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Don’t believe your lying eyes, says New York Times feminist claiming #BelieveAllWomen is a ‘right-wing canard’

Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

Don’t believe your lying eyes, says New York Times feminist claiming #BelieveAllWomen is a ‘right-wing canard’
Believing all women is a trap set for feminists and Democrats by evil Republicans seeking to create an impossible purity test, says a new op-ed. That’s one way out of the who-whom conundrum about Joe Biden. Too bad it’s nonsense.

Time and again, Democrats have picked up the banner of feminism, from accusing Donald Trump of being a misogynist, sexist rapist during the 2016 campaign to the 2018 attempt at railroading Justice Brett Kavanaugh with salacious and entirely unverified claims of sexual assault when he was in high school. Now, however, their own presidential candidate stands accused of sexually assaulting a staffer decades ago.

Also on rt.com I want Biden’s CORONATION, not probe of sexual assault, says veteran NYT journalist urging Trump’s removal

Some Democrats have flat-out said they don’t care about justice or equality or credible accusations, they hate Trump that much and just want Biden to win. Others, however, have struggled with the obvious hypocrisy of that position and desperately sought something – anything – that would bridge the cognitive dissonance and make their position look virtuous again.

That’s where Susan Faludi comes in. The feminist journalist and author penned a remarkable piece published by in the New York Times on Monday, arguing that actually, Democrats and feminists stand for “believe women,” while the hashtag #BelieveAllWomen was a brainchild of Republicans who sought to trap them in an impossible purity test:

“Believe All Women” is not an amplification of “Believe Women,” but its negation. 

Citing a digital archivist at Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library, which maintains a collection of over 30 million tweets related to #MeToo sexual assault allegations, Faludi claims the “all” was inserted by a fringe user and then popularized by “conservative editor” David French in January 2016, to be used mostly by critics ever since.

To call this gaslighting – attempting to persuade someone they are insane because observable reality does not match what you claim it to be – is woefully inadequate. Faludi’s op-ed is more like something straight off the pages of dystopian novels by Orwell or Kafka. 

First of all, it focuses on the hashtag to obfuscate the fact that the phrases have been used interchangeably. Even if her claim about the hashtag’s origins is accurate, at the time she cited – and ever since – French has been aligned with the Democrats in the NeverTrump camp, so making him into some right-wing bugbear doesn’t work.

More importantly, however, Faludi is dead wrong about the usage of both the hashtag and the phrase. They absolutely have been used interchangeably, and not just by random people or Republicans – but by outspoken Democrats, Resistance activists and media personalities. 

Don’t take my word for it, either – journalist Alex Van Ness brought the receipts in a 10-tweet thread on Monday.

The thread shows that the phrase “believe all women” was unironically used by The View (December 8, 2017) and NPR (February 7, 2018). The hashtag #BelieveAllWomen was used in the same way by House Democrats Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) and Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) in September and October 2018. University law clinics and organizations battling sexual assault? Check. Even outspoken Resistance activists specializing in trolling President Trump’s mentions made the list.

What Faludi gets right is that “believe all X” is an absolutely ludicrous standard that no one can ever fully live up to. The time to point that out, however, was when her side was weaponizing it for political purposes. Instead, she tries to rewrite history and invert the facts.

Sure enough, her target audience is eagerly latching onto this, projecting their hypocrisy onto the designated scapegoat – ironically, their NeverTrump allies – and moving on with support for Joe Biden without their pesky conscience getting in the way. That was presumably the point of this entire exercise.

Yet there are some self-identifying leftists out there who can’t get past the rampaging moral relativism that requires denial of facts for the sake of repairing the Narrative. Folks like Bridget Phetasy, or Glenn Greenwald – who rightly torched the efforts to rehabilitate Biden back in April as repudiating #MeToo for #MeBlue.

Being a Democrat means believing one is morally correct, if not necessarily factually correct, as the party’s new mascot Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez famously put it not so long ago. Faludi’s piece was clearly supposed to bolster that belief. Instead, it exposed the party’s major problem: that it’s openly sacrificing its publicly stated principles on the altar of power.  

Bold move, that. We’ll see how it works out in November.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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