The accusations against Glenn Thrush represent a new turn in the ongoing rash of outings of powerful harassers since early October.
Thrush is a journalistic honcho, an influencer of the influencers at The New York Times and, before that, at Politico. He’s also a contributor at MSNBC. At 50 years old, he is just the sort of established professional that a young person trying to break into journalism might seek out in hopes of some mentoring.
On November 20, Vox ran a piece by Laura McGann headlined, “NYT White House correspondent Glenn Thrush’s history of bad judgment around young women journalists.” Apparently, Thrush takes advantage precisely of the fact that 20-something journalist women do seek him out for mentoring, and he seems to offer a friendly ear at the least, the advantage of his own connections at best … as an opening for his aggressive sexual advances.
McGann’s work is both a memoir and a work of reporting. She is herself one of the four women on whom her story focuses, four targets of those advances.
Right Wing View
It is possibly ironic, and it is certainly sad, that one of the common responses on twitter is to throw suspicion upon the nearest potentially-blamable woman, who is in this case Maggie Haberman.
Haberman and Thrush have often worked together, and just two months ago they made a deal with Random House for a forthcoming book about President Trump.
Joe Pompeo of Vanity Fair described Thrush and Haberman as “stars” and said the forthcoming book would go beyond “palace intrigue” to tell a story about “who Trump is, why the country chose him, and what it all says about America and where we’re headed.” They might, in short, have said things that Trumpets don’t want to hear or read.
This has led to a common reaction to the news about Thrush. Right wing activist Jack Posobiec tweeted, “Hey @maggieNYT! How is your book with Glenn Thrush coming along?” It is hard not to see that as a gloat.
Likewise, John Nolte, who once was editor-at-large at Breitbart and who now tweets under the awkward user name “WaPo’s Callum Borchers Lies,” says that the story in Vox is horrifying “if true,” then immediately pivots, asking “What did Maggie Haberman know? And when did she know it?”
Another right winger tweets simply: “@maggieNYT – her silence on this is deafening!!!”
Another response: humor. Some have tickled ribs by invoking Thrush’s signature fedora and his classic ‘50s-reporter style sense. ‘Annie Oakley’ tweets: “is it true Thrush wears that silly hat and tells the women he’s Clark Kent and turns into Superman in bed?”
There’s another (and one has to say, stranger) sort of reaction on the right. Some find it suspicious that there are so many center-left Hillary Clinton supporting figures caught up in harassment scandals of late. Why so few further left? They believe that there is a takeover in the works, and such accusations prepare for it. “Polish Goodfella” tweets, “Obama is flushing out all HRC fans & holdovers to make way for his Ultra socialist army. B.O. is pulling the strings.”
“Girl Who” responded, “This is my take too. Chilling. All the conservatives dancing on the moderate Dems graves will be in for a rude awakening.”
Left Wing View
Thrush himself issued a statement of apology to “any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately.” But he also disagreed with some aspects of McGann’s account, saying his encounter with her was “consensual, brief, and ended by me.” He also says that he has “never offered mentorship or reporting advice to anyone, man or woman, with an expectation of anything in return.”
With regard to the Thrush/Haberman book deal, the execs at Random House say they are “looking at it closely and seriously.”
One of the key threads in left-wing response to the news about Thrush, though, has been to react to one aspect of the right-wing response: to say, ‘hands off Haberman!’