Theatlantic.com has just published a piece by Stuart Taylor Jr., a Contributing Editor for The National Journal, in which he attempts to argue that the DSK charges should be dropped, and in the process, reveals himself to be a lazy thinker of the most arrogant, out-of-touch ilk and a grade A misogynist to boot.
In short, he believes that Nafissatou Diallo has proven herself to be deceptive, and therefore, doesn’t deserve a criminal trial (he generously offers that, despite being a “serial liar,” she does deserve a civil trial). He wastes no words, strangely, looking at DSK’s believability, despite the growing evidence from various witnesses all over the frickin’ globe that the man had sex and power problems. Further, Taylor’s analysis is littered with misconceptions about sexual assault, chief among them that rape is only plausible when the perpetrator has a weapon of some kind.
Here’s what is really going on: Taylor, who took the Duke lacrosse case and turned it into a grand morality play about the political correctness of our time, is taking the DSK case and fitting it into the exact same pre-determined tropes without bothering to do any new critical thinking about this case. He writes:
Remember the Duke lacrosse rape fraud? Remember Tawana Brawley? Some seem to unlearn the lessons of such cases every time a poor (or not so poor) woman of color accuses a rich (or not so rich) white male of doing something horrible. Especially when the accused admits to conduct that was, at best, unseemly and crude. The hard fact is that in a great many “he said, she said” cases–including this one–it is impossible to be confident of whether or not the woman consented.
Notice the word choice there: every time. Essentially Taylor is arguing that because there have been cases of poor women of color falsely accusing rich white men, all cases involving these two demographic groups are unprosecutable. According to Taylor, there is no victim pure enough, no rapist guilty enough, no case straight-forward enough. In his world, no poor woman can be trustworthy and no rich man can be blamed. Consent is irrelevant and indeterminable.
As a dedicated reader of The Atlantic, I’m deeply disappointed that they would even publish such an unreasonable, disrespectful, and downright unethical analysis. This seems like a prime example of false balance in journalism–as if giving Stuart Taylor Jr. a platform is somehow honoring one side of an argument, when, in fact, it is spreading racism, classism, and sexism of the lowest order.