retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, in the Eye-Opener, I wrote a bit about the Duggars and Hastert cases, suggesting that they illustrate to differing degrees the extent to which our world's growing transparency affects people.

MNB user Bill Crawford responded:

The innovative ways in which you connect dots usually impresses me.  I get great insight seeing parallels and even connections between seemingly disparate parts of the marketplace and/or society.  However, I think that it is a reach, at best, to connect the Duggars and Dennis Hastert.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I have never watched the Duggars’ show – and have no plans to.)

While the Hastert case in still shrouded in mystery and may be until court procedures force it out into the open, the Duggar case is not.  The teenager that was involved with the molestation was taken to the local police to confess his crimes by his own parents.  There was a full investigation which, due to his being a juvenile, was sealed by court order.  This took place long before this family had any semblance of fame.  The Hastert case, which apparently involves an adult imposing himself improperly on at least one juvenile to whom he was an authority figure, has apparently not (yet) been investigated and adjudicated.  Vastly different.

A common thread here appears to be why has there not been any outcry against the person or people who leaked the sealed records in the Duggar case and who is doing the blackmailing in the Hastert one?  In the Duggar case, what was done was deplorable, but was sealed by legal authority for a reason.  How many leaders in all facets of society would be undone if their past misdeeds when minors were released? In the Hastert case, why is there no outcry against the blackmailer?  That action is still a crime.

I am not in any way excusing what Hastert may have done – or, based on his willingness to pay so much money, what he did.  However, are there not proper channels for this matter to have been heard?  After this many decades, the motive appears to be based more in finances than in justice.  These are not matters of crimes vs. cover-ups; they are matters of selectively choosing which crime to condemn and which crime to condone.

Another MNB user responded:

Like you, I had known little about the Duggars story, as well as, former Speaker Hastert. I have never watched the TLC show. I hadn't even heard about it until the controversy began. I had never seen much about either of these cases either the Duggars or Dennis Hastert.

What strikes me about both instances, is the intent to cause harm. The term for it used to be called malice. True or not, the origins of both stories have a political and socially based agenda. As, Kevin Bacon would have said "These are the facts of the case and they are indisputable".

Regardless, both are unique. One is of a 15 year old within a family. The other is of an adult in a position of supposedly respected authority. That, of course does not excuse the prior, but indeed does make them completely different. I'm not sure that the 15 year old deserved a life sentence. I do know for certain he has now been given one even if not from a court. In addition, so have the victims. That's given little, if no regard for our society's need for sensation.

In the case of the Duggars, I did watch the interview with the sisters on Megyn Kelly's show on Fox News. Yes, I'm aware of all of the sentiments towards Fox News. Nevertheless, of the many commentators on this network, Megyn Kelly may be the most direct, balanced, and fair.

Here's where the malice comes into play. The hatred and malice against this family for other perceived reasons drove malice over the top to the extent that these young women were victimized yet again, in fact likely worse than their initial victimization. In this case, the victims themselves felt it to be worse. That is not my opinion, it is theirs. Yet, no matter, it was more important to those that put this story out and the intent was more important than the casualties. There is no question that in this case, no concern whatsoever was taken to protect these women. That's a promise we make as a society - a good one. It is a matter of trust. Its been violated and it is irreparable.

Sure, one can disagree politically, socially, and spiritually with this family. That disagreement does not make victims in this case fair game. In the case of the Duggars, one can think what they like of them. Agree or Disagree. They've been called hypocrites. Are they a greater hypocrite than those that chose harm over the young women for their own profit? Yet, had it been the other way around would have yelled from the mountain tops?

I think we know the answer.

You mention trust in your points, especially the trust of young people. In both cases, the victims are young people. Yet, there is no regard for them or instilling any trust in future victims that they will not be victimized worse should there be an opportunity to inflict harm for an agenda. In this case, for the purpose of forwarding an agenda and for profit, the victims, the family, and the juvenile record were tossed aside for the purpose of inflicting harm. Will future victims be helped or harmed by what has been done in this case? Will they give us as adults their trust to report these instances? I can't help but think we've crushed that by continuing to allow their victimization.

I don't condone either of these cases. I'm definitely not defending either case.

With respect to Mr. Hastert, I know nothing about and likely the less the better.

Too often we forget of fail to think about these young victims and their rights instead of a political and social agenda. I know how I'd feel if they were my daughters under the same circumstance. The editors of "In Touch" are, however, apparently immune to that.

All reasonable points to make, I think, especially about the victims.

Though to be fair ... while extortionists are bad, child molesters are much, much worse.

My larger point - perhaps made inarticulately yesterday - was simply that we live in a world where people increasingly distrust institutions ... and that this is a condition that retailers need to factor into their strategies and tactics. And when hypocrisy becomes transparent, it is particularly jarring.

I'll speak for myself on this one. I have trouble coming up with one single institution in which I have much faith. There are people I trust - like my wife and kids - but no institutions. None.

I have to believe that this abundant lack of trust and faith will influence the choices I make as a citizen and consumer ... and I don't think I'm alone.
KC's View: