As soon as I realized that Maureen Dowd's column of today, "Rush to Judgment" was indeed about Rush Limbaugh's recent observations about Hillary's looks, I braced myself for the backlash.
Surely Dowd would seek to unload on Rush for having said, in commenting on an unflattering photo of Hillary [displayed here] that turned up on Drudge, "will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Added Rush “men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.” And Hillary “is not going to want to look like she’s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers, it will impact perceptions [so] there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging.”
And so I continued to read, and wait, and wait -- for the comeback that never came.
Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" led with co-host Julie Chen exclaiming: "Sexism hits the campaign trail as Rush Limbaugh asks if voters want to stare at an aging woman as president." This harsh accusation was in reference to comments made by Limbaugh during his radio show on Monday, in which he said: "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she's getting older because it'll impact poll numbers, it'll impact perceptions."
The "Early Show" did not do a full segment on the story, but did feature a news brief at the top of the 8:00am hour by CBS Anchor Meg Oliver:
MEG OLIVER: And now a story that's expected to reverberate throughout the day. The question of sexism in politics. It's of particular interest in Campaign 2008, where a woman has a good chance of becoming a major party nominee. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh yesterday had some thoughts after seeing this picture of Hillary Clinton posted on the internet. Limbaugh believes Americans are addicted to physical perfection and wonders if this country is ready to watch a woman age in the Oval Office.
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.
On Saturday's Religion page in The Washington Post, they highlighted the typical secular liberal reporter in his natural habitat -- tremendously skeptical of letting religious people play a role in public policy. In a box highlighting the "On Faith" Internet feature of The Washington Post and Newsweek, the magazine's Christopher Dickey was visibly disturbed in answering the question "Do you think the world's biggest problems -- poverty, disease, homelessness -- can be cured by well-intentioned religious believers?" The Post featured this grab:
“Well-intentioned religious believers”? That phrase, I confess, makes me deeply uneasy. In practice the selflessness of such people can be awe inspiring. In horrible conditions, their powerful faith gives them the strength to endure, to comfort, to heal. But at a policy level when they see practical problems through the narrow prism of dogma the results can be shocking.
In his signed editorial today, "Campaigns Like These Make It Hard to Find a Reason to Believe," New York Times reporter turned editorial board member Eduardo Porter came out as a proud atheist and concluded with a bizarre comparison between Saudi Arabia's harsh rules against adultery and the GOP presidential fields' feelings toward gays.
"As I watched Mitt Romney tie himself into a constitutional knot as he argued that religion should provide a guide for public policy but not be used to choose a president, it made me suspect that all the candidates in the race -- Republican and Democratic -- must believe that I lack some essential virtue.
Claiming that someone is less popular than venereal disease is a quintessential hit below the belt. So if you were counseling a candidate to hit her opponent above the belt, the last person you'd suggest she hire is a guy who just compared someone to an STD . . . unless you're Chris Matthews.
Matthews's advice to Hillary Clinton is to hit Obama above the belt . . . by bringing in Paul Begala, the man who just this week used the VD comparison to slur President Bush.
The Hardball host was a guest on this morning's Today.
The "Midwest Teen Sex Show" -- a video blog that advises teens to use abstinence (the condom, not the practice) -- is being praised by a blogger at CBSNews.com as "good for a laugh" while being informative.
"[T]he creativity and humor of these three young people really shines through," Irregularly Scheduled Programming (ISP) blog contributor Tony Maciulis enthused in his December 11 blog post. Elaborating on that point, Maciulis mused that "Sex and the City" was nothing more than a younger, urban spin on "The Golden Girls":
Just in case you thought Paul Begala's boorishness knew any bounds . . .
Bill Clinton's former adviser was a guest on the Situation Room this afternoon on CNN. Talk turned to the strategy Republicans should adopt in upcoming special elections.
