Aug
17
2011

She Was After His Money: Newsweek's Anonymous Strauss-Kahn Rumor Mill

A few weeks ago Newsweek's piece on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case offered a welcome break from some of the sloppy, offensive coverage of the case we've seen elsewhere in the media. The magazine even cast doubt on some of the reporting coming from the New York Times.

This week, though, is another matter. John Solomon has a piece outlining the Strauss-Kahn defense, and he includes this:

Now sources familiar with Strauss-Kahn's case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say the defense could speculate that the encounter went bad when housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo discovered she would not receive any money after oral sex with the powerful Frenchman. Strauss-Kahn's team may also try to portray Diallo, 32, as an "earner" who tried to pick up cash and gifts to supplement her $40,000 housekeeper's salary, creating a financial motive to interpret some of the evidence in a new light.

So "sources familiar" with Strauss-Kahn's case–anonymous, of course–think that his lawyers "could speculate" that Diallo thought she was trading sex for money. Does Newsweek generally allow reporters to grant sources anonymity to float nasty rumors about things other people might say?

I was wondering if anything written about this case could be more offensive than Stuart Taylor's vile screed about the need to drop the charges against Strauss-Kahn because some rape cases have fallen apart ("Some seem to unlearn the lessons of such cases every time a poor (or not so poor) woman of color accuses a rich (or not so rich) white male of doing something horrible," he explained).

As we pointed out a few weeks ago, defense attorneys leaking information to discredit an accuser in a case like this is a fairly common practice. One would hope journalists would know better than to print them.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.