I’m not one to support Donald Trump, but he does have a valid point when he asks about “due process” in the following statement he made on Twitter:
It’s a principle every journalist must live by: presumed innocence until proven guilty, though I’m not sure how well the media are measuring up to that golden rule these days.
Of course, the media can argue they are only reporting allegations being made publicly by various celebrities and others in contact with public figures. But it is the media that is making these allegations public: without media reports, the public wouldn’t know.
I’m wondering if the media are being used in some #MeToo cases to smear innocent men being falsely accused for whatever reasons?
Sure, the media don’t actually convict anybody in reports. But merely reporting a #MeToo allegation these days is enough to destroy a man’s life.
The problem with so many of the allegations is that no official complaints were made with police or other authorities, and many of the alleged incidents happened decades ago, as Trump points out. Sure, the allegations often seem pretty convincing and damning. But they are still unproven in a court of law, as most media outlets point out, albeit at the end of their articles — and who reads to the end of newspaper articles these days?
And despite denials by those accused in allegations and no charges being laid against them, they are still being forced out of their jobs by employers more concerned about their companies’ images than due process.
Still, those being publicly accused do have recourse. They can sue. Indeed, if they are truly innocent, you would think that they would have to sue those who have made allegations, employers who dismissed them, as well as any media outlets that may have convicted them. Oh, yes, there’s Twitter as well. It is responsible for monitoring its content. It shouldn’t be allowing people to be smeared and publicly convicted without due process, right? It’s called libel and defamation of character.
The fact that few — if any — of those being named in #MeToo allegations are fighting back through lawsuits may speak for itself. But I suspect that as the number of allegations increases, we will see more men who proclaim innocence taking to the courts to restore their names and recoup financial losses. They may not truly be innocent. They might be guilty as sin, but it will be up to those who made the allegations to prove them. That’s how the justice system works.
Trump’s tweet may be a turning point for the #MeToo movement. It may not be enough to simply make an allegation on Twitter and sit back and watch a man’s life be destroyed.
Prepare for a #MeToo legal backlash against those making allegations as well as those spreading them.