An Intercept piece from last year by Zaid Jilani contains the useful observation that now disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein was not only one of the chief bankrollers of the Clinton campaign, he was an informal campaign advisor. In frequent contact with Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook, Weinstein was particularly concerned with Sanders’ inroads into Clinton’s support among women and African American voters.
One component of the strategy to head this off involved tarring Sanders male supporters as “Bernie Bros“. Those on the receiving end of the smear will recall that it consisted of raising doubts about Sanders supporters’ commitment to civil rights while accusing them of opposing Clinton based on their inability to accept female leadership. Some of them, it was claimed, went farther in directing obscene misogynist attacks on Clinton’s supporters on social media platforms.
Having participated, along with many others, in the small industry required to rebut many of these charges, I’m not going to rehash them here,
What is worth mentioning are not the smears themselves but those who were circulating them. Among them were New York pundits Rebecca Traister, Joan Walsh and others who were quick to point to Sanders’s supporters “reminding their feminist peers that misogyny and bitter gender resentments are not — as they have never been — the sole province of the American right,” thereby doing their part to foment the myth that they were comparable to and in some cases little better than the benighted “deplorables” on the other side of the aisle.
This was dishonest and plenty reprehensible then. What makes it in retrospect even more so is that, as we now know, Weinstein’s predations were common knowledge to Traister, Walsh and others in the elite media circles they inhabit.
Indeed, Traister herself now admits that she had a front row seat, Weinstein having called her a “cunt” after she confronted him with an “impertinent question.”
But she “never really thought of trying to write the story” about Weinstein’s predations, even though she was aware of many incidents similar to those which have now come to light. She is only speaking out now that others have taken the risk-and not incidentally only after Weinstein’s checks were banked by the Clinton campaign and cashed by many of Traister’s friends working within it.
How do Traister and others justify giving Weinstein a pass on his all too real assaults while circulating smears against those whose only crime was supporting a candidate disapproved of by the Democratic Party Wall Street wing?
No doubt they will not deign to answer “impertinent” questions from media unknowns like myself.
But the main conclusion is unescapable: when they emanate from the purveyors of respectable conventional wisdom, charges of sexism, racism and anti-semitism have nothing to do with achieving justice for the victims. Rather they often function as a weapon against those attempting challenges to Weinstein and similar plutocrats who have owned and operated the Democratic Party for decades.
None of this, of course, is meant to deny the existence of institutional white supremacy, misogyny and even anti-semtism.
But compromised sources such as Traister should be viewed with extreme suspicion: their accusations along these lines invariably have an agenda-one which involves protecting those in the club. Which is, as George Carlin famously noted, the same club that they use to beat over the head those of us who aren’t in it, and never will be.chomsky.kissinger.thewhitehouseyears