Dominique Strauss Kahn scandal opens French soul searching: should a “presidentiable” have secrets? What is the border between womanizing and sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment
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NBC report on what the French think about the IMF head arrest. What is missing from this report is the question: why didn’t the scandal occur earlier and why not in France? The fact that the scandal took place in the US shows that Americans pursue these matters not because of prudishness, but because of their heightened sensibility to sexual harassment.

Even LA Times weighs in on the side of American “virtue”:

We’ve long thought that attitudes in Europe toward political sex scandals were healthier than those in the U.S. But the French may have taken it too far. Restrictive libel laws aimed at guarding the privacy of celebrities have thoroughly cowed the media there, making American-style investigations into a politician’s personal background nearly unheard of. Many consider this system superior — after all, a prominent figure’s extramarital affair should be between him and his wife, the theory goes, not fodder for public discussion — but it can also give the powerful the impression that no behavior is off-limits. There was ample evidence before this week that the thrice-married Strauss-Kahn was a serial womanizer if not a sexual predator, yet his multiple affairs and the allegations of sexual harassment against him were seldom mentioned by the French media.

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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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