#MeToo hovers over hearing | Newsday

#MeToo hovers over hearing | Newsday

Two people were at the center of the high drama in Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: a terrified accuser, her voice cracking with emotion, and a defiant Supreme Court nominee, angrily denying that he had anything to do with an alleged attempted rape decades ago.

Only two. But the whole cast of the #MeToo movement hovered, unseen, over the hearing.

In a sense, actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were there, accusing mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. And Gretchen Carlson, whose 2016 lawsuit began the demise of her Fox News boss Roger Ailes. And so were all the figures who populate the movement’s recent and hugely consequential history. Fallen VIPs and politicians, from Matt Lauer and Leslie Moonves to Roy Moore and Al Franken. And the investigative reporters who broke the stories. But especially the women who shared their stories.

And certainly present, in the same sense, was President Donald Trump, many times accused by women and a fierce defender of other powerful accused men.

The hearing was not only a referendum of sorts on #MeToo but also on public trust in institutions — including the news media and Congress — and on truth itself.

“Yet another case study in the toxic disregard for truth that has taken hold in Trump’s Washington,” was how Michiko Kakutani, author of “The Death of Truth,” characterized the moment to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

And yet there was reason to believe that truth is not dead, even if it doesn’t prevail here.

For anyone not cut off from reality, there was truth in Christine Blasey Ford’s shaky voice as she spoke of girlhood acquaintances she referred to as “Brett” and “Mark,” as her 15-year-old self might have done.

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