Media Makes New Rules For Cosby

All that news media coverage of Bill Cosby’s alleged sexual misbehavior has made me a bit queasy.

Had I been Washington Post‘s editor I’d likely have killed that story with interviews with five of the 16 women who claim Cosby sexually assaulted them many years ago.

It began: “He partied with Hugh Hefner and was a regular at the magazine mogul’s Playboy Mansion bacchanals. He co-owned a restaurant and hit the hottest clubs. He sizzled.”

Then came graphic, detailed stories of alleged sexual abuse.

Cosby is a celebrity, but he is not a public office holder, a public school-teacher or holder of any other public-funded position. So what’s the ethical justification for all the media pursuit of this story?

There’s no lawsuit or criminal investigation, so reporters are not reporting on official documents. They are relying on uncorroborated stories.

Cosby denies the allegations. He refuses interviews, and says, “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

I’m not suggesting all those allegations are false. They may well be true because only one of the 16 women sought a settlement with the entertainer, and Cosby can’t be prosecuted at this late date.

I’m just curious why the news media found this to be such pursuable news. Good topic for a UH journalism class.

By my reckoning, the best better-governance law to come out of this year’s Legislature — by unanimous vote, too — is Act 230.

It requires members of state boards and commissions (such as UH regents and Land Use Commission) to let the public inspect their money and property holdings, income sources, memberships on other boards, and creditors.

My reaction has been “good riddance” to those who don’t want to disclose and have quit. We should not be served by people shunning transparency.

I had a conversation with such an objector. His reasoning: “If we have to do that, why don’t you journalists?”

“Because we are in private business and not doing public-financed business,” I replied.

“Well, you use the public airwaves,” he countered, apparently forgetting we aren’t all in radio and television.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s objection is even more twisted logic. He claimed in a Civil Beat interview that it’s an anti-woman law.

How’s that? “Oh, please. The prejudice against women, the discrimination against women in the workplace is rampant. It’ll be, ‘Oh, she’s married to the second cousin of the guy who’s the head of this department,’ or something like that. And someone will say it’s a conflict … believe me, it’s going to hit women a lot harder than it’s ever hit men.”

Run that by me again, guv! Why just married women?

My hope is that incoming governor David Ige will instruct his attorney general to withdraw the state AG’s appeal of Act 230.

It’s good for us.