I join Mr. King's foray into this minefield below the fleur-de-kos, with the hope I can avoid stepping on the many mines.
While King has both feet in his mouth, there is a problem with the analysis in the Salon piece: burden of proof.
The burden of proof is always on the accuser whether the accused is Woody Allen or the Republican Governor of New Jersey, whether the accusation is homicide or littering. That is so in court and it should be so in the court of public opinion.
The two differences in the court of public opinion are that there are no rules of evidence and the burden of proof may be as heavy or as light as any individual wishes. Therefore, individuals tend to go off on how they feel in the abstract about either the type of accusation or the person accused.
It's entirely appropriate that some people may stand convicted in the court of public opinion who could never be convicted in a real court. But, even taking that into account, if there is any burden of proof at all then it rests on the accuser and to presume innocence is not to presume that the accuser is a "liar," because there are any number of ways to account for untrue accusations that do not involve lying, and I would argue that those ways are more common than out and out lies.
Most of the ways adults wind up giving factually incorrect testimony affect children more than adults.
There are cases of people going to prison on the uncorroborated word of a three year old. I am actually OK with this in the court of public opinion. If an individual is willing to defend that quantum of proof, then they get to weigh in on their reasons, and the public can either agree or not.
As a judge, I have a problem with the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in "swearing match" cases between adults and even when one of the swearers is a law enforcement officer. Because cross examination is such an excellent tool in skilled hands, I am seldom put to that decision.
Public opinion is a different animal, granted.
Still, as long as any burden of proof exists, it must rest on the accuser. Application of that rule does not entitle the accusing to say "you called me a liar!" You've done nothing of the kind. What you have done, if you find the evidence insufficient, is said that the accuser's credible statement did not overcome a credible denial because there was no cross examination or no other evidence or anything else to break the tie.
That's what burden of proof does. That's how it operates. Burden of proof does not even figure in unless you believe the accuser, at least to say "I believe you because I have no reason to disbelieve you." It's only after that wicket you even look around on the other side and ask what weighs in for the accused and whether it's heavy enough.
It hard to see what character assassination adds to the discussion, and that's why Mr. King is standing....or rather sitting...awkwardly. You can't stand with both feet in your mouth.