Saturday, November 11, 2017
Tegan Jones at FAIR
Media Make Excuses for Bush Sr.’s ‘Cop-a-Feel’ Assaults
In the flurry of career-ending sexual assault claims coming out of Hollywood, it may seem natural for the media to overlook a little awkward groping from an aging former president. But there’s something unnerving about the assumptions surrounding the non-coverage of the Bush Sr. “Cop-a-Feel” story.
On their own, the facts are simple enough. Five women have accused President George H.W. Bush of grabbing their behinds and making lewd jokes during staged photo ops over the past few years. In each woman’s account, the former president said something along the lines of, “Do you know who my favorite magician is? David Cop-a-Feel!” while squeezing their rear ends in a sexual way.
After the second accusation came out, the Bush team released a brief fauxpology to anyone who he may have “offended”:
At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.
The media dutifully reported this canned response, and most outlets took it at face value. None noted that when the press release uses the term “people,” it’s not actually referring to all people. It’s referring to women.
If the 41st president’s arm had fallen “on the lower waist” of a man during a picture, the story would have been told differently. If he had joked about “copping a feel” while cupping a man’s glute, few reporters would entertain the idea that the man was being put “at ease.”.....