Colorado’s conservative pundits are not a monolith when it comes to discussing recent allegations of a corporate culture at Fox News, which allegedly enabled years of sexual harassment by high-profile leaders and personalities at the network.
Take Colorado Springs’ syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and KNUS 710-AM talk radio host Krista Kafer as two examples on the spectrum of conservative opinion.
On Colorado conservative talk radio this week, Krista Kafer recounted a personal story from 2011, involving “a very powerful, very wealthy” Fox News contributor, whom she met at a conference for which she was volunteering.
The man in question offered to meet informally with Kafer over coffee to discuss helping her transition from a career in technical writing to “public writing.” But Kafer was stunned when, later that evening, he suggested, “When this is all over, why don’t you come to my hotel room?”
Kafer said that at that point, she left the function because:
“Suddenly, I felt despair. Here is somebody I thought was interested in my career. Turned out, that wasn’t his interest at all. […] It’s creepy! He’s married.”
Late that evening, the same man called Kafer and left a voicemail, again inviting her to his hotel room. “I was horrified, right?” recounted Kafer.
Co-host Steve Kelley interrupted Kafer’s recounting to ask, “What were you wearing at the time? Were you being provocative or flirtatious in any way?”
Kafer spoke about the personal impact of this experience, which included feeling deceived, demeaned, disgusted, used, and objectified. She related subsequent feelings of self-doubt where, in disbelief and shock, she initially second-guessed her own interpretation of what had happened.
When the man called her again months later, asking why she hadn’t answered his late night phone call, Kafer explained she was confused about his intentions. He claimed to have only innocent intentions. Kafer offered to meet the man again to discuss her career change:
“[He said,] ‘Oh, I don’t think I can make that happen.’ But before he hung up he asked me, ‘Uh, have you told anyone about that?’”
That’s when Kafer says she knew that her suspicions were confirmed.
After the Fox and O’Reilly stories broke recently, Kafer said she considered going public and identifying the man, because:
“I do think there is a foul abscess of rotten culture, apparently, at Fox News – of which a lot of people are not a part, I have no doubt. […] This stuff needs to be exposed and shamed, so it doesn’t happen anymore.”
Kafer has since decided not to identify the man. She cites how the resulting publicity might adversely impact her credibility as a commentator and analyst— shifting focus from her experience, expertise, and accomplishments to project ulterior motives upon her—as one of the reasons she decided not to identify the man in her story.
Another consideration for Kafer was not wanting to publicly exhume this emotionally painful experience from her past. Kafer related on air that her mother had sent an electronic message to her at that moment, expressing alarm and concern for her well-being and safety, even though she had not named the “cad”.
One listener called in to the show to question Kafer’s interpretation of the events. Another caller pointed to a woman’s responsibility in similar interactions to behave ethically and responsibly. Others advised Kafer to reveal the identity of the man in her story.
Steve Kelley, while seemingly sympathetic to Kafer’s claims, criticized The New York Times (which broke the story of O’Reilly’s settlements in harassment claims) and insinuated that Media Matters and George Soros were responsible for politicizing a story that otherwise might have not received attention.
Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin appeared Wednesday on the Ross Kaminsky Show (KHOW) and the Dan Caplis Show (KNUS) to discuss her blog piece entitled “Straight talk about women and the work place”. She directly addressed the same concerns that Kafer had with going public with her story, in not-so-empathetic terms.
She disparaged women, with “suspicious timing” who pile on with their own allegations against wealthy, powerful men who are “targeted.” She urged women to “get off the victim bandwagon,” and focused much of her criticism on women who “falsely accuse” for selfish motives such as fame, political partisanship, personal enrichment, or professional advancement.
She called them “the lowest form of female crapweasel on the planet.”
While insisting that sexual harassment needs to be called out, Malkin offered that legitimate reports should fit prescribed parameters and timelines in order to be deemed righteous and legitimate. She did not speculate on how her characterization of women perceived to be lying or manipulating their stories might influence women who have legitimate complaints of sexual harassment and who are seeking justice and accountability for the offense.
Listen to Krista Kafer on Kelley & Kafer on KNUS (4/24/17) here:
Listen to Krista Kafer on Kelley & Kafer on KNUS — Day 2 of discussion (4/25/17) here:
Listen to Krista Kafer talk about her experience with Peter Boyles on KNUS (4/25/17) here:
Listen to Michelle Malkin’s interview with Ross Kaminsky on KHOW (4/26/17) here:
Watch Michelle Malkin’s video blog about sexual harassment reporting on CRTV.com here: