The former Olympic gymnastics doctor was convicted of serial sexual assault of the children and young women in his care, but Fox News says it was up to them to stop him.
The trial of Olympic gymnastics doctor Lawrence Nassar, who was convicted of serial sexual abuse based on the testimony of 156 accusers, has horrified the country.
But the right-wing Fox News Channel is smearing Nassar’s victims, continuing that network’s tradition of positioning itself firmly against women and girls and perpetuating the culture that enshrined serial sexual abuse by several of its key figures.
Trish Regan, a contributor to Fox News and the host of “The Intelligence Report” on Fox Business, offered a truly repugnant take on the story.
In a discussion about the molestation case on the show “Outnumbered,” Regan said the story “highlights, perhaps, sort of the cult kind of culture that was surrounding all of these young girls and their parents.”
“I don’t know how this happens,” Regan said. “Where were the parents during all this? Why didn’t those young girls say something to their parents? And what does that tell you about the culture of needing to succeed and this is the Olympic doctor and putting adults on pedestal within the gymnastic sphere?”
And she continued to drive home the repulsive notion that the onus was on the young victims to stop a serially abusive, dangerous older man.
“At some point, we’re losing our way here because if those young girls couldn’t go to their parents and say, ‘This is happening, I don’t think it’s right.'”
The tone of Fox’s coverage echoed the predator himself. Nassar wrote a letter to the court, complaining that the women who testified against him were seeking media attention and money.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote.
“Youve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again,” the judge firmly declared.
“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you,” she added, describing the prison sentence as his “death warrant.”
Blaming the victim of a crime or in this case, more than 100 very young victims of a crime is beyond the pale. But it is unfortunately a vocalization of the conservative approach to women, and why the tone of the commentary on Fox News is so particularly popular among the right wing.
Fox News founder Roger Ailes molested and assaulted women for decades, while the company covered it up. Network star Bill O’Reilly caused the network to hand out millions in settlements to women he harassed. And Trump’s top Fox cheerleader Eric Bolling was also fired for serial sexual harassment.
On air, the network spews a constant stream of misogyny and sexism, helping to directly cultivate the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, an admitted sexual assailant.
Blaming the victims of a child predator would be a disgusting deviation for legitimate media outlets. But at Fox News, complaining that women or girls are at fault for not reporting sexual assault, rather than singling out the predator as the sole problem, is part of the institutional mindset.