The outrage over Bill Clinton's links to Epstein exposes the hypocrisy of the rightwing media

Arwa Mahdawi
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s supporters are often dismissed as violent misogynists, but nothing could be further than the truth. There is no one more feminist, no one more concerned about survivors of sexual abuse, than a Trump supporter who spies an opportunity to “own the libs”.

When Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault by a former staffer earlier this year, for example, the claim was immediately weaponised by the same people who were unmoved by analogous allegations against Trump. When the Ghislaine Maxwell court documents revealed last week that the Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre claims to have seen Bill Clinton on Epstein’s island (he denies ever being there), it was a similar story. The same people who have played down Trump’s ties to Epstein – whom the president once called “terrific” – were very worked up about the Clinton connection: #clintonisapedo started trending on Twitter as Trump supporters accused the liberal media of protecting the former president.

“CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post have COMPLETELY IGNORED the recent court doc story tying Bill Clinton to Epstein,” Bill Mitchell, a rightwing pundit, tweeted on Monday. A Fox News article complained that MSNBC and CNN “offered little to no on-air coverage of the release of damning documents that tie” Clinton to Epstein. Donald Trump Jr, meanwhile, retweeted a post asking why Clinton being spotted on Epstein’s island was not getting “24/7 SATURATION COVERAGE”?

Contrary to the accusations of obfuscation, there has been rather a lot of coverage of Clinton’s Epstein connections in the mainstream media. In any case, it is rather rich of Fox News to complain about biased media coverage when last month it “accidentally” cropped Trump out of a photo of Epstein and Maxwell.

This is not a defence of Clinton. He does not have a stellar reputation when it comes to women and questions must continue to be asked about his involvement with Epstein. Sexual abuse is not a partisan issue and there is a special place in hell for anyone who treats it as such.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist