NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein has been working his little corner of the Media Research Center's defense strategy on behalf of Brent Bozell's personal friend, Herman Cain: monitoring MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and pushing a certain theme in the process.
In an Oct. 31 post, Finkelstein complained that a reporter for Politico, which first published the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain, "was being evasive about the details of the allegations" in his appearance on "Morning Joe," going on to further attack the story's "sketchy generalities." Finkelstein went on to grumble that "as for the details in the Politico story, they are as ambiguous as can be," adding, "Politico is going to have to do better than that. [Jonathan] Martin's evasiveness today was telling."
Finkelstein repeated that theme in a Nov. 1 post on that day's "Morning Joe," which featured another Politico staffer, Mike Allen. Finkelstein huffed that rather than detail the publication's 'vague allegation that Herman Cain had made gestures "that were not overtly sexual but that made women uncomfortable,' Allen's telling first instinct was to point to the story's popularity on a social networking site."
Finkelstein didn't mention that nobody has contradicted Politico's claims about Cain, even as vague as they are. Nor did he mention that many of those details he's seeking are bound by confidentiality clauses in the settlement agreement that Cain's accusers reached with the National Restaurant Association.
As we've noted, there is one easy solution to all that ambiguity: Cain can ask the National Restaurant Association to unbind everyone involved from the confidentiality clause.
Will Finkelstein make that request of Cain? Then again, he was quick to blame Politico for the vagueness of the allegations while exempting Cain -- the man who can answer all of Finkelstein's questions -- from responsibility for that vagueness.
Finkelstein also played the Clinton equivocation the MRC loves so much -- minimizing the seriousness of the allegations against Cain by comparing them to something Bill Clinton did -- in another Oct. 31 post, this one attacking Democratic strategist Bob Shrum for noting that "if he didn't do anything, why in the world did they pay tens of thousands of dollars to these women?" First he smeared Shrum by claiming he was "suffering from the not-so-early-onset of some dread memory-loss syndrome," adding, "Does the failed presidential campaign consultant's support of Bill Clinton, despite his much larger, $850,000 settlement with Paula Jones while "adamantly denying" her claims, fire any synapses in Shrum's cerebrum?" Finkelstein further minimized the allegations by adding, "And remember that the reported five-figure settlements by the National Restaurant Association represent no more than a long-week's work for a team of big-time defense attorneys."
Well, Finkelstein does have a actual title at NewsBusters -- senior contributor -- which tells us he's on the MRC's payroll. And even if he isn't, he's very much down with the MRC's agenda of protecting Bozell's buddy.