John Kass’s explanation of why Bob Greene had to be asked to resign is a little overwrought:
She was in high school, brought to this newspaper by her parents. They trusted and respected him. They were in awe of him.
And he did what he did with their daughter.
I don’t care about sex lives of reporters or politicians. That’s not my business or yours either, as long as they’re grown-ups and as long as they don’t use the institutions they represent to close the deal.
Her parents trusted the Tribune enough to bring their daughter here to interview a top columnist. A bit later, the columnist and the girl were in bed together.
Technically, she was of legal age. And at that age, and just before, young women begin to learn of the power their bodies have over men.
But she was a kid, and he wasn’t a kid.
They were in awe of a journalist? So what happened? Did Bob Greene used his Journalist Super Powers to cloud her mind and seduce her? Kass is complaining that he brought her to the Tribune Tower, and used its atmoshpere of…something…to seduce her. Oh yeah, I’m sure that really turns on the ladies. (
“Dear Penthouse Forum: A young lady was visiting me in my office at the newspaper. As our meeting wore on, I could tell she was turned on by all the sounds and smells of a major newspaper in the heat of the day. Coyly, she asked if we could go down to the press rooms and feel the vibrations of the…”) Get a grip, man. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but I would have expected half the male journalists in the building to try to make time with her, and half of those would try to finagle the parents into buying the drinks.
As Eugene Volokh points out, much of Kass’s argument hinges on the woman acting foolishly out of youth and inexperience. So what was Bob Greene’s excuse? A man in his mid-40’s getting all bothered over a high school kid is also acting foolishly.
This is a like those do-gooders who, when a pair of college students get drunk and get it on, want to prosecute only the male for rape. From what we’ve heard so far, Greene’s the one who’s paying a heavy price. He’s the bigger fool.
To be fair, it may yet turn out that the young lady suffered from this encounter, but unless it was illegal suffering, I don’t see how it becomes an employment issue. I’m not saying Greene is a nice guy here, not someone I’d want to be associated with in public, but I can say that about quite a few people I know, and they still get to keep their jobs.