Decimate: 1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: the population was decimated by a plague. 2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
Is that the definition of the post-partisan politics Barack Obama claims to be preaching? You know, the kind where there's no blue-state America or red-state America: just the United States of America? Maybe Chevy Chase didn't get the email. Appearing on Morning Joe today, Chase expressed his disappointment that Tina Fey didn't go after Sarah Palin harder in her SNL impersonation. Chase wanted to see Fey "decimate" the Republican VP candidate.
Chase was appearing to tout a charity auction he and wife Jayni are conducting to fund environmental education in the schools. See Bonus Coverage for a disturbing factoid Jayni let slip. Chase's call for blood came in response to Willie Geist's very first question.
"I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail." -- Bob Herbert, NYT, 9-13-08
Bob Herbert's item in today's New York Times, She's Not Ready, is not so much political analysis as a howl of MSM shock and outrage. No-o-o-o-o!, Herbert seems to cry. I can't believe this is happening to us! Meanwhile, with condescension worthy of his ABC stablemate Charlie Gibson, certified Obama fan David Wright suggests that Palin has been in need of a "chaperone" on the campaign trail.
Annotated excerpts from Herbert's "She's Not Ready':
How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?
The MSM has hopped aboard the Palin bandwagon? PDS has obviously affected Herbert's faculties.
H/t cgb1. Sarah Palin is sending the MSM around the bend. On MSNBC this afternoon, Andrea Mitchell provided perhaps the most blatant example yet of an MSMer openly admitting she doesn't want Palin as VP. Mitchell, clearly frustrated by Palin's every-woman-appeal, complained: "Is that what we really want in our leaders? Do we want someone 'just like me?' I mean, I don't want someone like me because I know I'm not because I know I'm not prepared to be vice-president or president. What makes people think that having someone like their neigbhor be in the White House is a good thing?"
Mitchell's guest was Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator from Alaska. Mitchell began by trying to lure Murkowski into taking a swing at Palin for her comments about taking on the "good old boys." Palin defeated Murkowski's father Frank, then the sitting governor of Alaska, in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary:
What media outlets are the ladies of "The View" watching? After Joy Behar the previous day spoke of an alleged media love affair with Sarah Palin, Barbara Walters echoed Joy’s charge on the September 11 edition. Responding to Joy Behar’s statement that a "Bush operative" wrote Palin’s speech, Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the media’s double standard that they never inquired as to who wrote Obama’s speech. Barbara Walters then jumped in and exclaimed that Governor Palin has "had a glorious ride with the media."
As reported yesterday, Sarah Palin’s ride with the media has been anything but glorious. MRC’s Rich Noyes reported on the media’s rough, often unfair treatment of the Alaska governor. ABC, "The View’s" own network, ran a hit piece on Mrs. Palin. Elisabeth Hasselbeck swiftly responded "it was glorious when they attacked her daughter too."
New York Times reporter Kate Phillips is absolutely sure that Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment wasn't referring to Sarah Palin, and wishes people would stop talking about it. Here's Phillips's Wednesday evening entry on the Times's political blog, "McCain Ad: The Wolves Are OutAgainst Palin."
Forget how worn that "lipstick on a pig" talk is getting at this point. Let's, uh, put a little gloss on that for a second, even though the liberal blogosphere and others have been awash in media-bashing today for anyone even writing about Senator Barack Obama's comments that the McCain campaign is putting "lipstick on a pig." He contended that it was all about the McCain-Palin ticket representing no change.
(And there's no question that Senator Obama did not refer to Gov. Sarah Palin as a pig during his talk last night in Virginia. Although the allusion to lipstick within a week of Ms. Palin's popular line at the Republican convention has prompted a great deal of chatter around the Internet.)
Make it a trio of mindreaders at NBC/MSNBC. As noted here, yesterday Howard Fineman and David Shuster went Carnac on us, emphatically declaring that Barack Obama didn't have Sarah Palin in mind with his lipstick line. On this morning's Today, Andrea Mitchell joined her network stablemates [no pun intended!] in delving into Barack's brain and assuring us he meant no harm.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Barack Obama has been a punching-bag [aww] for a barrage of criticism from the McCain campaign. Charges that he slurred Sarah Palin when he said this about McCain and his change argument [cut to clip of Obama's lipstick line]. He was clearly talking about McCain, not Palin.
Well, guess that wraps it up. But wait. Over at Morning Joe, the group wasn't so forgiving, opining that Obama either did know, or should have known, the implications of what he was saying. Mika Brzezinski herself took the first shot.
As Michael M. Bates earlier detailed, CNN’s Jessica Yellin filed a report from Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday’s American Morning which cites a "non-partisan" organization whose official policy stance includes a pro-abortion position, and whose president used to work for NARAL. She also included a sound bite from a Palin critic who donated hundreds of dollars to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Yellin’s report examined how the Alaska governor balances her government work with her family life. She included sound bites from Meg Stapleton, a former aide to Palin who was labeled on-screen as a "Palin campaign advisor" and Kristan Cole, a childhood friend of the governor. After a positive and short depiction of Palin’s life, Yellin cited how "Palin supporters insist her experience as a working mother means she'll represent American women."
The CNN correspondent then went to the critics of the governor’s record: "But some women's groups are critical. The non-partisan National Partnership for Women and Families gives Alaska a D-minus when it comes to its parental leave policy. For example, there's no guarantee of paid leave for new parents." Yellin followed this with a sound bite from Dr. Vicki Lovell of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, who thought there's a contradiction there between Governor Palin's professed values about supporting families and then what we actually see in the state of Alaska, where there aren't adequate supports for families who are welcoming new infants."
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.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman opened today's Morning Joe with an aggressive defense of his lipstick line, arguing that Obama was being criticized "for saying something that John McCain has said before, that Barack Obama frequently says about 'you can dress something up.' He was talking about the Republican change argument."
A bit later, bolstering her argument, the spokeswoman described the conference call the McCain campaign arranged to respond to Obama's line. She pointed out that all the reporters asking questions on the call were women, and that all of them asked McCain representative Jane Swift "are you serious?" in alleging that Obama was alluding to Palin.
Concluding, the Obama spokeswoman argued that if read in context, "he's not talking about Sarah Palin." Oh, wait. That wasn't an Obama spokeswoman. It was Andrea Mitchell, sitting in for Mika Brzezinski.
As the Sarah Palin smears continue in the media, Judge Judy joined the debate spreading an internet rumor about the Alaska governor. Appearing on the September 9 edition of "The View," arguably America’s most famous judge when prodded by Barbara Walters to express her concerns about Palin, Judy expressed discomfort with "the teaching of creationism in public schools."
The judge has nothing to fear because Governor Palin does not want to push creationism in Alaska’s public schools as the non-partisan site FactCheck.org explains in its debunkment.
"Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to ‘debate both sides’ of the evolution question, but she also said creationism ‘doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.’"
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:
It doesn't seem to be unusual for the media to mention a positive story for the McCain campaign, only to be explained away by a surrogate or two. But ABC News outdid themselves today. In a four page online article about the 2008 presidential feud for female voters and a byline of McCain doubling their female volunteers, ABC News managed to squeeze in five different quotes/remarks to rebuke any positive news for the McCain/Palin ticket.
Quote ratio? Five to one, if you include the quote from Obama's campaign ad. Five views/endorsements favoring Obama and one perspective from McCain's campaign/surrogates. You have to love all that balance.
Do you ever get the impression the liberal media disdain Gov. Sarah Palin not just because she's a strong conservative addition to the McCain ticket, but because she's a mother of five who practices the family values she preaches? I would submit that's a strong likelihood, at least in the case of Slate's Jacob Weisberg, who posits in the September 15 Newsweek that (emphases mine):
Palin's pro-life purism is as ethically flawed as it is politically damaging to the GOP. By vaunting their pro-life agenda over everything else, conservatives are abandoning one of their most valuable insights, that intact, two-parent families are best for children and the foundation of a healthy society.
