Leaderboard 728 X 90

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Did the same culture that produced Ashley Madison also give us Donald Trump, whose presidential campaign is imploding over reports of sexual abuse?


Donald Trump
(From npr.org)
For roughly the past year, this blog has covered the Ashley Madison (AM) hacking story like no other Web site. We have reported on more than a dozen high-level professional men in two states (Alabama and Missouri) who are paying customers at the site that is notorious for its one purpose -- to promote and facilitate extramarital affairs. We've even provided summaries that show payment histories, GPS locations at the time of sign-up, sexual preferences, and more. (See example at the end of this post.)

Our reporting has met with a fair amount of resistance, with a number of readers complaining that we are focusing on private individuals whose unsavory acts are not newsworthy. I've countered by noting that these "private individuals" hold positions of public trust, managing vast sums of money and/or wielding power and notoriety in ways that give them significant influence. How these people treat those who are less powerful -- their wives, children; other people's wives and children; women and minorities in general -- matters, I've argued. And it is, in fact, newsworthy.

Now we know that very issue -- abuse by the powerful/influential of those who hold less power and influence -- likely will decide the 2016 presidential race.

That became clear last night as stories flooded the Web and mainstream news outlets about GOP candidate Donald Trump and his rampant abuse of women. The New York Times reported on two women who said Trump had groped and kissed them in ways that were unwanted and violated their space. A former People Magazine reporter said Trump had forcibly kissed her while she was in Florida to report on his first year of marriage to Melania Trump; a People headline called the incident an "attack." The Palm Beach Post reported on a 36-year-old woman who said Trump had grabbed her butt.

Before these news accounts, Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoyed a healthy lead and likely was going to win the presidential race anyway. But now, the Trump campaign is in free-fall mode, and the election could turn into one of the most one-sided in history. Perhaps worst of all for Trump, more reports of boorish and creepy behavior could be on the way.

I would argue that the Ashley Madison and Trump stories have much in common. Both are about behavior that is dishonest, disgusting, disloyal, and dehumanizing. Both involve powerful men (mostly white) showing utter disregard for the women and children around them. We have little doubt that Democratic males are capable of being louts. But in these two stories, it appears the bad actors are overwhelmingly Republican, supporters of the party that tends to flaunt its "family values."

In my view, the Trump tale helps show that we took the correct position on the Ashley Madison case, that our determination to pursue the story was based in sound news judgment. At the risk of patting ourselves on the back -- OK, we admit we are patting ourselves on the back -- we saw an alarming societal trend before many others did, and we understood the damage it could do to society. Now, it has snaked its way into the presidential race and has shown we have been close to putting a predator in the White House.

The Trump story is not over, and neither is the Ashley Madison story. Dozens of AM lawsuits from around the country are being litigated at a federal court in St. Louis, Missouri. And we have dozens, maybe hundreds, of profiles to publish on AM customers -- men who might not have Donald Trump's notoriety, but who have a mindset that is a whole like his.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

We live in an Age of Entitlement. Trump is infected with it. Ashley Madison customers are infected with it. Our society is a mess because of it.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it with the term "entitlement." That's the word I was looking for in the post, and I couldn't come up with it. Glad you did.

Anonymous said...

The naysaying commenters at your blog really do not object about your Ashley Madison coverage. They are just afraid the coverage soon will include them.

Anonymous said...

I find the cads on Ashley Madison to be worse than Trump. Trump did tell the reporter from People that he wanted to have an affair with her. But in most of the cases, it seems he just can't stop himself from kissing and groping. That's bad, but the Ashley Madison dudes are actively searching for an affair. Can't believe Donald Trump makes someone look good by comparison, but I think he does compared to the A. Madison crowd.

Anonymous said...

Disagree with @1:28. Trump admitted to sexual assault and is now being accused of it by several women. That's far worse than seeking a consensual affair. It's also a crime.

Anonymous said...

Trump has a bad case of "I Want My Cake And Eat It, Too" Syndrome. He wants Melania for arm candy. But he also wants to f--k or grab the p---y of any other woman he finds attractive, whether she welcomes his attention or not. Then, he also makes the stupid decision to run for president, with all this sleaze in his background. Then, he threatens to sue any news organization that breaks stories about his past indiscretions. Can't have it all, Donald.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Schnauzer, you are liable to need a chiropractor after all that back patting. There is a good one out on E. Sunshine in Springfield.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, @1:47. I'm definitely going to need a realignment or something. It's an occupational hazard for us bloggers who can't help but toot our horns when we actually get something right.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for rerunning the Rob Campbell summary, where he says he likes to provide oral sex, just not to his wife, Minda Riley Campbell. Made me LOL all over again.

legalschnauzer said...

Strong response from NY Times to lawsuit threats from Trump's lawyers:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/new-york-times-trump-bring-it

I've had lawsuit threats from lawyer for AM customer who is connected to prominent automobile dealership in Bham. Those threats aren't going to work any better than the ones sent to NY Times.

S C said...


The thing about Trump that cracks me up (in an ironic way). The man is not attractive- not even a little bit. Yellow Hair. Orange Skin. A little plump after the campaign trail. Reminds me of Charlie Sheen, another unattractive man with the same bizarre opinion of himself..

Anonymous said...

When I read about these Trump episodes, the word that keeps coming to mind is "selfish." His desires, which seem to come on suddenly, are all that matter. How the woman feels about things doesn't matter. Makes me think he must be terrible in the sack. Most women I know aren't attracted to an "octopus."

Anonymous said...

Roger I'm curious as to why you haven't acknowledged that all of these guys you've attempted to shame have created jobs for people. Jobs that feed their families, pay taxes according to the law, etc. I have read all your negative coverage of their selfishness and supposed dishonesty but all of these guys have created jobs. Why not give them credit for that while you try to embarrass at the same time?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:01 -- Your first problem is that you don't seem to understand journalism. You assume to report anything unflattering about a person is to "shame" them or "embarrass" them. That seemingly means yesterday's stories about Donald Trump were designed to "shame" him, that the Washington Post "shamed" Richard Nixon. If anyone has "shamed" the AM customers, it's the customers themselves.

Second, I don't know if these guys have created jobs or not. Some of them maybe have, but I have no data on that, and I'm not aware of any method for gathering such data. I stick to what I know, which is the data that shows their names are on AM.

Finally, journalism has no obligation to "balance" a story with both negative and positive actions regarding a subject. I do balance the story by giving the subject an opportunity to respond to the AM info (as the NY Times did with Trump). But my work is a blog post about an individual subject, it's not a biography.

Did all of the stories about Bill Clinton's indiscretions state that he was a Rhodes Scholar, and job growth soared on his watch? Do you mention that whenever you discuss Bill Clinton? When right-wingers write posts about locking up Hillary Clinton, do they mention all she's done to improve the education system in Arkansas, the many sound decisions she made as U.S. Senator and SOS? Do you mention that HRC was part of an administration that inherited a disaster from George W. Bush and helped turn it around?

Finally, your notion that rich white guys create jobs hardly is proven. You seem to be a supply-side economics guy, who believes jobs "trickle down" from rich white guys to the rest of us. I happen to believe many jobs are created by a healthy middle class, from the demand side -- and a lot of prominent economists agree with me.

Therefore, I'm not going to get into the fairy tales that have propped up conservative economic theory for years -- and we know they largely do not work.

Anonymous said...

Omar Mateen The Orlando shooter created jobs for undertakers,gravediggers,doctors,nurses,ambulance drivers,ministers,flowershops,flowergrowers-----jobs-jobs-jobs

legalschnauzer said...

Boy, you make a powerful statement, @9:01. Thanks for contributing to the discussion in a major way.

Anonymous said...

That is a great comment, @9:01. How many jobs would Trump and the AM white guys generate if they paid a reasonable share of their taxes? They don't give a crap about creating jobs. They are about saving money for themselves and others like them.

S C said...

Here's my question: (9:01pm reminded me) Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter had been on the FBI watch list for a couple (maybe more) years. First and foremost, it ticks me off that anyone like him can go into a store and buy a guy and the store owner not get flagged by the FBI. For fuck's sake, think of all the people who can't buy guns because of a 20-year old this-or-that arrest, but this guy..no worries...he can. This, after eight years of Obama talk against such a thing? Makes you wonder how many others have done so (and have an arsenal at home).

For those of you aching to cast stones at above comments...what about all the articles that claimed "After Omar Mateen was taken off the watch list, he was allowed to buy a gun(s) legally."
Think about that. Really? Does that make sense to you? Do you think the FBI mailed him a letter letting him know he's in the clear and "off the list". Right.

These are the kind of things that make most of crazy...nothing much adds up in everyday news reports.

Anonymous said...

LS, if you have them slinging insults and using juvenile names with their comments (Holden Micoch? Come on), you've got them right where you want them. Your AM reporting is driving the corporate wingers nuts. It's a delight to see them use it.

e.a.f. said...

Same sort of person. Same sense of entitlement. Same sense of morality or lack there of. Same sexist attitudes.

These men only care about themselves and how the world benefits them. Its why the U.S.A. the only major western country with no really decent government health care if the way it is. these are the men who don't want women to have control over their bodies, but they do want to have sex with them and usually without protection. These are the men who will pay a "professional" $500 an hr or more for sex but won't others a living wage. These are the politicians who make it hard for Veterans to obtain the services they need, but will hire or attempt to get for free the services of a woman for sex.

These are the men the voters put into office and their circle of family and friends put up with them. Those are called enablers

There certainly is something off with these men and you wonder how they all got into politics or why, well perhaps they just wanted attention and power and control and money or a variation thereof.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:44 -- you would really think they were losing it if you could see the comments that were too incoherent and/or vile or absurd to run. I'm supposed to be in a mental institution, and that's not a whole lot different from the claims that HRC is ill, etc. As for juvenile names, I got one today from "Lou Skundt" (or at least I think that was the name; can't remember for sure.) These people are a lot like Trump. They are like a 5-year-old who has had his favorite toy taken away and he's got to throw a fit. Again, I think the commenter who brought up the word "entitlement" really nailed it. These people think they are entitled to act above the law and above societal norms. They are supposed to get away with things, and the thought of being exposed or held accountable makes their brains go haywire. They automatically resort to lies and threats because they aren't smart enough to come up with anything else.

S C said...


Sort of like Governors anymore. I figure business interest(s) gets so-and-so elected with the understanding that he will appoint such-and-such as AG because such-and-such will protect Mr./Ms. Biz interests. And around and around we go

legalschnauzer said...

Note to @11:04 -- If you know why I didn't run your comment, why are you asking me?

I didn't run your comment because much of it was unintelligible, and the part I could decipher was sheer nonsense. Also, you come across as someone who might be unhinged.

My contact information is on this blog, and anyone can try to reach me that way. But I'm not about to encourage you because I think you might be a few bricks shy of a load. Plus, I'm certain you don't have the courage to communicate with me directly anyway.

S C said...


11:04 sounds like we should bring the popcorn and a bottle of bourbon.

legalschnauzer said...

Don't think he's that interesting, SC. Throws insults and threats, but that's about it. Seems a little deranged to me, plus appears to have a strange fascination with my brother. Hmmmm. Another person who seems to have a strange fascination with my brother deals in phony names that involve terms for genitalia. Double hmmmmm. Not too clever.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you some names LONG before Ashley Madison...Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, JFK,...hell, even King David from the Bible...all were powerful men who took advantage of their power to sexually harass women. I bet even George Washington had a little honey among those living in the "quarters".

I'm not condoning what Trump did, but to say this is a recent issue, it's anything but. The only difference is that the internet exists now and news of such issues emerge much more frequently. No, Ashley Madison's culture did not "give" us Trump the bottom line is that we have all sinned and fallen short of what the creator meamt for us...and that led us to there always being issues such as this. "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone..."

legalschnauzer said...

@1:31 -- I'm not sure these issues from yesteryear were sexual harassment. I'm pretty sure a fair number of them, maybe all, were consensual affairs. I have little doubt that Trump has had consenual affairs, probably on all three wives. But the recent stories of groping and forcible kissing are not about consensual activity, and Trump's actions seem designed to embarrass, shock, almost terrorize his targets. He seems to be on a serious power trip.

The other element that I think is new involves technology. Ashley Madison obviously involves the digital world. And the Trump story has spread quickly via cable news, entertainment TV, social media etc., all fairly recent phenomena.

I agree that consensual affairs have been going on forever. But Trump seems to be on a different kind of quest from Hart, JFK, Clinton, etc.

Anonymous said...

Roger, why did you move to Missouri from Alabama?

legalschnauzer said...

You must be a newbie, @9:29; I've written about that extensively. The quick answer is we went through a foreclosure -- likely a wrongful foreclosure, under the law -- and needed to find shelter.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. So you were foreclosed on bc you couldn't pay for your house? So why move to a new state? Couldn't find a cheaper place in AL? What news org were you employed by at the time?

legalschnauzer said...

Again, I've written about all of these issues multiple times. I suggest you do a little research, and then we can talk.

Anonymous said...

LEAKED NEWS!!! The video Donald Trump Does Not Want You To See. Must Watch! Donald Trump tried to ban this video! But Trump Can't Hide THIS Anymore! http://foxnews.com/funny/Top-10-Things-Donald-Trump-Doesn't-Want-You-To-Know (Best Viewed on PC or Mac)