Today we have learned of allegations from several young women in journalism of inappropriate behavior and poor judgment – code words for possibly much, much worse – by the New York Times’ White House correspondent, Glenn Thrush.
The Times has suspended Thrush pending its investigation.
I know Glenn Thrush.
Not from the hilarious lampooning of him in those recent Saturday Night Live skits, where Thrush (played by Bobby Moynihan) was the target of ridicule by Melissa McCarthy playing her unforgettable (and perhaps career-zenith) role of former White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
I know him from our days at the Brooklyn College Kingsman, where I was his news editor.
As I wrote back for our sister website The New Americana last year, I knew Glenn to be a liberal (and we butted heads quite often, as I was the campus conservative). But I also found Glenn to be objective, with the problem not one of liberal press bias but rather of conservative weakness in knowing how to deal with a properly-adversarial reporter. The targets of journalists’ inquiries rarely are prepared to handle them, in part because they expect reporters to be publicists instead of inquirers.
I never observed (but was not in a position to observe) inappropriate behavior by him. However, I acutely remember Glenn’s predilection for drinking to excess, even in years when he was barely of drinking age.
In fact, Glenn’s drinking helped steer me away from journalism, with its low-paying jobs, and into the decidedly higher-paying (and less prestigious) profession of law!
My thought was simple: I had no desire to drink away most of my meager journalism earnings in order to develop and foster contacts and soak up gossip from the indiscreet and inebriated.
As with so many of these allegations, we don’t (and we may never) know what really happened. It’s one person’s word against another (or several). What is likely is not the same as what was, or is.
One thing is sure, in my mind. When you drink beyond a certain point, you make yourself a target. That means that even if these allegations are false and he did nothing wrong, he did something wrong in a different sense, in that he was indiscreet and uncontrolled enough to make himself vulnerable. No matter what the truth of the allegations should prove to be, he put himself in a bad position.
If the allegations should prove true, then Glenn Thrush will be in a far worse position.