Prof questions once-trusted journalists found to be abusers

Regina Lawrence

Journalists who informed the American public for decades — Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly and Mark Halperin among them — are losing their jobs after multiple accusations of sexual abuse, something that calls their past objectivity into question, a UO researcher says.

Regina Lawrence, a journalism professor who studies gender, media and elections, was quoted in a New York Times story on the subject. She cautioned that drawing connections between behind-the-scenes behavior and public professional life is a tricky business, but one that still raises important questions.

“But these are things that men have been doing in the course of their professional work: Mistreating, denigrating and objectifying women,” she said. “If they would objectify people that they work with and know, how much might they objectify women that they cover?”

The public’s information about Donald Trump during his presidential campaign was often delivered by men who would later be named as abusers, Lawrence pointed out.

“The questions are being raised about how others might have covered Hillary Clinton,” Lawrence said. “But isn’t the real question: ‘How did they cover Donald Trump?’”

For more, see “When Our Trusted Storytellers Are Also the Abusers” in the New York Times.

Lawrence’s latest books are “Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail” and “When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina.” She is the executive director for the George Turnbull Portland Center and the Agora Journalism Center.