An anonymous “Jane Doe” filed a federal lawsuit against GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump last week, accusing him of raping her in 1994 when she was thirteen years old. The mainstream media ignored the filing.
If the Bill Cosby case has taught us anything, it is to not disregard rape cases against famous men. Serious journalists have publicly apologized for turning a blind eye to the Cosby accusers for over a decade, notwithstanding the large number of women who had come forward with credible claims. And now history is repeating itself.
In covering a story, a media outlet is not finding guilt. It is simply reporting the news that a lawsuit has been filed against Mr. Trump, and ideally putting the complaint in context. Unproven allegations are just that – unproven, and should be identified that way. (Mr. Trump’s lawyer says the charges are “categorically untrue, completely fabricated and politically motivated.”) Proof comes later, at trial. But the November election will come well before any trial. And while Mr. Trump is presumed innocent, we are permitted — no, we are obligated — to analyze the case’s viability now.