October 28, 2017

Did Dana Milbank not understand that he was working with a man who was sexually harassing women?

He says he didn't, in "A #MeToo for clueless men" (WaPo), but he wasn't "clueless," if there were clues, and he says it outright "there were clues." He says it, but then, weirdly, doesn't enumerate clues about anything that was done to put a disparate burden on women at The New Republic.

Milbank purports to have seen only a gender-neutral problem:
I knew that Wieseltier could be a bully. At editorial meetings, he would harshly cut down those he didn’t like. I was advised before I took the job that if I wanted to get ahead at the New Republic, I needed to be on his good side. He would protect those he held in favor and sink those he didn’t. I was one of those he protected. I think he liked me. I liked, and greatly admired, him.
Milbank denies that he was part of "a conspiracy of silence." Rather, it was "a cone of ignorance."

Come on, Mr. Milbank. Give me a break. How did you get into a "cone of ignorance"? You're supposed to be a journalist, and yet you lacked basic awareness of the environment in which you worked, and you claim to know nothing about the precise matter that would make you look bad now that you know you got the advantage of the favor of this man who was (allegedly) making the workplace unequal for women?

Why should we believe that? I can see that you want us to believe that because it is powerfully in your interest, but that's a reason not to believe you. You say you "knew that the magazine was a boys’ club." You took advantage of the boy's club and, at best, you pulled a cone of ignorance onto your head* so you wouldn't have to think you were wrongfully benefiting. Today, you have a lovely platform at The Washington Post. Why do you deserve that, you with the Cone of Ignorance?
My friend Franklin Foer, a former editor, recalls being uncomfortable with Wieseltier’s lewd comments when he first arrived at the magazine. But “they just seemed accepted. I said nothing — and certainly didn’t think hard enough about how those remarks would be suggestive of private behavior or created a hostile environment.”

Maybe this is because Foer and I were both members in good standing of the same boys’ club. “One of the byproducts of benefiting from male privilege is that it blinds you to the costs of the system,” Foer continues. “I abstractly understood this and even tried to combat it. But the toll wasn’t evident to me until now.”
Oh, bullshit. The "toll" is that you now are experiencing a burden — exposure as a man who knew or willfully blinded himself and not only did nothing to help, but accepted benefits for yourself at the expense of others.

So now, when it is in your interest, you're doing what you can, which seems to be to accept a carefully designed form of blame, which is no more blame than the story that has broken is forcing upon you.

_________________________

* I'm picturing something like a dunce cap or a KKK hood, but perhaps it's not headgear:


Cone of Ignorance from Clark on Vimeo.

84 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

Again, not addressing the actual "actionable" harassment, this is all normal business politics.

Some people bull rush you when you are in their way, represent a threat, or are consuming resources they need. Or if they just need to move you to the side so an ally can have your role. Others just use the long knife in the HR meeting. The end result is the same, and you need to take the same care.

I reccy "The Prince" if anyone has any questions about how corporate life works.

-XC

Saint Croix said...

Come on, Mr. Milbank. Give me a break. How did you get into a "cone of ignorance"?

Maybe he went to Michelle Cottle's wedding and saw her invited guest, Leon Wieseltier.

Big Mike said...

If it was scone of ignorance, I’d have to say he still wears it.

Saint Croix said...

And why on God's green earth would anybody pull out Dana Milbank and make an example out of him?

The New Republic's offices were filled with, uh, journalists.

Many of whom were women.

Who also said nothing and reported on nothing.







Saint Croix said...

Maybe they were all busy not covering Bill Clinton's sex harassment.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

He would protect those he held in favor and sink those he didn’t. I was one of those he protected. I think he liked me. I liked, and greatly admired, him.

These sentences don't make sense in proximity to each other. Who "greatly admire[s]" a petty bully who plays favorites and sabotages others?

Ambrose said...

Good post. Always remember that people like Milbank claim to be able to hear Republican dog whistles from a mile away and yet they are always clueless when its someone on their side.

glenn said...

Dana Milbank, like a lot of his contemporaries is either too dumb to know which of his co-workers abuse their authority with their female subordinates or he’s looking the other way. I’m thinking 50-50. Too dumb means he’s probably too dumb to do the job he has.

tim in vermont said...

Tim's rule: If your workplace is full of beautiful women, only the men are truly valued.

Now I Know! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

No thanks to the Democrats who covered for Bill Clinton.

Now I Know! said...

This past month has maybe been one of the biggest shifts in favor of equality of the sexes and correcting the power imbalances in the work place. Thank you Ann in helping to shine a light on this huge problem.

cronus titan said...

Milbank is full of shit. Just like Hollywood A-listers who knew about Weinstein, they had a huge stake in keeping it quiet since the bad actor made them rich and famous. At the same time, they also know that the reason they are rich and famous is that they played ball with bad actors. So their interest is in keeping it quiet and downplaying it whenever it comes up. And when someone who did not play ball complains (the ones who preserved their integrity and dignity but did not become rich and famous as a result) said anything, they had an interest in discrediting them. They got caught playing the game and are scrambling/panicking trying to get ahead of it.

Let them twist in the wind.

Sally Wong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

Or the 'feminists' who sold out for him.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Maybe this is because Foer and I were both members in good standing of the same boys’ club.
Oh, bullshit. Milbank is turning a problem with himself and his peers into some "boys" problem. If I had behaved as Wieseltier did, I would have been fired, instantly, the first time it came to the attention of management. These people aren't following the rules of some mythical "boys club", they are breaking rules they don't feel apply to them because they feel alienated from bourgeois society and superior to it.
There is no "boys club", but their is a growing "girls club", where women seek to act together to defend and enhance the career options of other women -- just because they are women.

Achilles said...

He would protect those he held in favor and sink those he didn’t. I was one of those he protected. I think he liked me. I liked, and greatly admired, him.

This is the leftist model for everything. Favor your cronies and punish your enemies. A purely tribal model.

Is it any wonder that the leaders of the movement at every level are corrupt shitheads and it's serfs are willing victims who celebrate any victimhood they can claim?

MadisonMan said...

So, the whole place was one where men reigned and underlings and women were denigrated. And no one thought to rock the boat. Because money.

(If only there were more woke. Has that adjective fallen out of favor?)

Rob said...

h/t: the Cone of Silence

rcocean said...

Milbank needs to be honest.

He didn't belong to a "Boys club". The New Republic was an elite, liberal, New York Jewish, Boys club, from the the Owner/Publisher down to Milbank.

Talk about an insular, in-grown group of people.

They didn't know how the people in Corporate America had to behave - because they probably didn't know a soul who didn't work in Manhattan, go to an Ivy League school, or voted Republican.

Ann Althouse said...

"h/t: the Cone of Silence"

I thought of that too, but he said "cone of ignorance" and "conspiracy of silence." I know there must be a way to work that into a funny remark, but I stopped when I hit the Simpsons clip.

Feel free to suggest a way to say it and use that clip.

Bob Ellison said...

Lewis Wetzel said...Milbank is turning a problem with himself and his peers into some "boys" problem...

Yes. Enough of this "guys talk like that in the locker room" bullshit. They don't-- good guys like me don't.

I hate hate hate this "all men are rapists" garbage. We are not. We don't all talk and push that stuff. Milbank is not just part of the problem. He is the problem.

Ken B said...

Rcocean
Yes. Inga is wrong g of course. Its more like the entitled elite are losing their ability to cow people. See under Clinton, H

LYNNDH said...

Boy oh boy (is that sexist??) there is certainly a lot people, both men and women (NO, I will not say any other gender because non exists) that are trying to cover their behinds. And most are Dems. HA HA HA and pass the popcorn.

Phil 3:14 said...

" if I wanted to get ahead at..."

Where it all starts. As it has been forever.

Michael K said...

