Was Media Scrutiny Fair to Herman Cain?

Yet another alleged extramarital affair and sex scandal exposed in the media has led to the demise of politician. Saturday, Herman Cain announced that he will be suspending his presidential campaign. While I would never advocate sexual allegations to be a topic taken lightly, media exposure takes it to a new level, indicative of societal addiction to soap operas instead of reality. 

The New York Times described Cain as “unapologetic and defiant” as he addressed supports Saturday in a speech announcing that his campaign would be suspended. I don’t blame him. The alleged wrong-doing has become the most talked about issue and subsequently has damaged his campaign and family life. In an article written Thursday, Cain said the allegations have had “a heavy emotional toll on his family, particularly his wife.”

The allegations aren’t confirmed and Cain is resilient to defend his innocence. If Cain truly is innocent, I don’t think anyone could justify putting him and his family through this. Even if there is a glimmer of truth to the accusations, he and his family still do not deserve this kind of scrutiny. His wife has become an innocent victim, and it isn’t the first time we’ve seen the story. We have the tendency to take the lives of public figures and turn them into our on rendition of One Life to Live or The Young and the Restless.

Some argue that public officials are rightly held to a higher standard than those not in a public light; which is why I will not argue that issues such as these be hidden completely from the public’s view. Rather, it is the nature of the candidate’s job to put up with such scrutiny.  Society latches on like a child to a chocolate bar.

Putting Cain’s wife, marriage, and family on stage is an unfair invasion of privacy that ultimately has very little to do with his presidential candidacy. Are sexual allegations a serious issue? Yes. Do I approve of extramarital affairs in my leaders? No. However, is that really what happened, and is it society’s place to throw the stones?

As it stands today, Cain’s sex scandal is a he said/she said story and no clarity as to what is the truth. Unfortunately, it is these issues that become the moments that define.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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