The media has once again proven itself to be one giant double standard. I know. Shocking, right? So what is it this time? Coverage of Israel? Ranking on Conservatives? Nope. This time, it is policing within media circles. Let’s go all the way back to last Tuesday. There is an ongoing hotly debated topic on Capitol Hill over whether or not the whistleblower who reported potential corruption between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should be revealed to the public. Amid these debates, CBS News invited the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, John Kostyack, on to explain some the protections that are and are not afforded to the whistleblower.
When asked to explain the rights afforded to the whistleblower, Kostyack explained that “One of the most important protections all whistleblowers have is the right to be protected against reprisal and retaliation. There’s a long and horrible history of people losing their jobs, having threats to themselves and their family because they spoke out.” Remember that because it will be extremely important later. So the establishment of the protection against whistleblowers was to combat the history of people being targeted for reporting inappropriateness within their own company or government.
Let’s fast forward all the way to that same day: Tuesday, November 5. Project Veritas, a corporate and media watchdog agency, released a video of ABC News anchor Amy Robach talking into a hot mic to someone off screen explaining that she had already done the legwork to expose Jeffrey Epstein as “the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known,” and his apparent connections to the Clinton family and the Royal Family of Great Britain. In the video, Robach mentions that she had testimonies, pictures, and actual accounts from victims already taped and ready to go. She had been sitting on this story for three years and the higher ups at ABC squashed the story, remarking, “Who was Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.”
Robuch tried to do a bit of damage control after the video was released through a statement: “As the Epstein story continued to unfold last summer, I was caught in a private moment of frustration. I was upset that an important interview I had conducted with Virginia Roberts [Giuffre] didn’t air because we could not obtain sufficient corroborating evidence to meet ABC’s editorial standards about her allegations. The interview itself, while I was disappointed it didn’t air, didn’t meet our standards. In the years since no one ever told me or the team to stop reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, and we have continued to aggressively pursue this important story.” The idea that the story did not meet journalistic standards obviously contradicts the reasons given on the video, and have done little to quell the notion of a cover-up protecting Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton at ABC.
So what was the response from ABC? Well, obviously they also tried to do damage control, but the more glaring issue was that they began to investigate the leaker. They wanted to know who sent the video to Project Veritas, and in doing so brought all this negative attention. According to the Washington Examiner, ABC has identified the individual as Ashley Bianco (who denies being the leak, by the way), a former producer for Good Morning America, and who, as of last month, was working for CBS. She has now been fired from her position with CBS, yes that CBS. The same CBS who had the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center explain the day before the firing that “There’s a long and horrible history of people losing their jobs, having threats to themselves and their family because they spoke out.” So to recap, CBS asked an expert why whistleblower protection is so important, and then proceeded to ignore the answer by firing the person who exposed a different company.
It’s at this point that we must acknowledge that Ashley Bianco was not a legally defined whistleblower. She did not report the information through the proper channels, and the company that fired her was not the company on which she had spilled the beans. I understand that CBS wouldn’t want someone with a history of leaking incriminating information to work for them, and since she didn’t go through the proper channels, firing her and ruining her career was totally legal. We should also point out that as a network, by not coming out with this information three years ago, ABC allowed Epstein to continue to run his operation for an additional three years and causing harm to all those innocent victims. Bianco was definitely right to come forward with this, and ABC definitely has some answering to do.
The irony here is the way in which the media is currently attacking Republicans on their impeachment proceedings strategy. House and Senate Republicans have been calling out Democrats for their methods for impeaching President Trump. They claim that the whole process has been a sham, and therefore everything uncovered by the sham is by definition tainted. Outlets such as The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, Vox, and even the Washington Post and New York Times all ran headlines ripping on Republicans for attacking the process instead of the facts because the facts all seem to be damning to the president.
Oh, how the irony writes itself. The only thing protecting CBS from legal action right now is the process. Ashley Bianco decided to spill the beans on ABC, and that decision was definitely warranted. ABC squashed an important story, a decision that cost many victims three years’ worth of torment. Had Bianco gone through the proper channels in reporting this story, not only would she still have a job, we wouldn’t know her name. She would be protected under the law. So while the media can claim all they want that Republicans are leaning on process as a defense, ABC and CBS exclusively have process to thank for ruining the life of a whistleblower.
So let’s recap. The media doesn’t want to reveal the name of the whistleblower against Trump. They do want to retaliate against the whistleblower against the media. They don’t think process is a good defense, except, of course, when the process benefits the media. That, my friends, is a double double-standard.
By Izzo Zwiren
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.