Milbank's "friend" Franklin Foer was responsible for the

In a diary entry in The New Republic, Beauchamp claims he ridiculed a woman in Iraq whose face had been severely burned: "I love chicks that have been intimate with IEDs" (improvised explosive devices), Beauchamp quotes himself as saying, loudly, to his friends in the chow hall. "It really turns me on—melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses," he recounted. "My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing...The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall."

Next, he described finding the remains of children in a mass grave uncovered while his unit constructed a combat outpost: "One private...found the top part of a human skull... As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter ... No one was disgusted. Me included."

Finally, Beauchamp described another soldier "who only really enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs." Beauchamp described how the soldier killed three dogs in one day: "He slowed the Bradley down to lure the first kill in, and, as the diesel engine grew quieter, the dog walked close enough for him to jerk the machine hard to the right and snag its leg under the tracks."


All lies solicited and run by Foer.

Michael K said...

Milbank's "friend" Franklin Foer was responsible for the fake Scott Beauchamp stores about American "atrocities in Iraq:

In a diary entry in The New Republic, Beauchamp claims he ridiculed a woman in Iraq whose face had been severely burned: "I love chicks that have been intimate with IEDs" (improvised explosive devices), Beauchamp quotes himself as saying, loudly, to his friends in the chow hall. "It really turns me on—melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses," he recounted. "My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing...The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall."

Next, he described finding the remains of children in a mass grave uncovered while his unit constructed a combat outpost: "One private...found the top part of a human skull... As he marched around with the skull on his head, people dropped shovels and sandbags, folding in half with laughter ... No one was disgusted. Me included."

Finally, Beauchamp described another soldier "who only really enjoyed driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles because it gave him the opportunity to run things over. He took out curbs, concrete barriers, corners of buildings, stands in the market, and his favorite target: dogs." Beauchamp described how the soldier killed three dogs in one day: "He slowed the Bradley down to lure the first kill in, and, as the diesel engine grew quieter, the dog walked close enough for him to jerk the machine hard to the right and snag its leg under the tracks."[


All lies solicited and run by Foer.

Hari said...

Do men have an affirmative duty to act on behalf of harassed women when those women choose not to act on their own behalf?

robother said...

They were all so distracted by the horror of Thomas' Pubic Hair on the Coke Can Joke that they never noticed. Further damage Clarence Thomas is responsible for.

whitney said...

Liars and hypocrites all. They created a culture where virtue had to be weeded out. They've allowed their selves to be degraded and abused and allowed their souls to become deformed and ugly. And then told the rest of us we should do the same

traditionalguy said...

Seriously, in my experiences of clients, all offices know what is going on almost immediately. The Big Guy and his inner circle of enablers are PROUD of what their Big Guy gets away with whether it is stealing respect from women or stealing money from the public. The only exception is some of the accountant/bookkeepers who compartmentalize all things into the money and pretend to be blind, on cue.

Darrell said...

Leftists are all cocksuckers and deserve to have their teeth kicked down their throats. There was no cone of ignorance. They all cover for their buddies. Always.

fivewheels said...

Hard to know what to think about some of these accusations cropping up. I've worked in a half-dozen different office environments during my career, and if these kinds of stories were to start cropping up, I would be one of the clueless guys saying, "I had no idea this was going on." As far as I know right now, it's not going on.

Yet, I'm also hearing that it's going on 100 percent of the time, to 100 percent of women. Right? Am I that clueless, really, or is some gross, dishonest, and very counterproductive exaggeration going on? Honestly, it could be either. Especially if you consider "clueless" to be just a harsh way of saying, "None of the women spoke up but expected men to read their minds and somehow know about things they didn't see or hear."

Darrell said...

One day you get to be the Commissar.

fivewheels said...

Just asking all the other working stiffs and office drones here: Is this crap going on in your workplace? Do you know things? Genuinely curious.

Feranandinande said...

That's not a cone. It looks like the typical 2D representation of a black-hole's event horizon.

tim in vermont said...

I never saw anything like this, to be honest, but I never worked in an office surrounded by powerful men and beautiful women. It was always produce or get out. For everybody.

tim in vermont said...

It is nice to see a while hot flame shining on the hypocrisy.

rcocean said...

"Just asking all the other working stiffs and office drones here: Is this crap going on in your workplace? Do you know things? Genuinely curious."

I've worked for Big Corporations my entire life. You do this crap - and you're out. It was somewhat more "relaxed" in the late 1980s, but since then...

And you can only get away with it, if the woman says nothing and no one else finds out. BTW, some peeps don't understand, that if you decide to boink your boss to get a promotion and someone finds out, that "Someone" can file a suit. They can claim damages because they were unfairly denied a promotion. And you're in trouble, big time.

tim in vermont said...

I think that it is sort of ironic that just a week ago Now I Know was excusing Clinton for his sexual assaults and rape. Welcome aboard!

rcocean said...

"I never saw anything like this, to be honest, but I never worked in an office surrounded by powerful men and beautiful women. It was always produce or get out. For everybody."

Sounds 180 degrees different from TNR and Leon W.

In almost every respect.

rcocean said...

Where's Chuck?

Sebastian said...

"women seek to act together to defend and enhance the career options of other women -- just because they are women." Correct. It's a power struggle. Use the misbehavior of prog men to tar all men to smooth the path to the top. Where women will treat each other like sisters, never to be harassed in any way. The final victory of women will correct the fault in all previous utopias: they were run by men.

Bill said...

God, what a wimp.

JaimeRoberto said...

I've never seen this kind of behavior either. In general I think it's a bad idea to fish from the company pier, though in my single days I did indulge a few times. In a majority of the cases the woman was the initiator.

rhhardin said...

Make your deal or work someplace else. That's being an equal in the workplace.

Unknown said...

Milbank did nothing wrong.

1, Milbank is a journalist.
2. Journalists do not investigate liberal wrongdoing.\
3. Wieseltier was a liberal.

QED

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"But the toll wasn’t evident to me until now.” Much as I enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing prog men get their comeuppance, the "toll" still isn't "evident." Most stories remain vague. Women actively participated--in some HW cases probably under duress, in many other instances making their own choices. Wieseltier promoted women and their work -- at whose expense, to what extent, we don't know. The only evident toll is that of convenient retroactive regret.

zefal said...

I remember when arianna huffington was a Republican how liberal journalists would state what a visciuos person she was personally. There were two Republicans who also called her out for her behavior at that time. After she became a democrat not a peep about her viscious behavior from the liberal journalists. They are quick to turn a blind eye when the person has the right politics.

Ralph L said...

So, the whole place was one where men reigned and underlings and women were denigrated

Apparently, the men put the Cone of Silence over all the women, because you know they all talked about it over and over, and there's no way it wouldn't have been leaked to the men otherwise. I was going to say they gossiped, but this is too serious a subject for gossip.

No gay guys to bridge the sex gap? Have we heard from Andrew Sullivan about this?

YoungHegelian said...

@Michael K.

It was Franklin Foer's editorship of The New Republic that made me drop my subscription after 20+ years. The Beauchamp article had a lot to do with my growing disaffection with the magazine, since it was obvious that the article was full of fabrications. After it was confirmed that the article was bogus, it later came out that Beauchamp was the live-in squeeze of one of the female staffers.

You'd think about TNR's sad history with the Stephen Glass business that they'd be a bit warier of their writers faking sources, but apparently not.

Ralph L said...

I'm assuming a Cone of Silence that works as it was supposed to. There'd have been revolution if the women were prevented from hearing each other.

Though my step monster didn't really need an audience, she just needed to be awake.

bflat879 said...

Pray tell, what is going on in liberal land. They accuse Donald Trump of harassment and find out there is a bunch going on in their midst. They accuse Donald Trump of colluding with the Russians and behold, there's a whole bunch of colluding going on in the Hillary Campaign.

All of this couldn't happen to a finer bunch of people.

TerriW said...

My mind immediately jumped to "cone of shame." (Pet owner.)

Ralph L said...

After she became a democrat not a peep about her viscious behavior from the liberal journalists.

Arriana turned viscous and gummed up the works.

The beautiful receptionist who was boinking the widowed VP at my 80's small employer was transferred (and promoted) to the security office as soon as her DoD clearances came through. After a while, she was sent to computer programming school half time--on full pay and without an agreement to keep working there, unlike everyone else.
As soon as she graduated, she found a new job and dumped the VP. The other senior managers must have heard about the sex at some point. The other women who worked for him complained about his bad temper, but none that I know of ratted him out.

The first company car was an old Volkswagen Rabbit, but after it was replaced, she became known as the Company Rabbit.

David Begley said...

Go, Ann go! Skewer these lib liars.

narciso said...

And those two, beauchamp and peeve, moved over to the Atlantic, the former actually authored that silly price in slate, alleging Russian banks communicating with trump hotel computers

Yancey Ward said...

I think the problem with Mr. Milbank is probably right here:

"You're supposed to be a journalist, and yet you lacked basic awareness of the environment in which you worked"

Being a "journalist" today is not synonymous with being smart and perceptive. Indeed, it is almost the opposite, in my opinion. I think it is entirely believable that Mr. Milbank is so stupid as to be unaware of what is going on around him.

Of course, it is possible he was Wieseltier's cabin boy.

Luke Lea said...

Have these men never embred good manners? I thought that was one of the goals of good parenting

Abyssus Invocat said...

No brief for Nilbank, but are we really now moving to guilt by association? Because the next step (and its a necessary progression not a slippery slope) is mandatory informing of suspicions, citizen.

Lee Moore said...

"You're supposed to be a journalist, and yet you lacked basic awareness of the environment in which you worked"

C'mon Althouse, he's not a journalist, he's a pontificator. You don't need facts to pontificate, in fact they usually get in the way of the opinion you want to express. You can't fault a guy for not being aware of what was going on in his office if he's spent decades of his life not being aware of anything about anything, and getting paid for it.

Peter said...

These men like Milbank and others now rushing to make righteous confessionals are embarrassing, but I have to wonder what would have happened if they had "spoken out" or whatever (assuming they would have had the courage to challenge the boss, which in most cases I doubt). Would the victims of the abuse have been grateful or receptive? We're talking largely about talented professional women, not helpless immigrants on the cleaning staffs. I don't been to imply that these assaults were welcome at the time or that there was any kind of consent, but did many of these women think they could "handle it" and would they have welcomed some modern Sir Galahad defending their honor?

This is not a left-right issue, it's about men and power and the certainty that some men will abuse it. It can and does happen in churches, schools, Hollywood studios, unions, big corporations, etc. I see no way out of this other than strict objective prohibitions that don't rely on subjective notions like consent to come into play. There used to be a provision in the Canadian Criminal Code that made it a strict liability offence for a ship's captain to have sex with a passenger regardless of whether there was consent (enthusiastic or not) on the woman's part. Very Victorian, but maybe more realistic about the psycho-sexual dynamics of power and positions of trust than our never-ending modern handwringing about consent, enabling, "cones of silence", etc.

Unknown said...

He's always done what he believes is in his self interest. His request for forgiveness is disingenuous and should be rejected.

-sw

rhhardin said...

Only the mob has the capacity to grant forgiveness, and that's not now the mob entertains itself.

How the mob gets moral standing is a question that does not occur to the mob.

rhhardin said...

If robots are taking over white collar jobs, perhaps they could be sex toy robots and solve this new public problem.

tim in vermont said...

"This is not a left-right issue"

That's weird, it always had been up to now. Only Republicans could be guilty, those making accusations against Democrats were nuts and sluts. Go ahead and denounce Clinton and we can talk.

Glen Filthie said...

It's Hollywood! The women are whores, the men are perverts and it's been that way for 50 years now. But... if you shocked and outraged old women want to burn it to the ground now... I'm good with it. Wanna match?

Diogenes of Sinope said...

There are two sets of rules, one for the elite and another for everybody else. Now our Ivy League elites swear, "I never knew".

Ralph L said...

More like a hundred years in movies.
Tail as old as time...
beauty and the beast.

tim in vermont said...

I the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" based on Hemingway's experiences in the Spanish Civil War, there is a scene in which the communists force the local villagers to take a hand in forcing the "Fascists" off of a cliff by beating them with farm implements. The purpose was to make the villagers complicit in the crime and more loyal to the communists.

I think that covering for the serial sexual predator that Hillary married and also covers for to this day serves the same purpose for Democrats. Still Bill Clinton's name stays out of the news. I was amazed he survived the Bill Cosby thing without getting called out, but the loyalty of people who claim this is not a "left-right" issue runs very deep. The press is full of them, and the liberal press, which leads the way in shielding Clinton seems like it is complicit in more than just silence and rhetoric.

tim in vermont said...

Meanwhile Clooney and Damon make a movie about the horrors of suburban conservatives and we are all supposed to flock to the theater to be preached to.

Matthew Sablan said...

Maybe he just thought that these were highly and admittedly unreliable. He was just
taking everything with a grain of salt.'If he saw or heard something about a man he was friends with, he just didn't want to freak out.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I hate hate hate this "all men are rapists" garbage. We are not."

-- A woman in college said this, I looked at her point blank and said, "Am I rapist?"

She sort of stammered and tried to explain herself, and I never did end up talking much more with her after that.

Matthew Sablan said...

[To be fair, the 'all men are rapists' line is a heuristic that broke down from a previous one, which is, that strange men you don't know may be dangerous and should be treated as such. You know, don't go home with people you don't want to go home with, watch your drinks, don't go to some guy's dorm room alone if you don't know them well, etc., etc. That eventually gets boiled down to the useless heuristic: 'all men are rapists.']

Leora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gbarto said...

I'm willing to give Milbank a pass. But...
I don't want to hear one more word from him about Trump and women.
I don't want to hear one more word from him about what's going on in the White House.
Since he is clueless both to the goings-on in offices and how women are impacted by powerful men, he has no place reporting on these matters again.

JTR said...

Rape is committed by men the woman, girl, or boy knows the majority of the time.

Jupiter said...

fivewheels said...
"Just asking all the other working stiffs and office drones here: Is this crap going on in your workplace? Do you know things? Genuinely curious."

At the last place I worked, a tech company with 100K+ employees, the management had an openly-stated policy of discriminating against men in hiring, perks and promotions. Other than that, no.

Bob Loblaw said...

I never saw anything like this, to be honest, but I never worked in an office surrounded by powerful men and beautiful women. It was always produce or get out. For everybody.

Same here. I don't think it's any coincidence these stories seem to be pouring out of industries in which career advancement is based on how you look and who you know.

Joe said...

Sorry, but this is bullshit. The notion that associating with, working for someone or even being a relation makes you privy to all their secrets is nonsense.

R.J. Chatt said...

I can imagine Dana discussing this with his lawyer friends over drinks.

He goes, "Do I say I knew about it because how could a highly sensitive and intelligent being like me not know? But then, would I be condemned for not doing anything? Or do I say I didn't know, because then I have an alibi for not doing anything? Which one makes me look worse or better?"

The lawyers respond, "The second choice offers plausible deniability, that's the ticket. Swallow your pride. Yes, you would appear to be a bs'er, a jerk, and full of shit, but at least you can't be accused of being an accomplice."

Mac McConnell said...

Milbank went to Yale, but he didn't realize that being on the "good" side of one's boss was advantageous till told before he took the job. This just confirms that Dana is a moronic bag of dicks.

Martin said...

OK, I will grant Milbank that he didn't know. That's what he wants me to believe, so, OK.

But that raises the obvious: He is either a fool (as he would have it) or a liar--in either case, why should I pay any attention to anything else he has to say. Because a fool is always a fool, and liars lie, it's what they do.