My 14-year-old daughter informed me that the many of the young teens in her school are dressing up as Sarah Palin for Halloween. Given that she attends school in very blue Northern Virginia, I asked her if the girls were dressing up as Governor Palin because they thought she was "scary."
"Oh, yes," she replied.
Well, at least they'll be dressed conservatively. A few less skankily-clad kids parading through the neighborhood.
Yes, Cruella, it's Halloween, the time for costume makers to make their annual contribution to the premature sexualization of young children.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown criticized the sexism of the "diva" comment about Sarah Palin from a supposed anonymous McCain campaign adviser on Monday’s Election Center program, despite how it was her own network that highlighted this remark. After describing how "it was big news when this story broke over the weekend -- a shocking quote from an adviser to John McCain calling Sarah Palin a ‘diva.’ (correspondents Dana Bash, Peter Hamby, and John King first reported on the anonymous "diva" remark in an October 25 report on CNN.com), Brown decried how it is "a sexist slight, a term that is only applied to women, almost always in a derogatory way."
At the end of her commentary, which led the Election Center program, the CNN anchor attacked the supposed hypocrisy of the McCain campaign and criticized the unnamed McCain campaign official for using the "diva" term: "So, now, for the McCain campaign to be attacking its own candidate in the most overtly sexist way, calling her a ‘diva,’ -- it is beyond ridiculous. Whoever this anonymous adviser is should be ashamed, or, at the very least, have the courage to say it on the record." Since Brown didn’t say anything critical about how her network ran with the comment during her commentary, despite its anonymous nature, one would guess that she isn’t ashamed of CNN’s action in this matter. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN ran a report from its San Francisco affiliate which sympathized with parents in California who are upset that video of their first grade children, whom they allowed to go on a field trip to their lesbian teacher’s civil marriage, is being used in an anti-gay marriage political ad in the state. The report, by KGO/ABC7 reporter Tomas Roman, also failed to identify California Assemblyman Mark Leno as an openly gay man. The Democratic politician blasted the conservative sponsors of the ad, accusing them of "abuse [against] young children" [see video at right; audio available here].
During the report, the KGO correspondent also played two clips from William May of the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign, who defended the use of the video of the children in the ad, compared to the five total clips from those who object to its use.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown led her Election Center program on Wednesday with a critique of the “double standard” concerning the recent attention on the $150,000 that the Republican National Committee spent on vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin: “My issue: there is an incredible double standard here, and we're ignoring a very simple reality. Women are judged based on their appearance far, far more than men. This is a statement of fact. There has been plenty of talk and plenty written about Sarah Palin’s jackets, her hair, her looks....Compare that to the attention given to Barack Obama’s $1,500 suits or John McCain’s $520 Ferragamo shoes. There is no comparison.”
Brown spent more than 2 minutes on the matter, in which she related her own experience of how women “get scrutinized based on appearance” much more than men do: “...I speak from experience here. When I wear a bad outfit on the air, I get viewer e-mail complaining about it, a lot of e-mail, seriously. When Wolf Blitzer wears a not-so-great tie, how much e-mail do you think he gets? My point is, for women, unfortunately, appearance is part of the job. If Wolf or Anderson shows up on the air without makeup, do you think you would even notice? I show up on the air without makeup, trust me, you’ll notice.” The CNN anchor then defended the RNC’s efforts to help Palin appear visually good: “All women in the public eye deal with this issue, and it’s for this reason that I think the RNC should help Palin pay for hair, clothes, and makeup. It is part of the job.” She concluded her commentary by labeling the attention on Palin’s clothing a “peripheral issue” in the presidential campaign.
But Hostin said there was a case, not for decriminalized prostitution - which reportedly will save $11 million in municipal police spending - but for legalization, which she claimed would "boost the economy in these economic times."
"I think the more valid argument would be legalizing it because I've spoken to a couple of people in San Francisco about this - a couple of voters and what they're saying is, ‘Why not legalize prostitution because then brothels will be taxed, prostitutes will be taxed and that will boost the economy,'" Hostin said. "And in these economic times, this is the one time I think this sort of proposition in San Francisco could, could be passed."