WOLF BLITZER: How much of a lightning rod -- you're an expert on this subject -- will Hillary Clinton be for Republicans out there, cause they're already, in some of these special elections that are coming up, they're already pointed to her to try to help Republican candidates?
As Republican primary campaign slogans go, "Endorsed by Frank Rich!" might not be a candidate's strongest play. But for better or worse Mike Huckabee is essentially stuck with it after Rich's NYT's column of yesterday. The ostensible theme of "The Republicans Find Their Obama" is that Republican voters are leaning toward Huckabee for the same reasons that Dems are trending to Obama: that both men are relatively young, speak across racial lines, are witty and avoid hyper-partisanship.
But dig down a bit deeper, and it appears that Huckabee's real appeal for Rich is that, social issues aside, he is the most liberal of the GOP frontrunners. Making his case for Huckabee, Rich goes so far to dabble in Christian theology [emphasis added]:
CNN, in a report on the Centers for Disease Control’s finding that the teen birth rate increased in 2006, focused attention on what liberals surmise is a partial cause of the increase - President Bush’s advocacy of abstinence-only sex education. CNN correspondent Mary Snow, in her introduction to her report, noted that, "no one is saying for certain whether the rise in teen pregnancy is in fact a trend, but it is bringing attention to abstinence-only programs, and the roughly $176 million the federal government spends on them each year."
The report, which aired during the 4 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s "The Situation Room," featured three sound bites from both sides of the debate. Two came from Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, whose political leanings are never mentioned. The third came from Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation, which is described as a "conservative think tank."
[Update, 12:20 pm Eastern: Kristen Fyfe of MRC's Culture and Media Institute pointed out the biased reporting of the New York Times and the Washington Post on the CDC report.]
Brent Bozell's culture columns in the last two weeks have tackled some very contemporary topics, from new MTV star Tila Tequila to CBS's "reality" fest "Kid Nation" to Fox's "Family Guy" even working itself into submarine sandwich commercials. The latest column explored how MTV keeps looking for a new sexual barrier to cross on its "reality" shows:
The twist in the series is that Miss Tequila is bisexual. As the new MTV star tells it, "They found out about my lifestyle, and said ‘How would you feel about putting it on MTV?’" Viacom thought it was time for America’s youth to watch a bisexual dating show. So the show’s plot called for inviting 16 straight men and 16 lesbians to compete for her physical attention. Neither the men nor the women were informed of the other gender’s presence so they could look shocked for the cameras.
OK, this is getting downright weird. Not one, not two but now three Gail Collins columns within three weeks dealing in one way or another with Rudy Giuliani's sentimental attachments. On November 8th came the suggestively-headlined "Pat Loves Rudy," about the Robertson endorsement. As observed here, that column contained Collins lurid allusion to Rudy "busy committing adultery." Just two days later, as noted here, Collins captioned her column about the Kerik indictment "Rudy and Bernie: B.F.F.’s" ["Best Friends Forever," in the lingo of groovy gals like Gail].
Unless memory fails it's hard to recall Keith condemning Bill Clinton for his flings on grounds of morality. But when it comes to a Republican presidential candidate, has the Countdown host gone Cotton Mather on us?
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter was Olbermann's guest on this evening's Countdown to discuss the issue of Giuliani's accounting for the expenses of his security detail accompanying him on trips to Long Island, assertedly for purposes of visiting his then girlfriend and wife-to-be Judith Nathan.
Two days after the CNN/YouTube Republican debate, where the news network failed to mention a questioner’s affiliation with Hillary Clinton’s homosexual steering committee, "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment, asked whether "it is time for the U.S. to rethink ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ when it comes to gays in the military," and featured statistics from the New York Times and the top homosexual advocacy group in the country, without verbally attributing these sources.
