long history of financial issues. that would have been “Fair”. But of course most others in the media were like Bernie and thought he was not a “viable” candidate and were willing participants in his destruction while offering no defense. That would be like a murder trial with a month of the prosecution and then we call the jury in to issue a verdict. Sorry Bernie ( and everyone else in the media) commenting on a candidates viability is above your pay grade, you want to comment on what they say is fine. Everyone in the media knows that if you pound these accusations over the airwaves multiple times an hour 24 hours a day for a month they become part of the american mindset. No stories on the women and voila, no more non-viable Herman Cain. We all remember from high school that “Brutus is an honorable man”, if you say anything enough … Bernie you are just as guilty as the “group think” in the lamestream media. And I couldnt care less what any of the candidates foreign policy is, when is the last time we successfully bent ANY country to our will. It’s the economy stupid! But thats another rant :)

  • Brendan Horn

    If and when Gingrich becomes the Republican nominee, we will see the media go after Gingrich full steam ahead about his marital infidelities. It will be the number one most focused upon aspect of the presidential race by the liberal media. What Cain went through will be nothing compared to what Gingrich will go through. The politics of personal destruction will be used against Gingrich by most mainstream media. The economy will be an irrelevant afterthought for the liberal media.

  • Gabriela_C

    Mr. Goldberg, to be honest when I read the news about Cain resigning his candidacy, the first person that came to my mind was you.
    I totally agree that Mr. Cain was a victim of the liberal media. I did make me sick to watch all the news shows talking so much about Cain’s affairs. Who cares??? Why media desn’t focus in what it is important? What I want to see is the candidate’s platform, his ideas and his plans, I honestly do not care about how many women he slept with, It is not my business.
    Cain was not my favorite candidate, but what media did to him was not fair. Media did not give the chance to Mr. Cain to have a proper campaign just because he is a conservative and media do not like conservatives.
    So, here, once again the media-elites won.
    I just wonder, how much longer is media going to try to control our future?
    It just give me a stomachache everytime that I think about it.

  • Joy F Friedberg

    The biassed press ran with a shovel of dirt to bury The greatest threat to BO’s job. Smart,conservative,fiscally astute,and non biracial,Christian man. They first attacked on his civil rights record,to no avail. Oldest trick in the book, make him a womenizer. Fatty Arbuckle was tried in the press for rape, and murder. He had three trials. He was impotent so the whole affair was a joke. His good name, career, and life was distroyed. Cain is no fool. He knows how malicious the left is. He wanted to serve our nation, but not at the expense of his family, dignity, and reputation. The evidence is suspect in this witch hunt. By the way, BO has never shown he was even qualified to run as a natural born citizen. Where is the press where the Manchurian President is concerned.

  • Bill Hurdle

    I would have to agree that Cain was treated fairly by the media. I also believe that Democrats have received “favorable” treatment from the media by having similar information supressed or ignored. It is this difference (neutral vs favorable) that constitutes the inequity. Cain witstood the first round of accusers with very little damage since they had flimsy stories and low credibility. The last accuser had more credibility and the payment evidence was not satisfactorily rebutted in my own mind. If he is truly innocent, I believe he should have undergone a polygraph test and presented the results. This would have convinced the Republicans and the Democrats don’t matter anyway since they would find reasons to villify him otherwise.

  • Wil Burns

    Really Bernie, What didn’t the media not report to you and the public about Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and Bill Clinton that you wanted to know? Remember Anthony Weiner resigned, John Edwards dropped out of his campaign and Bill Clinton was impeached?

    And, a black man who has the audacity to call himself a conservative Republican, is an asset, not a kind of crime! Herman Cain real crime is, he isn’t presidential material!

    • ph16

      Really Will, why are you still here reading these articles? It’s obvious that you don’t ever agree with them (not that you have to agree with every one of them, but there comes a point where if you don’t agree with someone, you stop watching, reading, or listening to them). I’m just curious why do you come back so often? In any case, the media only reported on those cases (especially John Edwards) when it was too big to ignore, up until that point, they stayed away from that story. My point is usually that the mainstream media will go after conservatives quicker than liberals on a story and how they picked up the Herman Cain story instantly while they waited around until it was too big to ingore on other politicians like John Edwards and even once the Republicans impeached Clinton, he came out smelling like the rose and was portrayed as a matyr of the “big bad Republicans”. Weiner, honestly, was also to big to ignore because of what happened and how he refused to resign at first and was stubborn about it.

      • Wil Burns

        Seriously ph16, I just like debating issues with people (who all agree with each other) and then have them usually make a fool of themselves, agreeing with Bernie.

      • MerchantofVenom

        If memory serves me correctly the NYT’s front page story (while Edwards was having an affair) reported incorrectly that McCain was having an affair, according to their “anonymous sources”. In the meantime, Edwards was boinking Reille Hunter in some hotel room. It took the National Enquirer to break the story.

        Click to EditDelete

    • Will Swoboda

      Hey Wil, you mean Obama is presidential? You smoking opium?

      • Wil Burns

        After Dubya?…Yep!

  • Neal Angel

    I must confess I am conflicted about the Herman Cain situation. Knowing the media’s bent toward conservatives/liberals, part of me still believes where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That said, Mr. Cain started losing my support with his failure to grasp certain basic issues. When you don’t know about the “right of return” issue, you’re missing a basic understanding of foreign policy issues that can’t be ignored. I was willing to give him one pass, but the 2nd & 3rd times, he lost me.

  • Drew Page

    For years women and blacks have been in the pocket of the Democrat party. When a woman or a black person strays off the liberal Democrat reservation and dares to espouse conservative values, the Democrats feel betrayed and threatened and do their best to marginalize, demean and/or destroy them in the public eye. That a woman could possibly be pro-life, instead of ‘Pro-Choice’, or that a black person could possibly believe that self-reliance is better than reliance on government is dangerous heresy to Democrat liberals. This heresy must be destroyed with the same zeal that the Spanish Inquisition dealt with non-believers.

    Independence of thought is abhorent to those who rely on the instinct of the herd. “You need to be protected because, through no fault of your own, you are too stupid, weak and incompetent to provide for yourselves and you need us to protect and provide for you” is the mantra of the Left.

    • gwen

      I think Cain was brought down by his own party ,after all, Democrats wasn’t running against Cain yet,maybe he should check with Mitt,Newt,michelle,etc,etc ,one bet money one of their camps dug up this dirt on Cain just to get him out of the way!

  • DOOM161

    I still find it rather convenient that he only harassed women in Chicago while he was head of the NRA. I guess it was just a phase.

  • IndependentLasVegas

    Everyone knows the media answer is no. 99% of the media has targeted conservatives.

    In Russia,China and Iran we expect the media to be untruthful and print what the gov’t approves.

    Now with the communists running the whitehouse and the senate we have the same media as Russia, China and Iran.

    If all the dirt from the democrats was exposed by the media, the republicans would landslide the election in 2012. We know that will not happen….

  • John In MA

    Sure, we have generations of proof, endless proof, that the media quickly and willingly goes after anyone who does not have a D after their name. For me it is equally apparent they will treat a non-D as guilty, too. And in effect, the media becomes a part of the prosecution. In the example of Edwards, their ignorance of the news was their way of saying, “he is innocent until proven guilty.” Only when there was incontrovertible evidence did they even begin to take notice. There are still only accusations with Cain. And when one of ONLY TWO people who would even go public is given the chance to show evidence, she declines. “Never mind….” She was given permission to display all documents.

    So, it was trial by media. Quite different and essentially unprofessional. Fairness is not even worth considering with the media any more.

  • Terry Walbert


    From out of the past come the thundering hoof beats of the great horse, Long Dong Silver. Anita Hill rides again.

    I was surprised that you took the media’s side in this. Evidence corroborating the allegations is the important point, not that they were made. It’s up to the accusers to prove their case, and so far they haven’t.

    The whole episode shows how low the American media will stoop when it’s a conservative Republican, especially a black one.

    • Ken Hansen

      Aqusations are fair & reasonable for the press to consider – not regard as fact. Cain rarely gave convincing counter-arguments against any of the claims leveled against him. I’d like to see the questions & charges raised against him resolved – the press should stay on the story until they prove with some certainty that they either are or are not true. Leaving the charges hanging almost invites false aqusations, since no one has the stomach to investigate them.

      As for Anita Hill, the flaw in her argument against Clarence Thomas was her admission that she followed him from at least one job to the next – that’s an unusual thing for a victim of sexual harassment IMHO…

  • Blakely1

    In the first place, this happened not because Cain was black, but because he was a viable Republican candidate. WE should expect the same sort of scrutiny for any of our choices. The only person running for office, who did not get such treatment was Barack Obama & look what we got.
    It is true that the Democrats are like Piranha, so every other word will be an exaggeration or a lie. That is a given.
    That said, I fully expected that the Democrats would come up with more accusers. Anita Hills are under many rocks…just show them some money.
    What did in Cain was how he handled the situation.
    Ex LA Governor Edwin Edwards would have had reporters eating out of his hand. He would never have actually admitted any wrong doing, but never denying it either. It is all a matter of style & experience.
    Cain acted like a man, who had something to hide.

  • Ken Hansen

    I thought Cain brought an interesting dynamic to the campaign, but I honestly never thought he’d win the nomination – his very appeal was his downfall, his outsider status and lack of political experience. I knew he was ‘toast’ when I heard that he had briefed his campaign leaders about some of these skeletons in jis closet when he ran for the Senate, but for some inexplicable reason didn’t see the need to similarly prep his presidential campaign advisors, apparently assuming since the issues didn’t emerge during the Senate campaign they wouldn’t emerge during the Presidential campaign.

    What surprised me about his ‘ordeal’ was:

    a) how long his victims were silent after Cain started running (he’d been campaigning for months at the national level before the story broke),

    b) how low the threshold for ‘sexual abuse’ became (one accuser claimed sexual abuse by being asked to his room, another recalled an awkward sexual advance that stopped as soon as it started as soon as she said ‘no’, and a third recounted the horrors of having her height compared to that of Mrs. Cain),

    c) the double standard of people that hold Clinton as the Left’s version of the Right’s Reagan that dismiss Clinton’s sexual issues raised both before and after the campaigns yet somehow feel that the mere implication that Herman Cain might have violated some marginal definition of sexual abuse somehow renders him incapable of even being considered for the office. Gov. Clinton used state troopers to get women and guard the hotel rooms he ‘attacked’ his ‘victims’ in, and that’s OK – Cain compares a woman’s height to that of his wife and he should be run out of the campaign on a rail?

    Cain’s downfall was his arrogance that he could overcome his ‘troubled past’ and somehow emerge from this campaign with his reputation in-tact – he knew of these issues and pressed forward anyway, and in the end he was proven wrong.

    What I find interesting is the effect this outsider had on the campaign narrative while he was in it.

  • Ken Besig, Israel

    I do believe that an element of Liberal bigotry did in fact influence the Liberal media’s siege of Herman Cain, they simply couldn’t stomach a Black American Conservative, especially a successful one.
    But the bigger problem is now the Liberal’s poisonous political debate and atmosphere. Politics for Liberals and their media stooges in America is not just no holds barred and take no prisoners anymore, it is more like if it moves kill it and if it doesn’t, burn it. In Liberal politics nowadays, you don’t fight to win, you fight to win and exterminate your opponent.
    The good of the country and the welfare of the taxpayers is of secondary importance to Liberals, lies, vicious slanders, smears, false rumours, libels, half truths, and deliberate misinformation are the only tools and weapons in the Liberal armory.

  • Rogue4

    Some good points. But the legitimacy of the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” logic that seems to be being indulged here bears some scrutiny. If 50 people swear up and down to have seen Elvis working at a gas station in North Carolina, does it come across as more credible because 50 people are saying it? Of course not. Quantity does not equal credibility. Allegations are either substantiated by proof or they are not. Round one of this affair was vague unsubstantiated allegations from anonymous accusers. Then came Miss Bialek flanked by the attorney who represented Tiger Woods mistress no.12 in a (wait for it) breach of promise suit. This accuser’s history included several debts, bankruptcy filings, and residence in the same building as David Axelrod. Then came Ginger White claiming a 13 year affair and text messages that have yet to be produced. This accuser also having a dubious history of debt, divorces, bankruptcy, unemployment and a libel judgment. Herman Cain might have done what he’s accused of or he might not have. But I find the lack of critical analysis beyond the number of accusers evidenced by the “He had a women problem” conclusion, to be a bit lazy and disingenuous.

  • RecknHavic

    Cain was not able.

  • Vince

    Obama’s accuser, Larry Sinclair, wrote a book about performing sex in the back of a Limo while Barack smoked crack. Gloria Allred declined to represent Mr Sinclair. The media never investigated or gave air time to his claims. Note that Obama’s boyhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, wrote a book called, Sex Rebel, about his own similar sex behavior. (the enquirer covered this) Is it inconceivable Obama was influenced by frank’s sexual ideas?

    Perhaps Sinclair’s claims are not credible. But I think they deserve the same attention given to those against Cain.

    So no I don’t think the media was fair to Cain.

  • Rita Bridges

    You are no better than the liberal media accusing Mr.Cain of lying. He admitted the relationship and even the accuser never said it was a physical relationship. Herman Cain is a good person who was helping a woman in need. I would say he has gullible, naive, foolish and stupid written across his face and screw me written across his back. Shame on you Bernie Goldberg for accusing him of lying. He never who lied about anything.

    • Vince

      rita, i guarantee you will like this


      Cain has officially dropped out of the race. The Alinskyites and their modern lynching campaign won this round.

      “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective.)” ~ Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

    • Nancye


      Applause…applause. Well said. The Lame Stream Media couldn’t stand for a black conservative to get to the top of the polls. They had to dig up a few bimbos to lie like a rug about him and Bernie fell for it too!

  • Burt Prelutsky

    As usual, Bernie is right. The good news, such as it is, is that it wasn’t the allegations that did in Mr. Cain’s candidacy, it was, one, the way he handled them–pretending he was blindsided when he had a week’s warning that they were headed his way; two, how could he not anticipate that his 13-year relationship with a woman his wife had never heard of would come to light?; and, three, it was his ignorance of foreign affairs that had already sent his poll numbers spiraling.

    The moral of Cain’s story is that being a political outsider isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.


  • KayakBob

    I like Herman Cain, as a business man. And I think his time in this political season will bear fruit. But I am not sorry he has “suspended” his campaign for some of the reasons Bernie states. I like his non-polician persona too – in theory. But that is really the problem here isn’t it. Mr. Cain showed exactly what happens when a non-politician get into trouble. His non-politician tin ear made way for much of his undoing. Richard Nixon was credited with saying something (to the effect): they stabbed me in the back, but I game them the sword to do it with.

    When the first accusation was made, neither Mr. Cain, or his staff(?!) seemed to understand the implications of the accusation and how it could, and surely would, spin out of his control.

    Unfortunately, this is what happens when the “non-politician” plays with the big kids. It can get ugly and fast. It is as if he thought he was going to get a “fair” shake from the media. On what planet did he think a a conservative, and a minority conservative at that, would get a fair shake?

  • Andre

    The funny thing about all of this was that the women claimed something inappropriate happened and when asked what it was they all responded, he asked me to ” go somewhere”. So the F$$k what? Men ask women to meet them and go with them somewhere all the time. Sometimes is for business . sometimes its for dinner. …and sometimes ,YES, it’s TO BED! Lets grow up people!! . This stuff happens every day in every office ,somewhere on the planet. The majority of these incidents are among the rich ,powerful ,politically and educated. The same folks who ,most likely, are running this country privately or via government. Some women say yes ,some say no but many say hell yeah! I didn’t heard any of them said he kept asking or held something away from them because they said no! Most of the time ,a yes or no is as simply as it gets and it’s done. But get this, what if they all gladly said yes and went to the the hotel room-10 ,15 years ago? does it now disqualifies every man from becoming president for some action he got 15 years ago? Maybe so ,but it sounds petty to me. What if we found a magical instrument that could have us go into the deepest secrets of ever GOP candidate and also Prez Obama and we found out they all did what was alleged of Herman Cain. Now what do we have?

    • Ken Hansen

      Can you imagine Gov. Clinton, AKA Presidential Candidate Clinton, being held to this new standard of ‘sexual harrassment’? How many ‘bimbo erruptions’ did the campaign suppress, let alone the number that still went public?

      Apparently ‘You wanna come up to my room?’ is the new ‘dropping your pants and asking a woman about your penis (with state troopers guarding the door)’…

  • Ron Kean

    Cain’s candidacy was a sorry affair.

    The question will always be, how could he not have known that the indiscretions would come back to bite him?

    Mitt Romney’s the only one who’s squeaky clean and he’s having a rough time. Go figure.

    • Brian


  • Ralph Hahn

    Although he was running for the highest public office in the land, whatever Cain did that was not illegal nor involved taxpayer dollars should have been a matter between he and his wife Gloria. The earlier allegations of sexual harassment were basically he said/she said. But, Cain, who I thought would make for a good VP candidate, didn’t distinguish between the earlier allegations and the alleged 13-year affair. Matters of the heart and matters of the law are quite different.

    • Ken Hansen

      The charges were fair, the acceptance by the media of the charges as true (by and large) wasn’t.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Unfortunately, Cain gave them the gun to shoot him with.