The Vicious Peril of Mob Justice

Back in 2006, a young woman accused several men of kidnapping her, then gang-raping her. The media played up her story, and the men were all arrested, thrown out of school, and badly abused in the media. The incident became known as the Duke LaCrosse Team Case, and gained notoriety because the men were completely innocent. It’s noteworthy that not one of the media hacks who tried to destroy the young men, ever took personal responsibility for their atrocious behavior.

In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine broke the story about a college student at the University of Virginia who accused several male students of rape. Like the Duke case, that story proved to be completely false, but the men – again – were presumed guilty and thrown out of school and faced serious legal trouble. And once again, no one at Rolling Stone magazine, TMZ, NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox ever stepped up and admitted they were way out of bounds by running with assumptions and ignoring the right of the accused to have accusations tested before being broadcast as fact.

So here we are again. I really, really hate the possibility that I am defending slime bags who molested women and committed crimes, but I am deeply concerned by a pattern I see – far from new – of the media running with the most salacious story they can find, with absolutely no effort to verify claims before going loud Enough information on some of the cases has come up to help a reasonable person find at least some charges credible. And some of the accused have come out and more or less admitted their guilt. But with that said, many others who have been accused have denied their guilt, and certain aspects of their cases suggest that they may be victims of a contrived effort to damage their name and position. No, I am not going to get into whom I think is innocent or guilty, except for a case which shows what I fear.

I despise Matt Lauer, especially since it seems he has admitted his guilt, that NBC covered for him for many years, and he was protected because he was important to the network. But it bothered me that Lauer was fired within hours of the first-ever accusation against him. Either NBC knew he was guilty and ignored it for years, or they made an assumption as soon as Lauer was accused. Even if someone is really guilty, a total scumbucket, a reasonable employer fires them only when guilt is proven, not when the accusation is embarrassing for the company.

There is absolutely no place for sexual predators in any position of trust or authority. But there is great and terrible peril in punishing someone on the basis of an accusation, however serious.

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  • pennywit

    But it bothered me that Lauer was fired within hours of the first-ever accusation against him.

    I do not believe this is accurate. Variety reports that it spent two months investigating allegations against Matt Lauer before it published its story:

    ariety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

    This isn’t a single accusation. It’s three accusations in a reported and vetted story.

    Variety further writes:

    The cause of his dismissal, according to sources, was a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from Lauer that started on a trip at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued for several months.

    The employee met with human resources at NBC on Monday night. In a statement, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack called this the first complaint about his behavior in over 20 years and acknowledged that it may not be the last: “We were also presented with reason to believe that this may not have been an isolated incident,” Lack said.

    • DJD60_TX

      NBC fired Lauer,not Variety. And according to NBC, they fired Lauer within hours of the first-ever complaint made to their HR against him. Are they lying through their teeth? Maybe, but if you take them at their word, the brass at NBC are hypocrites no matter what they knew or assumed.

      • Jwb10001

        I’m not willing to give Lauer or NBC any credit here. I suspect NBC new full well that Lauer was a problem. I also suspect he’s been called out at NBC more than once in the past. I think both Lauer and NBC have lied and hidden this abuse. My guess is that once this was going to go public NBC had to throw in their hand and toss Matt out. The rest is just window dressing trying to keep from having the entire house of cards fall in on them.

        • pennywit

          I suspect NBC knew full well that Lauer was a problem. I also suspect he’s been called out at NBC more than once in the past.

          This is consistent with organizations, both inside and outside the news business, that will prioritize protecting a high-value employee over investigating claims of sexual harassment.

          • Jwb10001

            It’s the same story every time, hide the truth to save your reputation until the truth comes out and destroys your reputation. Or as has been said time and time again it’s not the crime it’s the cover up, except in this case it’s both the crime and the cover up.

  • Hank_M

    Nice to see you writing here again.

    And I agree, it is and has been disturbing to watch the media crucify people based on uncorroborated accusations – mob justice as you put it.

    Which is why I’m enjoying seeing them hoisted on their own petard, so to speak.

  • Retired military

    “Either NBC knew he was guilty”
    And yet David is silent.

  • Retired military

    “The viscous peril of Mob justice”

    For a glaring example please see David’s article about Moore from about 2 weeks ago.

  • jim_m

    If you read the accusations the point is made that this was more than just harassment. Lauer is a rapist and NBC helped cover it up and silence his victims.

    NBC was apparently presented with cell phone texts of an explicit and harassing nature. Additionally, both Variety and at least one other news outlet were nearing publication of their own stories. NBC acted to pay off this particular victim and get ahead of the story before it blew up in their faces.

    This is not mob justice because it was adjudicated between the employer and the employee. NBC was presented with clear and convincing evidence of his transgression and it is also clear that NBC knew about and facilitated his acts. Wait for the multiple suits to come where NBC will be forced to settle with women raped by Lauer.

  • Par4Course

    The better example of “accusations equal guilt” is Roy Moore. Unlike Lauer, Moore was accused of actions going back nearly 40 years without documentary support, but the Republican leadership (McConnell and Ryan) deemed him guilty, told him to drop out of the Senate race and has threatened not to seat him if he wins the election. I don’t like Moore and he may have done some bad things 30 years ago but that’s no excuse for finding him guilty without more than accusations. In the national scene, the same scenario has been used with the Trump – Russia story. This is typical liberal “argument.”

  • Wild_Willie

    The supposed ‘moral authorities’ of Hollywood and some in positions of power in the MSM are proving to be anything but.

    I am a firm believer of reciprocity. They are in fact getting what they have given to political enemies or privileged white people.

    I do have one problem with the entire situation. Definition. What are they guilty of? Rape, terrible and horrible and criminal. Saying to a woman ‘you have a nice ass’ is crass but does not come close to a sexual harassment/abuse level. In Texas both of the above will be listed on the sexual predator report along with child molesters.

    I met my wife at our place of employment 44 years ago. I probably would be judged a harasser if she didn’t care for me at all if it happened today.

    I will also say if a good looking man or rich man flirts with a pretty woman it would be innocent fun. If the man is not good looking she would probably accuse him of inappropriate behavior.

    For me it all comes down to defining what was done and why it is viewed as such.

    In no way am I giving sympathy to Hollywood, MSM or D.C.. For it to be reported, it has to be pretty bad a true. In Moore’s case, I smelled a rat and that is being brought to light. False accusations need to have the same dire consequences for the woman. She needs to be listed as a false accuser of sexual behavior. It is a serious charge and should be protected and honored.

  • josil

    Re the Duke Lacrosse Team scandal, it is true that the media jumped to their narrative-based conclusions immediately…but so did many of the Duke faculty by advertising their “string em up” proclivities.

  • DJ,

    The Justice System is broken. In support I offer the nul-prosse of Hillary Clinton, and the verdict in the Zarate trial. At need I can and shall go on. What do you propose to do to fix this problem?