The "Cafferty File" segment began 10 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour, and in the midst of the two breaking news stories of the evening - the train crash in Chicago and the hostage standoff at Clinton’s campaign office in New Hampshire. Cafferty began by citing that "twenty-eight retired generals and admirals say that it's time for this country to repeal the U.S. military's policy of 'don't ask, don't tell.' On the fourteenth anniversary of this being signed into law, they've signed a letter calling for Congress to get rid of it." He then cited two statistics, which were also displayed on the screen - that there are supposedly 65,000 gays and lesbians in the military, and that there are more than 1 million gay veterans.
Thursday’s “American Morning” program, while reporting retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr’s connections to the Hillary Clinton campaign, failed to mention one key revelation made by debate moderator Anderson Cooper during the post-debate coverage - that Cooper knew that Kerr was “an activist of some sort.”
Co-host John Roberts not only reported on Kerr’s membership of Clinton’s “LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee” during all 3 hours of “American Morning,” but conducted a live interview of Kerr during the 7 am Eastern hour. Six minutes into the 6 am Eastern, Roberts gave the following brief on the Kerr story.
[Update: Keith Kerr was known to CNN as a gay activist as far back as December 2003, when he was featured in this CNN article.]
CNN, as part of its Republican debate with YouTube, failed to mention that retired general Keith Kerr, who announced he was gay after his retirement from the Army, is a member of Hillary Clinton’s "LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee." Not only did General Kerr ask the question via a YouTube video, but he was also present in the audience, and got to ask the candidates for a "straight answer" (pardon the pun).
General Kerr’s, whose question came 47 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour the debate, is also part of the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network's advisory council, an organization "dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance"
[See updates below: Bill Bennett mentioned Kerr's possible Hillary connection on CNN 30 minutes after the debate, and Anderson Cooper confirms this at the close of the 10 pm Eastern hour.]
When you have the following meeting of the minds in a public forum - NBC News White House Correspondent David Gregory, former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather, New York Times White House correspondent David Sanger, and former White House bureau chief and correspondent for United Press International Helen Thomas - there's a near certainty something outrageous will be said.
And that was the case on November 26 at The National Press Club when this roundtable discussion occurred for the taping of "The Kalb Report," a public affairs program broadcasted on various television stations throughout the country.
I was the recipient today of several emails from well-intentioned people, telling me I was being attacked in parts of the blogosphere for something I wrote and said on the air in last night's broadcast. It was a closing piece about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip celebrating their 60th anniversary. I noted this accomplishment, especially in this era when, as I put it, marriage seems "under attack" as an institution. My meaning? Our national divorce rate, which is currently somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. Others took it upon themselves to decide that I was somehow attacking gay marriage. The simple fact is that nothing could have been further from my mind, as many others easily understood. In fact, one comment shared with me today came from a respected member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, who said, "It seemed to me he was talking about the sky-high heterosexual divorce rates. Marriage IS under attack -- by straight people. It had nothing to do with the gay marriage movement."
It would be logical to most Americans that having openly gay adults supervising impressionable young boys under the age of consent might be a bad idea, setting aside moral or religious considerations. It would also be logical to most Americans that private organizations reserve every right to set membership standards on moral and/or religious considerations. And to most lay persons, it would seem downright un-American for any American city to evict the Boy Scouts of America, of all organizations, from city-owned property for what amounts to political correctness.
Yet in covering such a story in "Philadelphia Gives Boy Scouts Ultimatum," the Washington Post's Dafna Linzer paints the Scouts as "anti-homosexual" while failing to suggest the city's liberal Democratic politicians are "anti-Boy Scout."
Brent Bozell's culture column on Thursday reported on Joe Francis, the brains behind "Girls Gone Wild" videos featuring college-age women flashing their breasts (and other body parts) at the camera during Spring Break. But filming two underage girls in Florida led to time in jail, and then the feds indicted him for tax evasion, which is why he's in jail now in Reno, Nevada. Francis thinks all this misfortune couldn't have happen to a nicer guy. He compares himself to Steven Spielberg, even Jesus:
Francis was taken into custody in Florida, where he tells a hellish story of being mistreated like he was in Abu Ghraib. Then he told Greta van Susteren about being taunted by other inmates there. He says the chaplain asked, "Son, have you thought about Jesus Christ?" Francis quickly says Yes. Since he’s just like Jesus: "Every day! Because this is what they did to him."
When California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills on Oct. 12 that essentially turn the state's public schools over to homosexual and transgender activists, there was virtually no media coverage outside California. There still isn't.
Beginning in January 2008, California public schools must teach children as young as 3 to 5 years old that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle and that kids can choose their "gender." This means banning the terms "husband" and "wife" for the more progressively inclusive term "partner." "Moms" and "dads" will morph into sexually neutral "parents." Textbooks will be rewritten to blot out any reminder of married-couple-led families as a social norm. Gender-confused kids will get to use the restrooms of their choice. Any expression of negativity toward deviant sexuality will be punished as "bigotry." The coming changes are so radical that they produce gasps or professions of disbelief from people who hear about it from sources outside the mainstream media.
Bruce Shortt, an advocate of private schooling who writes a periodic report called "the Continuing Collapse" about problems in government schools, provides this analysis:
So far, the media have maintained a near total news blackout on this development.
A recent article [at Medill Reports online] on homosexual gains in the schools reflects how the advocates of legislation to mainstream deviant lifestyles plan to respond to queries from naive or fellow travelling reporters:
Q. Who could possibly be "surprised" that in choosing women to date, college-aged men tend to prefer beauty over brains?
A. An Ivy League professor.
What is truly surprising is that Maureen Dowd thinks this commonplace about men's preferences has implications for Hillary's campaign strategy. Dowd propounds her odd theory in her column of this morning, "Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?"
A major political figure calls for the torture and execution of homosexuals and the mainstream media ignores it. Why? Could it be because the individual is a high level Iranian official? The story "Gays Deserve Torture, Death Penalty, Iranian Minister Says" appeared on the front page of FoxNews.com, yet it was nowhere to be found on CNN’s, MSNBC’s, ABC News’, or CBS News’ websites.
The Fox News story, lifted from The Times of London, reports that in a "peace conference" with British MP’s in May, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mohsen Yahyavi, stated according to the article that "homosexuals deserve to be executed, or tortured, and possibly both."
"The Times" story, appearing on the Fox News website, reports on the meeting as follows:
It feels like Groundhog Day, the movie. Every time Congress takes up abstinence-only education programs, you can count on the media to trot out a story claiming abstinence-only education doesn’t work. They did it in April of this year with the flawed Mathematica study and they’re doing it again with a "new" study put out by the pleasantly-named National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The Associated Press story, "Report: Abstinence programs don’t work" is a classic example of liberal-agenda promotion. From the slanted opening paragraph to the failure to cite or quote even a single advocate of abstinence-only education, the entire piece is a pitch for progressive comprehensive sex education programs. Just look at the lede:
Just two days ago, Gail Collins christened her column about the Pat Robertson endorsement "Pat Loves Rudy."
As I observed then, "a conservative columnist writing the equivalent might well be condemned for making an unsubtle appeal to homophobia. But Collins will surely get a pass in PC quarters, since it's a well-established fact that liberals are incapable of prejudice."
Then comes today's column -- and I'll be darned if Collins hasn't done it again.
Over the course of his political career, Bill Clinton was literally and figuratively embraced by countless pastors, most of whom presumably went to their pulpits on Sunday to preach traditional values, including marital fidelity. If memory serves, neither Gail Collins nor other liberal pundits noted any irony in people of the cloth endorsing the spectacularly straying Clinton.
But let a preacher praise a Republican with a personal history, and Gail Collins thunders like Billy Sunday with a bad migraine. Here's the opening paragraph of her "Pat Loves Rudy" in today's New York Times [emphasis added]: