So far the “reasons to doubt” allegations of sexual assault by vice president Al Gore seem less like reasons to doubt than cases of cautious reporting and police investigation — both worthy things if we presume the accused is innocent and the onus of evidence is on the state. Lack of evidence is simply that; until more can be found to corroborate the testimony, the case and the story are dead.

But that’s not how politics works. It’s certainly not in the business interests of the National Enquirer to withhold a scandalous story. Anyone who hates Gore is predisposed to attack him with the allegations. Anyone who supports Gore is predisposed to attack the accuser. Gore trashing is predictable, so I haven’t even bothered to look far for it. But I have been looking to see what the feminist community has had to say, and so far Jessica Valenti at Feministing is the only one to comment on the story. Read the whole thing, even if I blockquote her worthy conclusion here:

So I hope that no matter what comes of this, those of us who have supported Gore and his work in the past can write and talk about this accusation without falling into hackneyed victim-blaming narratives. Because liberal dudes assault women too. And if we treat this story any differently than another sexual assault accusation, we’re doing this woman – and all women – a great disservice.

True that. It also disserves truth. The public has a right to know if its powerful elites are up to no good, but it does us no good if we can’t get to the facts due to a cloud of rumors and biases. It’s tempting to speculate (I find it odd that the Enquirer puts out this story in connection with the recent divorce between the Gores) but it’s not responsible nor worth doing.

I could say much of the same about all of the rumors following another recent case in Portland that went national — the disappearance of Kyron Harmon. Again, much to speculate. But do it in private. Why pollute the information stream with ignorant bullshit? Don’t we have enough? Yeah, I know, nature and nattering nabobs abhor a vacuum.

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