Former SNL writer and Democrat Senator Al Franken has been accused of sexually assaulting and “humiliating” former model turned sports commentator, Leeann Tweeden. In contrast to the public outcry against Alabama’s Roy Moore, the response from the media has initially been accommodating and accepting.
The allegations date back to 2006 when Tweeden and Franken were on tour for the USO. A picture released shows Tweeden sleeping in a flak jacket and helmet on a C17 flight and a grinning Franken touching her breasts. Tweeden claims that during their rehearsals, Franken “forced his tongue” down her throat and insisted that they kiss for the purpose of realism.
The Immediate Reactions
Unlike the Moore eruptions, condemnation has been slow in coming. While there have been suggestions of a Senate Ethics hearing, there have been no calls for Franken to step down from his position. Franken himself has suggested that he face an Ethics Committee to look into his behavior; this follows two statements in which he dismisses the photograph as an “unfunny” joke, and declares that he remembers the rehearsals with Tweeden very differently.
The Apology Tour
When news broke, Franken issued his first apology. He said:
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” said Franken. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
This was not well-received by many other than leftist Twitter users who took the opportunity to lambast and denigrate Ms. Tweeden for her former modeling career and political stance. He then released a second apology:
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing — and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry.”
The Later Reactions
There are two notable events that have since taken place. The first is that the Roy Moore scandal, which has been in the top-trending results for days, seems to have disappeared. It’s almost as if the leftist media wants to move away from sex scandals all of a sudden.
The second is that as rumors of more allegations come to light, the same media that has been attacking Moore has begun turning their eyes to Franken. Even CNN has released an article suggesting that Franken’s second apology should be seen as an attempt to save his political career rather than an actual apology.
The reality is that the news media of any stripe can only go so far with hype and allegations in one direction before a moment of realization arrives. The moment when they understand that every eye in the country is upon them and judging them for their bias. Much the same as Franken’s second apology, the leftist coverage seems more a last attempt to salvage their reputation than a true Damascus moment.