In an October 22 article, Los Angeles Times staffer Jessica Garrison found "Black clergy both for and against gay marriage speak[ing] out" on the matter of California Proposition 8. The ballot initiative would enshrine in the Golden State's constitution the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
By the close of her article, Garrison found space not only to suggest that black Christians voting for Prop 8 were intolerant of homosexuals, but to hint that their views on homosexuality do a disservice to African-Americans by engendering a stereotype that they are more "homophobic" than Americans at-large (emphasis mine):
African American voters could play a crucial role in the fight over same-sex marriage. Though they make up only about 6% of the electorate in California, they are expected to vote in record numbers this election because of Barack Obama's presence on the ballot.
I suppose that mocking Republican candidates is an essential element of a Washington Post editorial writer's job description. Even so, it was jarring to hear the snide comments of WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart [seen right in file photo] about Sarah Palin read on the air today. Not merely did he mock her shopping habits, Capehart came very close to accusing Palin of . . . "child abuse."
Mika Brzezinski, at the Morning Joe helm with Joe Scarborough off on assignment today, led the show with the Politico report that the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150 thousand on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and family. Also aired was a clip of Palin describing the duties of the vice-president to a third-grader, the accuracy of which has been questioned.
If only elderly voters in California would die off in large enough numbers before November 4, then the final nail could be hammered in the coffin of California Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. That according to liberal activist Kristina Wilfore, the executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, "an advocacy organization that specializes in using ballot initiatives to further liberal causes." Her comments were buried deep inside Michael Lindenberger's October 21 item at Time.com:
Wilfore says she's prepared to take the long view in California. "I am not going to be discouraged if we lose," she says. Victory will come over time in the courts, as demographics works its influence on the nation's voting patterns, she says, noting that young people support gay marriage far more than their parents and grandparents do. "A lot of people are going to have to die" before Election Day is an easy day for gay marriage, she says.
While Wilfore was not wishing for the deaths of thousands of elderly conservative voters per se, one can imagine the ire the media would focus on such a statement of say a conservative activist annoyed with elderly voters blocking Social Security reforms.
I thought Sarah Palin did more than fine on Saturday Night Live [Noel's got the video here]. In particular, during her Weekend Update appearance Palin displayed a speaking poise and polish exceeding that of the other candidates on both tickets. But Republicans who agree to appear on such shows put themselves in the lap of the liberal media gods. And those lesser deities abused their power last night, running a nasty joke at Clarence Thomas's expense during Weekend Update shortly before Palin appeared.
The set-up was the fact that, in a dissenting opinion published this past week, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts employed the style of a hard-bitten detective novel. That set up this . . .
In a 4-3 decision today the Connecticut Supreme Court decided that civil unions for same-sex partners were not equivalent to marriage and as such ordered the state to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples applying for them.
In reporting the decision, ABCNews.com put the story in the top headlines rotation with the following teaser:
Conn. Gives Blessing to Gay Marriages; State Supreme Court ruling paves way for same-sex marriages to start next month.
You won't believe it unless you see it with your own eyes.
On September 28, The New York Times sponsored a booth selling subscriptions at the Folsom Street Fair - the largest, raunchiest, most outrageous celebration of deviant sexual behavior in San Francisco, and quite possibly the world - but the Times refused to report on the event.
The Gray Lady averted her editorial eyes, but hawked the newspaper at a massive outdoor event featuring public nudity, sex acts, bondage and whipping in San Francisco public streets.
While commemorating the tenth anniversary of the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered: "Since then, there's been outcry for tougher laws, but how much progress has been made?" Correspondent Thalia Assuras then reported: "The Human Rights Campaign here in Washington D.C. is the largest gay rights advocacy group in the country...Campaign president Joe Solomnese says more must be done to change attitudes...And more must be done to enact laws. Wyoming is among 19 states that still don't address hate crimes based on sexual orientation, something Matthew's family and friends are still working to change." No opponents of hate crimes legislation were featured in the segment.
