WASHINGTON — Did you hear the rumor that late last week, The New York Times spent more than two pages on a front-page news story about investor and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt being accused of sexual harassment? Well, it is more than a rumor. It is true, or at least it is true that seven women have come forward with such claims. I read the whole piece. Michael is a friend of mine, and I wanted to see what the old boy is charged with.
Michael is almost 80 years old. What could he have done? Did he appear with his bathrobe open, which would constitute sexual harassment or at least egregious absent-mindedness? No, he did not, though I have heard of others doing it intentionally, for instance Harvey Weinstein or Charlie Rose. Did he ply ladies with alcohol or drugs, as did Bill Cosby? Again, the answer is negative. Did he attempt to touch any of the aforementioned ladies? Again, no. What then was his faux pas? Well, as nearly as I could tell having endured the Times' torrent of words, he used salty language with the ladies and encouraged them to have babies. Michael is engaged in Jewish philanthropy and is especially concerned about Jewish birthrates. All the ladies were Jewish.
In a public statement that should have been sufficient to shut down the Times' story, Michael said, "In my nearly 80 years on earth, I have never tried to touch any woman or man inappropriately," and, incidentally, none of the women charged him with such behavior. He went on to say that his risque argot was "part of my schtick since before I had a penny to my name, and I unequivocally meant them in jest. I fully understand why they were inappropriate. I am sorry." Yet, hold on. Now that he is a billionaire, my guess is that there are a lot of people out there interested in his charities and that is unquestionably why the Times made such a scandal over the unexceptional charges against him.
After a judicious reading of the Times story, I have come to the conclusion that America's newspaper of record has called an end to what every pious liberal once called "the free speech movement." Someone should have been polite enough to tell Michael Steinhardt. And who is going to tell the Democrats now running for office? Following Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, the Democrats have made vulgar language mundane or almost mundane. As Politico noted some time ago, "Perez has awkwardly but assuredly brought profanity into his stump speeches," and it quoted numerous examples of Perez using the word "s—-." Then there was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's repeated use of several variations of the F-word. Senator Kamala Harris was next, and Beto O'Rourke often uses the F-word as a punctuation mark. He thinks it will help him get elected president. If you want to know what to expect from the Democratic Party in the future, consider Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's recent reference to President Donald Trump as a motherf——-.
The Steinhardt piece is a story that should never have been published. It is simply a hit piece that hits a successful investor and generous philanthropist for reasons that we readers can only guess at. But the Times engages in this sort of journalism with increasing frequency. Within 48 hours, the newspaper did it again, and this time, instead of lavishing prose on its subject, the Times was very sparing in what it told us. In its March 22 issue, the Times ran a curious piece on Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano's release from prison. He had spent over 15 years in the calaboose for racketeering, wiretapping, wire fraud and weapons charges. He was a private investigator in Hollywood who worked mostly for Hollywood figures.
Did he work anywhere else, and were there any other famous figures in his life? Actually there were, and I wrote about two of his past employers. It seems to me curious that in a longish article about the criminal career of a private investigator who had just been released from prison, The New York Times would neglect to mention the names of his former political employers. They were Bill and Hillary Clinton. Have the Clintons fallen into such obscurity of late?
I wrote in "The Clinton Crack-Up" back in 2007 that as early as 1992, the Clintons paid Pellicano to discredit Gennifer Flowers. Then, too, he was paid by the Clintons to discredit Monica Lewinsky back in 1998. The Clintons' lawyers deny it, but I have my sources who themselves were shadowed by Pellicano. The Clintons paid several private investigators over the years. It was just their misfortune to have hired Pellicano.
Rather than read news stories about billionaires who speak in salty language — admittedly less salty than the Democrats orating on the stump — I would think that the Times' readers would be interested in Pellicano's connection to the Clintons. I knew Hillary had a bad temper, but did she have any of Pellicano's explosives?
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author, most recently, of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.