Keller @ Large: Difference Between Fact And Smear

BOSTON (CBS) – Perhaps by the time you hear this, the women who were reportedly upset by behavior on the part of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that they believed amounted to sexual harassment will have come forward.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Or other witnesses to the alleged behavior will speak up.

Or some form of documentation – perhaps a copy of the settlements they allegedly signed with Cain’s former employer – will be produced.

If and when that happens, then the allegations against Cain will move out of the realm of gutter rumor and become a story worth taking seriously.

After all, sexual harassment is no joke.

Women and men should be able to go to work without being subjected to inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances or innuendo from co-workers, or, especially, from their bosses.

And if someone of Cain’s stature engaged in that behavior, more than once and to an egregious extent (not just some one-time misunderstood joke), then his fitness to be the Republican nominee for president is – or at least, ought to be – in serious doubt.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s presume that none of that substantiation emerges, and the story vanishes into the annals of political smears that couldn’t stand up to fresh air and sunshine.

Then, the story becomes the news outlets who ran with trash without proper disclaimers and context.

In our online universe, anyone can have their reputation smeared anonymously, and if you think there’s anyone editing most of that stuff, you’re sadly mistaken.

So it falls to every one of us to understand the difference between fact and smear, evidence and innuendo, and accept or reject alleged news we see or hear accordingly.

Why go to all that trouble?

Because the next mud that gets unfairly thrown could be at you.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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