Weisberg is so skeeved out by Gov. Palin's "purism" on abortion that he practically waxes nostalgic for the days of Vice President Dan Quayle:
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
If any pundit should celebrate Sarah Palin, you might think it would be Judith Warner. The author of "Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" is the Times' resident expert on the challenges women face in balancing career and family. But think again. Politics trumps female solidarity. Warner's column on Palin is perhaps the most vitriolic and condescending I've read. The Mirrored Ceiling is a few days old, but Warner's fury still rings fresh.
Excerpts [emphasis added]:
It turns out there was something more nauseating than the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate this past week. It was the tone of the acclaim that followed her acceptance speech.
Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her . . . But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.
Frank Rich expends his 1,500-words today ripping into Sarah Palin. Into John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. Into any members of the press who might not rip into Sarah Palin. What's got Rich so riled up? Cut to Frank's final line: "they just might pull it off." With props to the late Robert Palmer, Frank's got a bad case of not-loving Sarah Palin—but he's badly worried America will find her simply irresistible.
We've had fun with this kind of thing before, so let's ring up the curtain on Rich, Fisked: Act II.
Rich's headline is "Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage." He later describes McCain's process of picking Palin as "speed-dating" and writes of his "embrace" of her. My, my. Sexualizing a woman politician in order to diminish her? Isn't that just the kind of thing that would normally be condemned by, say, a liberal columnist of the NY Times?
That will be followed by observations of commenter "Tom W" (not yours truly) at Pajamas Media.
If they indeed reflect what is happening on the ground, you won't hear about it from the Associated Press, or read it in the New York Times, or see it on the Big Three Networks news or cable shows -- which is why it's so necessary to post items like this here. In fact, it's fair to say that if you were going to see commentary and commenting such as that which follows, it would have occurred already.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to a panel of working moms about the media questioning Sarah Palin’s duel role as a mother and a vice presidential candidate: "Why is it that every time a woman starts ascending up a certain part of the food chain, we have this conversation all over again?...Now, if Sarah Palin's husband were in her spot, would we have asked that question in one second?...Fair or unfair, all this -- this whole conversation, and do you still feel there's a double standard?"
Compare those questions by Smith to comments by co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Wednesday, during an interview with Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor and McCain supporter criticized the questions of Palin’s parenting: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Rodriguez replied: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle." Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez led a panel discussion on Palin by asking: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?"
During Friday’s segment, one of the members of the panel, Lisa Witter, observed: "Well, I personally think that if Sarah Palin were Joe Palin, we wouldn't be having this conversation." Smith replied to that with: "Amen."
Hard to believe, but Meredith Vieira is apparently not a regular NewsBusters reader. The Today co-anchor would otherwise have avoided an embarrassing lapse. On Today this morning, Vieira claimed that it was only "blogs" that went after Sarah Palin's family matters. That left her vulnerable to McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's zinger, pointing out that one of her own network's anchors had questioned Palin's ability to serve as vice-president while attending to her children' needs.
Thursday's New York Times lead story by Elisabeth Bumiller and Michael Cooper covered Palin's rapturously received speech at the Republican Convention Wednesday night, "On Center Stage, Palin Electrifies Convention." After describing how she introduced herself to the "roaring crowd" in St. Paul, the Times threw in this dubious assertion:
But the nomination was a sideshow to the evening's main event, the speech by the little-known Ms. Palin, who was seeking to wrest back the narrative of her life and redefine herself to the American public after a rocky start that has put Mr. McCain's closest aides on edge. Ms. Palin's appearance electrified a convention that has been consumed by questions of whether she was up to the job, as she launched slashing attacks on Mr. Obama's claims of experience.
Actually, only the liberal media was consumed by that question -- Palin was a wildly popular pick even before her impressive convention speech.
It's not shaping up to be a big Brian Williams Fan Club day for me here at NB. Earlier, I noted how the Nightly News anchor seemed to suggest Sarah Palin was playing the race card. Here I am again, back on the Brian beat. Interviewing former GOP governor of Massachusetts Jane Swift at the top of MSNBC's 1 PM EDT hour, Williams hid behind unnamed feminists to make the "who's looking after baby?" charge against Sarah Palin.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Are the women who consider themselves feminists, and are perhaps working women with several children, are they wrong when they express fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this?
