Earlier today, I happened to catch a cable news reporter claim Democrats are frightened of the fallout from the whole Eric Massa scandal. Instead of breathlessly reporting about Massa and how Democrats are loathe to consider the implications of his Massa’s predatory sexual behavior, why doesn’t the media concentrate on the dynamics behind why Massa’s staff didn’t report on the obvious problems earlier? There is a different dynamic going on in this particular story versus the whole “closeted gay Republican politician getting caught in hypocritical behavior” meme and the media just doesn’t seem to get it.
But supervisors did not alert congressional leaders to the problem until allegations about Massa’s behavior threatened to become a public embarrassment. That led House leaders to demand the matter be referred to the ethics committee. Massa resigned a few weeks later when the media reported he was the subject of a harassment probe. He declined to comment for this story.
Several staffers say the episode reveals their lack of faith in their workplace protections and the deference that office supervisors showed Massa.
“Both the chief of staff and the deputy chief of staff attempted to rein in the congressman, but their efforts were ineffectual, and by the fall of 2009, Congressman Massa’s behavior spiraled out of control,” Debra Katz, attorney for one staffer who alleges he was harassed by Massa and has initiated a complaint against him, said in a statement. “This left my client and other gay men in the office even more vulnerable to Rep. Massa’s predatory behavior.”
Seems to me the whole “Massa Mess” could be a simple case of sexual harassment where the alleged predator, Congressman Massa, ended up having to resign when his inappropriate behavior was finally brought to light by staffers who otherwise were willing to ignore it to protect their professional positions. It is not even in the same league as the legion of stories about hypocritical gay closeted conservative politicians who work against civil rights for the LGBT community, but are then caught acting out by, for instance, having an extra wide stance in a public restroom. The media needs to do a better job of distinguishing between the two situations and stop reporting in such an obtuse manner. The “Massa Mess” is bad, of course, but it is not on the order of closeted hypocritical gay Republican scandals simply because of the whole hypocrisy issue. It is another example of the media trying to set up a false equivalence between Democratic and Republican scandals, and it is a massive fail on their part.