“Harvey Weinstein is now a big problem for Democrats,” wrote CNN’s Chris Cillizza. “The Democrats cannot ignore their Harvey Weinstein problem,” wrote the Week’s Ed Morrissey. “Yes, Hillary — and the Democrats — Do Have a Harvey Weinstein Problem,” wrote the Daily Beast’s Keli Goff.
Headlines like these were inescapable in the days after the Weinstein scandal broke. They are not wrong so much as they are incomplete. More than a dozen women have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault, telling stories that often mirror the stories told about Weinstein. Trump, of course, received advice and debate prep from the late Roger Ailes after Ailes left Fox News over a series of sexual harassment allegations.
Speaking of Fox News, over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Bill O’Reilly was still at the channel, after he settled a sexual harassment accusation for $32 million — in total, he’s now known to have settled about $45 million in sexual harassment accusations. Fox News signed him to a lucrative contract after that payout happened.
So perhaps it’s really Republicans who have a Donald Trump problem, or a Fox News problem — after all, Fox News and Donald Trump have had more influence over the GOP than Weinstein ever had over the Democrats.
But let’s stop hiding behind these sorts of headlines. It’s America that has the problem. Pick an industry and you’ll hear stories. Journalism is being rocked by an anonymous list of men who are said to abuse and harass women; BuzzFeed is investigating a number of its senior employees; and Vox’s parent company, Vox Media, fired its editorial director after an investigation revealed misconduct. In Hollywood, there are now 38 women accusing director James Toback of sexual harassment. Rumors of sexual assault have spilled into the open about comedian Louis CK, actor Ben Affleck, and others.
Last week, the hashtag #MeToo took over social media. Virtually every woman I follow, on every social platform, no matter the industry or walk of life they came from, shared stories of harassment, abuse, and worse. I read searing tales from reporters and techies, chefs and yogis, civil servants and mountain climbers.
There is a pervasiveness to sexual assault in America that defies the word “problem.” When a system creates an outcome this consistently, this predictably, in this many different spaces, you have to at least consider the possibility that the outcome is intended, that…