"non-sourced allegation"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 31 19:27:40 UTC 2011

There is nothing unsourced, anonymous or unattributed about the Politico
allegations against Cain. In fact, even the names of the women are
known, although, apparently, unpublished. (And the quotes are from the
Cain campaign people.) The "thinly sourced" reference in the campaign
statement to the AP was to the original allegations, not to the current
ones--it's quite obvious where the current allegations are from. What's
going on here is that the campaign is trying to dismiss the /original/
allegations of harassment, the ones that resulted in settlements, which
are now being reported. Most of the time, one thing that a settlement
does not do is force an admission of guilt. Settlements could be offered
in response to legitimate claims that would result in exposure,
embarrassment and financial loss of greater proportions (as well as, in
exceptional cases, criminal charges and convictions). Or they could be
offered in response to nuisance suits whose prosecution, although
ultimately likely would result in dismissal, nonetheless would incur
greater legal expenses than the amount of the settlement.

Generally, in  the political world, there is an assumption that there is
no smoke without fire--that no settlement would be offered by an
innocent man and that the payments are only offered to hush thing up. On
the other hand, every lawyer would love to paint the opposite
picture--that all such settlements are simply prudent financial
decisions that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence or merits of
the challenge. More specifically, when the confidentiality of
settlements is pierced, they go to the opposite extreme, painting the
alleged victims as gold-digging liars who concocted the "thinly-sourced
claims" to squeeze money from powerful people (exhibit A: the
Strauss-Kahn affair). Neither is about the truth. This is exactly what
we got here.

It would be quite pointless to accuse the press, in this case, of
publishing unsourced allegations because the chain of sourcing is quite
obvious and easily documentable. The weak link is not the press
sourcing, but the original claims that have varying degrees of
supporting evidence. Anyone who tries to accuse the press, under these
circumstances, is digging his own political grave, because once the
source is uncovered, the lie is exposed--it's impossible to say that the
reports and the settlements don't exist because they do. But smearing
the original complainers is de riguer in such cases. But, of course,
along the way, the messages can get crossed. It's quite possible that JR
thinks he's asking about the current allegations--the ones that the
claims and settlements exist--while Gordon is responding to the sourcing
of the original allegations--the ones that the claims and settlements
are based on. Of course, it's also possible that Gordon is just an idiot
and has just screwed the pooch. But it seems unlikely IMO.


On 10/31/2011 12:54 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Doesn't "non-sourced" just mean "anonymous; unattributed"?
> Herman Cain has been having some trouble with such allegations today.
> JL
> On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:38 AM, Laurence Horn<laurence.horn at yale.edu>  wrote:
>> Apparently this is what you call an accusation about your candidate that you can't directly refudiate.
>> =
>> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/30/herman-cain-sexual-harassment-accusations_n_1066487.html
>> "Are you denying it ever happened, J.D. Gordon?" Geraldo asked.
>> "What I'm saying is that these are thin allegations, that this is non-sourced," Gordon answered. "And so right now, we're just trying to put this into perspective for you -- that this is not even a sourced allegation."
>> LH

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