The allegations against Harvey Weinstein keep rolling in this week, but there's one writer at the New York Times who thinks the constant stream of disturbing accounts and disclosures mean that Weinstein needs a defender in the media.
Not a lawyer, no. An op-ed writer trolling for "hate-clicks."
A Politico report about Bret Stephens back in April described how the New York Times' community reacted to the "neoconservative pundit" joining their op-ed pages: like "he's Slenderman coming to murder the children."
Now we know why.
The piece begins with a description of the "storybook villain" Harvey Weinstein, "whose repulsive face turns out to be the spitting image of his putrescent soul." It's in those terms of unthinking evil that Stephens then leaves Weinstein behind, focusing instead on the "enablers" who let poor Harvey fall victim to his own sadistic impulses. How sad it is, says Stephens, that no one was there to save Weinstein from himself.
In his own words, via the New York Times:
It’s in this context that one can mount a defense of sorts for Mr. Weinstein, who inhabited a moral universe that did nothing but cheer his golden touch and wink at (or look away from) his transgressions — right until the moment that it became politically inconvenient to do so.
But the important truth about Mr. Weinstein isn’t his moral hypocrisy: In movies as in politics, hypocrisy isn’t just an accepted fact of life but also an essential part of the job.
The important truth is that he was just another libidinous cad in a libertine culture that long ago dispensed with most notions of personal restraint and gentlemanly behavior.
Just like Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka's unnecessary praise of Mike Pence yesterday, strange justifications and reasoning for Weinstein's alleged behavior only come across as tone-deaf and painfully stupid in the wake of such serious charges.
Here's how Twitter's digesting Stephens' piece. Most found it to be a transparent play for controversy:
Others put their anger into more scatalogical messages:
If the point was to make people upset, mission accomplished.
As toxic as the term "fake news" is... don't you want the president to level it at Stephens right now? Yeah, that seems likely.