Saturday, April 28, 2018

Charlie Rose's "Comeback" Show

Charlie Rose has apparently pitched a new show in which he would interview accused men in the #MeToo movement: the likes of Kevin Spacey, Louis C. K., Glen Thrush, Mark Halperin, etc.

In the interest of good journalism, i.e., dispassionately covering both sides of an issue, this would be an important forum.  Outside of some brief statements, most of these formally high-profile and vocal men have been totally silent since accusers came forward.  Their careers, too, have ended.  

It's disconcerting to see reactions to this pitch.  Steven Colbert  said "I just don't see why anyone would give a show to sexual harassers so they can interview sexual harassers.  We don't give criminals shows where they can interview each other."  He doesn't point out that one of the most disconcerting aspects of the #MeToo movement is that these women's accounts have been accepted as fact; the accused have had no legal recourse.  Nor, in many cases, is what the men have been accused of illegal.  

Constance Grady of Vox has similarly expressed outrage at the proposed show.  In her rant, she diminishes Rose's immediate firing by PBS in November following The Post's expose because he was able to retreat to a lavish beach house and play tennis.  

Apparently banishment from a lifelong career and the immediate loss of a reputation isn't an issue when someone has a nice house to find solace in.

And finally, Katie Rife at AVI News laments the proposed show, claiming that this isn't the proper redemption arc for the accused men.  Nowhere, however, does Rose suggest that this would be a redemption arc.  Again, in the spirit of good journalism, it's critical to give voice to both sides of the issue--and in the #MeToo movement, the voice of the accused has been frighteningly absent.

Additionally, all of these responses are calling this show a "come back" for Rose's career, diminishing it to sheer egoism and careerism.  Is this the respect in which Colbert, Grady and Rife evaluate careers--entirely in terms of self and ego, and not as a contribution to society?  Nowhere do they acknowledge, again, that Rose's proposed discourse would give voice to a unvoiced side of a hugely important current issue.  Or that Rose's undeniable interview skills would make him an ideal candidate for such a show.

Once again, the discourse is a call to #FacePalm and check out.
Why is it that private conversations around the #MeToo movement are far more nuanced, but in the media we're repeatedly barraged with The. Very. Same. Myopic. Narrative?

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