Swift, who gave birth to twins while serving as governor, made quick work of Williams' question. FWIW, I hadn't seen Swift in action before and found her impressive
What does it say about Sarah Palin that some of my favorite targets, um, subjects raved about her this morning? Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzezinski could hardly have been more complimentary, Tom Brokaw and Jay Carney chipping in with positive comments.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Here was a novice on the national scene, with the lowest of expectations. People said sure, she'll be able to perform. But it was an amazing, amazing speech in terms of the way it connected to people. I talked to people afterwards on the floor, a lot of women. One woman from California who said it didn't matter that she, this woman delegate, is pro-choice. She said "I'm a mom. I've got three kids at home. And I see myself up there." And she's connecting to her. She said "I did not think this was a good choice until I heard that speech." Now this is admittedly a select audience of very passionate and very conservative Republican delegates. But I think there is a broader audience for this out there. I think it was an extraordinary debut.
When NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd passed along comments from Dem strategists suggesting the speech might have been "a little too hot" for swing voters, Andrea and Mika actually rode to Palin's defense.
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien disavowed any knowledge of a bias on her network against Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly concerning the issue of her five children, during a segment on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. She moderated a segment with two bloggers, a conservative and a liberal, both of them mothers. When the conservative, Rachel Campos-Duffy of "The Real World: San Francisco" fame, stated how "journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids," O’Brien replied, "I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to."
Be grateful for small things. Ann Curry didn't call Bristol Palin's baby "illegitimate" or a "bastard." She settled for "out-of-wedlock." Now in fairness, NBC's Curry was in theory listing things for which people might feel sympathy for Sarah Palin, including her own Down syndrome child.
But in doing so, speaking with Keith Olbermann during MSNBC's RNC coverage this evening, Curry said the following.
ANN CURRY: She has a child who is having a child out of wedlock.
Feminism took a step backwards this week. After being told for decades that women are being held back by the proverbial glass ceiling the left is looking to repair its most recent cracks with duct tape.
Apparently a mom, the once dispensable facet of the nuclear family according to many a card carrying liberal, is now so indispensable that she should actually feel guilty for seeking the job as Vice President of the United States. And you should be guilty too for recommending her for the post. This is the new theme as demonstrated by Liz Hunt of the Daily Telegraph and repeated by others that seem to have a new found problem with successful conservative mothers.
Hunt actually appears more desperate than most when attacking Sarah Palin by implying that Palin's daughter Bristol is getting married instead of getting an abortion for reasons of her mother's "political expediency".
Love and support are all very well. But what about choice. I just hope poor Bristol had a say in it too and that she isn't becoming a wife and parent at such a young age for reasons of political expediency and her mother's soaring ambition.
I suppose that Hunt could be implying that Bristol put the child up for adoption. But when left to poinder the phrasing, "what about choice", the left usually means "what about choice (for abortion)?"
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin echoed Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on the subject of "diversity" in the Republican Party during CNN’s Tuesday evening coverage of the Republican convention: "I'd just like to make an observation about sort of the night as a whole. Fred Thompson, George Bush, Joe Lieberman -- the Republican Party, are they the party of old, white guys? I mean, this is who the Republican Party put forward first, and the only other people there were wives.... It is not a diverse party. It is not a party where women have had great success" [audio available here].
Editor's Note: A longer version of this article originally appeared on our affiliated site Times Watch.
Bristol Palin's pregnancy made the top of the fold of Tuesday's New York Times in a story by Elisabeth Bumiller, who helpfully summarized all the scandalettes (and at least one fake one) burbling around the Palin pick in "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process."
A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain's choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.
On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.
Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.
Meet the newly minted traditionalists at the New York Times, two female reporters who seem to doubt whether or not a woman can have it all -- at least if she's a Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Labor Day edition of the Times's "Political Points" podcast, recorded at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn, was hosted by Jane Bornemeier with commentary from reporters Jackie Calmes, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Kirkpatrick. The conversation was predictably dominated by "baby-gate" -- the news that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant. Some choice excerpts in which the two female reporters question the judgment of McCain and Palin and find the issue of a teenager's pregnancy fair game: