You don’t have to be a supporter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief who’s been charged with sex crimes in New York City, to be appalled at some of the journalism about this case. Sadly, you can find a prime example on the website of the normally high-minded Center for Public Integrity, a totally damning piece by John Solomon based on lurid new allegations from two unnamed sources “familiar with the investigation.”
The sources insisted on anonymity, Solomon reports, “because of the ongoing investigation….” What in the world does that mean? Nothing: It’s an empty non-excuse for refusing to stand behind their own words.
Here’s my take. These sources are almost certainly in law enforcement. I believe they are almost certainly trying to solidify the public perception of Strauss-Kahn as a criminal scumbag, and do this so thoroughly that almost anyone serving on any jury will come into the trial with a predisposition to find him guilty — and that his defense lawyers, knowing that this is the case, will go with a plea bargain.
I don’t doubt that Solomon has reported faithfully what he was told. That doesn’t make any of it true. Nor do I doubt that Solomon and his editors trust these sources. There’s no reason why you should, since they won’t stand behind their own words.
I’m no fan of Strauss-Kahn, nor of the French media’s habit of glossing over ugly behavior among the people — almost all men — who rule government and business. He may well have done this crime. But I’m sticking with innocent until proved guilty.
I’ve been a longtime fan of, and have contributed to, the Center for Public Integrity. That won’t change. But as I’ve said privately to a friend in the organization, I believe this piece was way below the center’s standards.