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On Friday, Donald Trump Was Accused of Rape, and the Media’s Coverage Has Been Practically Nonexistent

On Friday, New York Magazine published an excerpt from writer E. Jean Carroll’s upcoming memoir in which she accuses Donald Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room 23 years ago. Her description of the alleged event is detailed and nauseating. You likely wouldn’t know any of that, though, if you were getting your news from the vast majority of mainstream news sources this weekend.

None of the “big five” networks—CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox (obviously), and CBS—gave much or even any coverage to the allegations during their highly-watched Sunday morning shows. As HuffPost notes, both CBS and CNN interviewed Mike Pence. Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Steve Bullock, and Julián Castro appeared on those networks. None of them was asked to comment on Carroll’s story.

The New York Times covered the allegations, but rather than consider it to be front-page news—or even political news at all—they relegated the story to the books section.

Carroll did appear on MSNBC Sunday in the 11:00 hour, where Joy Reid noted, “In any other universe, in any other presidency, in any other news cycle, E. Jean Carroll’s bombshell revelations against the sitting President of the United States would have been the lead story all week long.” Instead, it’s been “relatively buried.”

CNN excluded the story from their morning show, but did address it in the 11AM hour Relative Sources, specifically discussing the “media fatigue” that kept the story from being more widely discussed on networks like their own.

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota interviewed Carroll Monday morning, and the panel on New Day, also discussed not just the media fatigue behind the story’s lack of traction, but our collective fatigue around Trump’s scandals and atrocious behavior. Carroll is the sixteenth woman to accuse Trump of assault or otherwise inappropriate sexual behavior, and rather than ever reach a breaking point where these allegations are taken as seriously as they deserve, people become numb to it all.

Trump himself doesn’t even bother making his denials of these allegations believable. His response was to say he has “no idea” who Carroll is and that he’d “never met this person in my life.” That’s easily disproved, though, by a picture of Trump and Carroll together that was published in the NYM article itself. That means that Trump is openly, provably lying about these allegations, and he’s not being challenged on that fact.

“The rage of women is really incandescent right now,” said CNN commentator Jess McIntosh, “and what happened on Friday was that the Christine Blasey Ford wounds, the 16 women who came forward in the campaign and nothing was done, all got reopened. So if we don’t see this story move real fast, up the story ladder—and I realize a lot was happening on Friday but a woman accused the president of rape. That is a front page story. And that is how we all have to treat it or this is never going to stop.”

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.