Right and Left React to Harvey Weinstein Reports

The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That’s why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen.

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From the Right

Lee Smith in The Weekly Standard:

“The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.”

Lee Smith argues that the reason the news media waited so long to publish reports of Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior was not that getting anyone to go on record was so difficult. Instead, Mr. Smith, who worked at Talk, the magazine Mr. Weinstein and Tina Brown started together, suggests that “everyone had the story.”

He accuses the news media, or at least the glossy magazines that depended on the mogul to buy the rights to their stories, of wanting to protect Mr. Weinstein. The accusations against Mr. Weinstein finally broke because, as Mr. Smith asserts, “the media industry that once protected him has collapsed.” Read more »

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Jim Geraghty in National Review:

“Apparently, one of the hardest things to do in politics is denounce a longtime ally when they’re caught engaging in unforgivable misconduct.”

Many on the right have used the reports of Mr. Weinstein’s conduct — and the fact that it was an “open secret” among Hollywood insiders — to establish a pervasive hypocrisy among celebrities on the left. Mr. Geraghty says that parties on both sides of the ideological divide are guilty of dragging their feet when it comes to denouncing political allies. Read more »

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Scott Greer in The Daily Caller:

“In spite of the industry rushing to repudiate Weinstein, the moral stain of allowing him to prey on young women for years can’t be wiped away with one press statement calling the movie mogul repulsive.”

Mr. Greer picks up on Mr. Geraghty’s thread and expands upon it when he writes that Hollywood has relinquished the right to lecture the rest of the country on moral issues. He worries about the downturn in traditional arbiters of moral authority, writing, “The decline in religion and community institutions leaves the makers of popular culture in the driver’s seat for determining what is good and what is bad in our society.” Read more »

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Kimberly Ross in RedState:

“Harvey Weinstein was not the embodiment of masculinity; he was the antithesis of it.”

Writers on the left often point to the idea of “toxic masculinity” to explain the ways in which cultural gender norms can degrade the emotional and physical well-being of both men and women. Ms. Ross understands the urge to explain “monstrous acts,” but warns her readers not to tie reports of Mr. Weinstein’s sexual misconduct to his masculinity. “We will never combat the Weinsteins of this world by punishing masculinity,” she writes. Read more »

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From the Left

Rebecca Traister in New York Magazine:

“Something has changed. Sources have gone on the record. It’s worth it to wonder why. Perhaps because of shifts in how we understand these kinds of abuses.”

Ms. Traister worked at Talk magazine with Mr. Smith in 1999, where she experienced firsthand Mr. Weinstein’s belligerence and, subsequently, his power to silence his critics. She reflects on decades of silence in the news media and suggests that the accusations took so long to come to light because of cultural shifts. “Now our consciousness has been raised,” she writes, but that is not the whole story. She also notes that Mr. Weinstein has lost stature in the entertainment industry. Read more »

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Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker:

“The Weinstein case has reminded me of how hard, maybe impossible, it is to separate yourself from all the things that have been forced on you — an encounter, a body, a sense of complicity, or simply the banal old scripts that make it all seem so sickeningly predictable. You were young and he was powerful; the story writes itself.”

When people like Mr. Weinstein treat women like objects, Ms. Tolentino says, victims often find themselves stuck in an insidious narrative that they cannot escape. Sexual assault, she writes, tends to “contaminate” and compromise “all of the best things about you.” Read more »

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Jill Filipovic in Time:

“The Roger Aileses of the world are easy to dismiss, and their downfalls are easy to celebrate. The men who are supposed to be on our side, though — these men are the ones who break our hearts.”

Ms. Filipovic writes about how far feminists have come to topple toxic workplace harassment, and outlines how much further they have to go. She also addresses critiques from the right that politicians on the left (namely Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama) were too slow to condemn Mr. Weinstein. When Kellyanne Conway complained that it took Mrs. Clinton five days to issue a statement on the accusations, Ms. Filipovic noted that it had been “more than 365 days” since the Access Hollywood tape came out and that Ms. Conway had yet to condemn her boss’s comments. Read more »

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Rebecca Solnit in The Guardian:

“Underlying all these attacks is a lack of empathy, a will to dominate, and an entitlement to control, harm and even take the lives of others.”

Ms. Solnit seeks to understand the psychology of, as her headline puts it, “extreme masculinity.” Linking Mr. Weinstein to people like Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas gunman, she writes that “mass shooters and rapists seem to have a lack of empathy so extreme it constitutes a psychological disorder.” Read more »

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Finally, From the Center

Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg:

“To treat this in any serious way as a specifically Clinton scandal is really a bit much. She is only one of many Democrats who received contributions from the disgraced mogul over the years; singling her out doesn’t make much sense at all.”

Both parties have had their fair share of sexual predators and bad actors, Mr. Bernstein writes. The attempt of the right to turn the Weinstein affair into an indictment of Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats is silly, he says. Moreover, Republicans who excoriate those who accept money from unsavory characters, he writes, means that “that they are so trapped inside the conservative closed information loop themselves that they don’t even realize that the accusations they are making against Democrats fit their own situations far better.” Read more »

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