By Tim Kiska

This has already been a lousy week for journalism.

Jon Yinger, a religious broadcaster from the Flint area, filed a complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee, alleging that Congressman Dale Kildee was involved in a sexual abuse case 50 years ago.

An anonymous caller alerted the news media during the weekend that “something big” was up with Kildee—a 17-term congressman who retires next year. Initially, that “something big” was a weird, thinly-sourced blog, posted late last week.

No names – other than the alleged abuse victim was named Patrick. No names of family members. The alleged victim’s father (again, no name) apparently made a death-bed confession to a priest. No ID of the priest.  Not a lot to go on. But that was enough for The Washington Times to send a camera crew to pursue Kildee at an airport. “You do realize how serious this is? … Are you concerned about your legacy?” the interviewer asked, in the “Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?” style of interrogation.

And the right-wing blogosphere went on fire.

By Sunday night, the story had leached into the mainstream media. Backed into a corner, Kildee had to respond. The accusing family is Big Trouble. They were trying to blackmail him. Kildee even posted the family’s own audio tape, in which the topic blackmail is discussed.  “Republicans tried to peddle these scurrilous allegations during my last congressional race and authorities and reputable news outlets rejected these false allegations,” he wrote.

He was right then. Nobody serious picked up the story.  But he’s wrong now, because it’s everywhere this week: Atop Google: “Rep. Dale Kildee Accused of Incestuous Sexual  Abuse.”  Atop The New York Daily News: “Dale Kildee, Michigan rep, accused of sex abuse.” (This, despite the fact that the blogger who broke the story, Susan Bradford, now tells the Flint Journal that she’s “uncomfortable” with the story.)

So how did this sordid story make the leap from the right-wing fringe to mainstream journalism?

Who is this guy who says Dale Kildee molested him? Nobody but Jon Yinger could get  to him until Saginaw’s WNEM-TV found him for a chat. Patrick has been diagnosed as a manic depressive schizophrenic. There are so many holes in Yinger’s initial telling that he’d be road kill for any city editor I’ve ever worked for. Still, the denial is being picked up, and being used against Kildee.

The mainstream media took the congressman’s statement as bait, using it as a way of getting into a story they’d never touch in the past.

Democrats think the Republicans are using this to sink Kildee’s nephew, Dan, who is running for his uncle’s old job.  In other words: The Republicans were out to get Dan, but old Uncle Dale was collateral damage. A month ago, nobody would have touched the story. But we live in a post-Jerry Sandusky world.

These days, anybody who whispers the word “child molester” – true or not – can get a hearing. What we may have here is the use of the Internet and journalism as an instrument of destruction.

It’s going to be a long and bloody political year.


Comments (4)
  1. Michael says:

    The law should be brought to bare on those responsible if the story is deemed untrue which it seems to be. If so, Kildee should take it to the wall and pad his retirement with all the money he can get in damages by these low life street dogs. They take the legitimacy away from real victims of this heinous crime. Make it hurt Mr. Kildee.

  2. HonoAduraro says:

    Im exhausted trying to do this on my own. I need other moms to talk to. Everyday is a struggle for me. I havent seen my two younger babies since dec 3rd. and have only been allowed to talk to them 1 time in jan. I don’t even know if there ok.

    This is my story, i fell in love with a marine. shortly after I found out we were expecting. Little did I know that this man I was having children with was a con man. He was unfaithful from the beginning but I didn’t want to believe it. After our 2nd child together things really began to change he got worse when it came to other females. Began treating our daughter like a step child and focused on our son.
    In Nov 2009 he got military orders to Cherry pt, NC. I was relieved. I thought for the 1st time I can emotionally get back on my feet and face the demon he was. Little did I know that once he left he was gonna completely forget about me and our children. Left me with no water months upon months and power. giving me 160 dollars a month to feed 3 children. The stresses of this finally had gotten to me. After a 6 month battle with his command with no help I thought to myself maybe my kids were better off without me, seeing I couldn’t provide for them in the way they deserved. I brought my children next door and went back home and took a knife to my wrist, as I slid it across my childrens faces rushed before me, the goofy times we had I relived in a sec. I regretted what I had done. But this was the ticket that allowed him to remove the children from my care. I was admitted into a 72 psych hold but quickly released that day told I DID NOT belong there. I returned home and my kids were with my neighbor whom had contacted my husband and of course he quickly came to Ca to get them. I couldn’t even tell them good bye.
    Ive spoke to law enforcement, lawyers what he did was legal. The police said my house was not safe for them because I had no water or power for them, which apparently was MY fault. His command refuses to get involved told me that the state of Ca took my rights from me, and they have this form. However I never received this form. In fact I was told that I could see them and talk to them, but once they were in their fathers care it would have to go to family law. Which I don’t have the money for the “retainer” and money is so tight for everyone its hard to find one who will help for free.
    And as the time goes by, he isnt allowing my children to speak to their own sister, or anyone from my family. He has completely removed me from their lives. My oldest daughter talked to them April 5th and my two little ones think I don’t want them and dont love them. ( which breaks my heart ) what kind of heartless monster tells an innocent child that?
    So at this point, I don’t know what to do. I know that this past mother’s day was the 1st mothers day in 10 yrs I was utterly alone. I don’t know what to do, im literally fighting the devil…. any advice would be great. Thanks for reading this….

    stoły szklane The reason I don’t have my oldest is because my 1st husband served me custody papers with the wrong date on it, and I was out of state for the holidays and couldn’t afford to go back to ca for the court date so he of course won by default.

    Was I not meant to be a mom??

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