By John Pullano
By the time you finish reading this sentence, I am sure that your smartphone will have lit up, dinged or vibrated at least once. If you are a news junkie like me, you have the New York Times, Buffalo News, Twitter, Instagram and other media outlets set to notify you when anything, and I mean anything, has happened. However, as time has passed, we have become more and more numb to the content of those notifications.
From 2017 to 2019, the Associated Press reported on more than 90 state level lawmakers who faced public allegations or repercussions over sexual misconduct claims. These claims were at the height of the #MeToo movement, 33 of those 90 state lawmakers resigned or were removed from office. Another 33 faced serious repercussions, included impeachments, hearings and probation.
Since 2020 began and the #MeToo movement faded, not in importance, but in cultural popularity, the 24/7 news cycle and the public have let sexual misconduct charges slide by like everyday news, particularly in New York.
Since Feb. 24, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has been accused of sexual misconduct and unwanted advances by several of his former aides, but we knew that news would pass through the 24/7 news cycle relatively quickly.
After some quick-witted and outraged politicians and twitter users tweeted nasty things at Cuomo and called for him to resign, the news was on to their next sexual misconduct accusation in the form of Rep. Tom Reed.
However, before long CNN, the New York Times and the Buffalo News were reporting on Cuomo and other lawmakers decision to legalize recreational marijuana. In the meantime, Cuomo’s approval ratings have steadied back to 53%, only three points lower than what they were before he was accused of sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct and harassment are no joke, and by no means do major news networks mean for these events to be ignored. However, as citizens, Americans cannot allow the fast moving social media driven news cycle to push these important events past them.
John Pullano is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.