The Cutline

Media outlets mostly ignored Cain accuser, until she spoke

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Bialek (CNN)

When celebrity ambulance-chasing attorney Gloria Allred announced Monday that she would be introducing the fourth accuser to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain--and the first to go public--the media largely ignored Allred's call.

CNN was the only major cable network to carry Allred's New York press conference on Monday, where she presented her newest client, Sharon Bialek, to the world. (Compare that to the crush of news outlets scrambling to cover the verdict in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor, later in the day--as every major cable and network news channel broke into regular coverage to carry it live.)

But after Bialek, a former employee of an education fund for the National Restaurant Association, read her account of the alleged 1997 incident--in which she says Cain "suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals" and moved her head toward his crotch as the two were sitting in a parked car--the media appeared to take notice.

"I was surprised and shocked, and I said, 'What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend,'" Bialek said, reading from a prepared statement. "This is not what I came here for."

"I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean," she added. "Just admit what you did. Admit you were inappropriate to people . . . . I implore you. Make this right."

Shortly after the press conference, Allred told reporters that Bialek had been booked on two national morning shows for Tuesday. Bialek then appeared on CNN's "Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer.

Perhaps that's because the outlets could sense public sentiment--which appeared to be on Cain's side--could be swaying. According to The Ticket's David Rothschild, the prediction markets gave Cain a 6.8 percent chance of becoming the Republican Party's presidential nominee before the press conference. By the time the press conference ended, Cain's chances in the same markets had dropped to 3.8 percent.

Cain, who is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," released a statement disputing Bialek's claims. "All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false," the campaign said in a statement. "Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone."

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