A Democratic Senate candidate who has raised millions in his bid to unseat Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) was accused last week of sexually assaulting his former campaign manager. MSNBC, CNN, and other national media have yet to give the story any attention.
Mike Franken has raised more than $4.6 million and won the support of prominent Democrats such as Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.) and Tim Kaine (Va.) in his Senate run. That effort was derailed on Sept. 19 when he was accused of forcibly kissing his former campaign manager Kim Strope-Boggus, according to a police report she filed in April.
But you might have missed that if you get your news from MSNBC and CNN, which haven't dedicated a single second of coverage to the alleged sexual misconduct. Likewise, mainstream papers like the New York Times and Washington Post have also failed to report on the allegations.
Politico broke the mainstream media silence on Monday with an interview in which Franken claims the incident never happened and calls the report a "desperate move" from "a Republican paper funded by Chuck Grassley, funded by the Republicans." The Des Moines Register, Gazette, and other Iowa-based outlets have also reported on the accusation.
Franken is the latest Democrat to benefit from selective media coverage amid a potential scandal. Many mainstream media outlets refused to report on Hunter Biden's laptop in the runup to the 2020 presidential election. An adviser to disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) bragged last year that MSNBC host Katy Tur read her "spin" on air while discussing Cuomo's sexual assault allegations.
Grassley campaign spokeswoman Michaela Sundermann told the Washington Free Beacon that "no Republican nominee would be afforded the same treatment" Franken has gotten from national media. Sundermann also denied Franken's claim that Grassley "funds" the Iowa Field Report.
"The Grassley campaign runs ads on Iowa Field Report—the same practice as every other campaign across the country running ads on news networks and websites," Sundermann said. "Does Mike Franken 'fund' every television network, print outlet, and website he runs ads on?"
Strope-Boggus told police the assault occurred during a night of drinking in Des Moines. She also said Franken has had "1950s interactions" with "several other women." Franken is married with two children.
Franken's legal team pressured Strope-Boggus not to speak about her termination from the campaign, the police report also shows. Members of the Iowa Republican Party have urged Franken to release Strope-Boggus from her nondisclosure agreement.
"Nondisclosure agreements are used to keep victims silent," Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. "While Franken is free to call the victim a liar, he's forcing her into silence."
Franken's campaign has said there is nothing keeping Strope-Boggus from speaking out. The Des Moines Police Department chose not to pursue the case further after speaking with the county attorney, who determined no criminal action had occurred. Last week, Strope-Boggus told a Gazette columnist she will not comment further about the incident.
Franken's campaign platform promises to "end sexual discrimination, as well as workplace sexual harassment."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) told Democrats this month he believes Franken won't win, Punchbowl News reported. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced a $15 million spending spree in races, but no money went to Iowa.
Franken told Politico he believes Schumer is "happy with our performance, and secretly … proud of how we're doing." He is trailing 7 points behind Grassley, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight polling average.