Following Assuras’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interview mother of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard. Rodriguez asked if the men responsible for the murder showed any remorse, Shepard replied: "...they actually wonder still why they're in such trouble for what they did, just, you know, killing a young gay man. They were -- the environment was set up for them that it was okay to do that to Matt." Rodriguez followed up: "And do you still find that kind of attitude as pervasive as it was then or have you seen positive changes in the last ten years?" Shepard then explained:
Oh, there's definitely been positive changes and for a lot of reasons. Theatrical productions, literature, television, novels, movies, all portray the gay community in a very positive forward-thinking way and that has really helped. People understand the gay community. The level of ignorance is just -- it's amazing that people just don't know more about the civil rights that are being denied the gay community and we're moving forward and working at the grassroots level now trying to really educate people and make them aware of the gay community.
Reporting on a decision by LifeWay Christian Stores to not promote a magazine whose cover story lauded female pastors, Chicago Tribune religion reporter Manya Brachear stacked the deck against the Christian bookseller, failing to speak to a staffer there for an explanation of a policy decision on a magazine the stores carry on their shelves. Yet if she had done her homework, Brachear may have found ample reason that the book store may have had to suspect the editorial judgment and theological conviction of the magazine in question.
In her September 25 post, "Gospel magazine too risque for rack," Brachear found room to quote the publisher of Gospel Today magazine and a female pastor featured in its September/October 2008 issue. Brachear snarked that the decision by Lifeway to put the magazine behind the counter was much like what convenience stores do to racy magazines:
Rev. Kimberly Ray never thought she'd be on the cover of a magazine considered too risque for the racks. But this month, Ray , the head of Angie Ray Ministries and Church on the Rock in Matteson, joined four other female pastors on the cover of Gospel Today magazine.
Because the article broke Southern Baptist rules about women in the pulpit, Lifeway Christian Bookstores, a chain run by the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled its glossy pages from the shelves and tucked it behind the counter where 7-Elevens normally stash Playboy and Penthouse.
At the top of the 7:30AM half hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on Hollywood celebrities coming out: " Ahead this morning, two young stars come out of the closet. We'll talk about whether Hollywood has changed its attitude towards gays." While that headline suggested controversy, in the later segment correspondent Michelle Gillen declared: "‘out’ is apparently ‘in’," and no voices of dissent from family values advocates were presented.
Gillen reported that: "With celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres and Grey's Anatomy's T.R. Knight openly out and TV shows with gay or lesbian characters proving popular in recent years, coming out won't necessarily kill a career...Some celebrities who stars were fading have gotten a career boost after going public about being gay." Gillen then quoted CBS News correspondent Itay Hod, who is gay, on the issue: "The landscape is changing. There's no question that even Hollywood is going a little more gay and a little more liberal when it comes to your sexuality...Well, a lot of it has to do with the fact that society's changing, you know? We're -- the new generation doesn't really care that much."
Sex education for kindergartners is certainly a hot topic. It's also the subject of a McCain campaign ad that many in the media have called a "lie." In the Hot Topic segment of ABC's The View on Monday (Sept. 22), token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck explained that the ad is NOT a lie and Barack Obama did in fact support legislation establishing sex education for kindergartners.
There is an adage that says being a parent is like being pecked to death by a duck. Perhaps the same can be said of Hasselbeck with regard to her fellow View hosts, all liberals who think they are smart. As if on cue, the left-leaning ladies picked apart the points Hasselbeck made in order to continue to defend their favorite candidate, Barack Obama.
The Culture and Media Institute recently addressed the ad issue and detailed the bill's content (click here and here) but the mainstream press has been reluctant to get the word out on the actual facts. Recognizing this, Hasselbeck took the opportunity to use her platform to dispel the "lie" rumor.
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):
To explain the high level of hatred for Governor Sarah Palin, the September 18 edition of "Fox and Friends" invited Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum. Ms. Baum, who claims to have studied it extensively, later used a vulgar term to describe which direction women voters will lean.
The Bloomberg columnist explained that Governor Palin "made the Democrats’ road to the White House less inevitable." Democrats, feeling a sense of entitlement, are outraged that, in a very hostile political environment for the Republicans, this election remains competitive. When Gretchen Carlson asked what this close election means "for the future of the Democratic party" Baum hypothesized that the Democrats are "bankrupt in terms of appealing to the population in terms of ideas."
An affinity for "strap on devices," "swallowing instead of spitting" and a preference for anal sex are some of the key elements San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford uses to identify what makes an "elitist." Loathing the Bible is on the list too.
Morford, whose columns regularly trash conservatives and Christians, weighed in on dumb American kids last October, and trashed evangelicals with the following line: "and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait." His September 12 column, ‘Are You an Elitist? 18 Revealing Ways to Know for Sure' makes that attack look like playground fun.
If at first you don't succeed in making Americans open to same sex marriage by highlighting monogamous gay couples in their 20s and 30s, try to guilt them into it by finding elderly gay people who are all but "invisible and overlooked" in America.
That's essentially what Newsweek's Jessica Bennett did with her September 18 Web exclusive deadling with the "growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens" who "[seek] recognition for their unique needs and challenges."
Bennett started off with a man whose complaint is virtually indistinguishable from countless single or widowed elderly men:
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
Two segments on CNN’s Election Center program on Monday and Tuesday evenings which aimed to fact-check political ads by the McCain and Obama campaigns were followed by panel discussions in which contributor Roland Martin (on Monday) and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin (on Tuesday) took active roles in denouncing the McCain ads as being filled with "lies" and "falsehoods." Martin accused McCain of "playing in the gutter" and repeating "constant lie after lie." The next day, Toobin stated that "John McCain has told outright falsehoods about Obama and sex education, about the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' about earmarks, about taxes, and the examples we cited in those Obama ads are not even close to the falsehoods that have been said about Obama by the McCain campaign.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei and his partner Brad Altman about their wedding following California legalizing gay marriage and asked: "George, how was the wedding? Was it everything you dreamed of?" At the end of the segment, Takei declared: "And may sweet equality live long and prosper," making the Star Trek Vulcan hand sign. Rodriguez showed her solidarity, making the hand sign back and replying: "Let me do it. Same to you." [audio excerpt here]
During the segment, Rodriguez asked about the California ballot initiative designed to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to legalize gay marriage: "But there's this proposition on the November ballot, which you're very familiar with, Proposition 8, that may allow California voters to essentially nullify your marriage if they vote for it. George, talk about what that would mean for your marriage and for you emotionally." Takei replied by denouncing the ballot initiative, yet praising democracy:
Well, first of all, we're not going to let it get there, we're going to fight it tooth and nail. Because it's against the basic fundamental ideals of democracy. You know, we're a pluralistic society and there are many, many faiths and beliefs here. Now we respect everybody's faiths, their right to their beliefs. But there's no right for any one faith group to write those -- their own particular beliefs into civil law that applies to everyone. That's not democracy. That's not the way it works in the American way. And we are going to make sure that democracy prevails here.
During Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the marriage of actor George Takei to his partner Brad Altman, following California’s legalization of gay marriage: "George Takei, Sulu on the original Star Trek, used to dream of a future where unimaginable things would happen. Well, his dream came true. Sunday, he legally married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman." However, later in the segment, Whitaker warned: "But their marriage Knot could be undone by a ballot initiative to, once again, ban gay marriage." Whitaker then made a comparison: "As a child, during World War II, Takei and his family were forcibly removed to internment camps with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans. He held his wedding at L.A.'S Japanese-American National Museum to make a point."
Takei went on to explain to Whitaker: "We, as gay Americans, we've been stereotyped and characterized as something frightening and threatening, as Japanese-Americans were before the war." This is not the first time Takei’s comparison was featured on CBS, on June 16th’s Sunday Morning, a report by correspondent John Blackstone featured a quote from Takei: "I know that people can change because I grew up in -- behind the barbed wire fences of American internment camps. That was in my lifetime. And here I am now, a popular actor -- supported by many, many people throughout the country. America changes. America is made up of decent people, fair-minded people." Takei and Altman were also both quests on the Early Show on June 17 with co-host Julie Chen.
During the panel discussion on the September 14 edition of ABC's "This Week," an interesting exchange occurred between conservative columnist George Will and ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman. On the topic of Senator John McCain's recent ad about a sex education bill Senator Barack Obama voted for while in the Illinois state legislature, Shipman could not seem to understand Will's point of view.
Host George Stephanopoulos described the ad as "looking at a vote that Barack Obama had in a committee when he was a state senator that advocated comprehensive sex education from grades K through 12.... The debate is whether -- what comprehensive sex education means and whether it means that kindergartners should be taught how to ward off a sexual predator or something more extensive than that."
In response, Will argued:
It is very common across the centuries for parents, not schools, parents to tell their children to be aware of strangers. What's new here and reflects a conservative-liberal difference is the idea, a, it has to be tarted up as sex education to be wary of strangers, and b, parents can't but the schools must in the kindergarten. Now that's a cultural divide and let's vote.
Maryland's state Court of Appeals recently blocked a ballot initiative to overturn a Montgomery County law that would, among other things, give transgendered persons the right to choose which public restroom they will use, regardless of their biological gender.
You could see this one coming. After Harry Smith called Sarah Palin "Geritol" for McCain, some MSM wag was sure to take things the next step. I'd say it just happened. NBC News DC bureau chief Mark Whitaker was chatting with Andrea Mitchell at 1:27 PM EDT today.
MARK WHITAKER: [People] want to see passion. They want to see that Obama, and the same thing is true of McCain, and we've seen him [show] a lot more passion since he picked Sarah Palin, it's definitely --
ANDREA MITCHELL: Someone described it as Geritol.
WHITAKER: Well, or something else. Put a little pep in his step!
We now know the official Obama talking point on Lipstick-gate.
In the course of her Morning Joe appearance today, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass used the word "ridiculous" no fewer than six times to dismiss the controversy that has arisen since Obama said yesterday that you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.
Click on the image at the right to view the edited video clip.
Douglass was an ostensibly objective reporter at the National Journal before jumping ship for Obama in the midst of this campaign season.
Gov. Sarah Palin's pick as John McCain's running mate was a risky, but potentially rewarding way to restart the culture war and fire up social conservative voters, according to U.S. News & World Report's Jay Tolson. But couldn't the same be said in reverse for Obama's pick of Sen. Joe Biden?
Here's how Tolson treated the Arizona senator's pick of Palin in a September 9 article (emphasis mine):
When Palin addressed the convention, she made it abundantly clear why she was there: Alluding to Obama's gaffe about working-class Americans who turn to guns and God when the economy sours, she presented herself as proof that his characterization was not only false but condescending. Proof, furthermore, that he was out of touch with God-fearing heartland America.
McCain hardly needed to say any more on that point when it came time for him to speak. His choice of Palin said it all. Not only was she anti-abortion; she was against it in all cases. Not only was she pro-gun; she was a hunter herself.
The liberal campaign to seek to diminish Sarah Palin by sexualizing her continues. Yesterday, I described how Frank Rich used a number of sexualized terms in reference to Palin's relationship with McCain: "shotgun marriage," "speed-dating" and "embrace." Chris Matthews employed a similar tactic this evening, claiming that Palin is running "somewhere between a VP and a First Lady."
During the first segment of this evening's Hardball, Matthews tried out his theory, with no particular success, on pollster Stu Rothenberg and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. For the record, Matthews did stop short of telling Palin to iron McCain's shirt: