If Britney Spears wants to launch her grand return with a trite and tacky rough-sex pantomime, I suppose that's her business. She's not known as a pop tart for nothing. What I do find noteworthy is the way GMA celebrated that bit of rough stuff, featuring it in its opening minutes. Even there, it's not ABC's descent into schlock that jumps out so much as the double standard. Can you imagine the dutifully feminist ABC applauding such junk if the gender tables had been turned? Me neither.
Diane Sawyer, uh, teased things during the show opening.
In the name of gender equality, the Today show plumped this morning for government regulation forcing health care insurers to charge men and women the same for individual policies even though women cost insurers more because of greater use of services. Hasn't the financial crisis taught the MSM anything about the danger of government meddling in markets? No.
Insurers wind up paying out more in claims under women's policies than men's. Under the circumstances, charging women the same as men would make as much sense as FedEx charging a flat shipping fee no matter how big the box. But that didn't stop NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman and Today weekend co-host Amy Robach from decrying the unfairness of it all this morning. Their solution? More government, of course. They want legislation to force insurers to charge the sexes the same.
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?
When Politico revealed the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 outfitting Sarah Palin and her family after she was picked as John McCain's running mate, one would assume it would be worthy of a brief, snarky story buried on the New York Times's "Caucus" page, filled mostly with anonymous Republicans griping about campaign spending priorities.
But Patrick Healy and Michael Luo's "$150,000 Wardrobe for Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image" made the front page Thursday morning. (The other major papers had more self-control.) The Times played up what they saw as the hypocritical disconnect between Palin's "Joe-six-pack" appeal and the posh wardrobe from Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
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.
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.
Sarah Palin found an unlikely voice defending her from constant vicious attacks on the left, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg. On the October 15 edition, in sharing her experience meeting John McCain and Sarah Palin, Elisabeth Hasselbeck expressed regret about all of the hate the Alaska governor recieved and added, "she’s a good woman and regardless of what you think, she is."
Whoopi Goldberg surprisingly concurred noting past attacks on Hillary Clinton, decried such attacks on Sarah Palin observing a pattern of vitriol towards strong women. When Joy Behar attempted to play the equivocation game, holding Governor Palin responsible for words from one random supporter, Whoopi replied "that doesn’t justify crappy behavior from anybody."Whoopi continued noting "everybody when you meet them as something redeeming." Joy then retracted with a weak, "I’ll accept that."
If "The View" moderator did not surprise enough, she countered Joy when Joy blamed the "mess" on Bush and Republicans. Whoopi declared "all of Washington has a hand on this," reminding Joy that Democrats controlled Congress for the last two years and neither party has "been able to get jack booty done."
Retiring ABC journalist Lynn Sherr is trashing Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as not enough of a feminist. “What, exactly, has she done legislatively for other women? What paths has she forged?” Sherr asked TVNewser columnist Gail Shister in an interview published Tuesday morning.
“She seems to have turned it [feminism] on its head. She doesn't seem to care about bringing along other women with her,” Sherr complained as she packed up her ABC News office.
Sherr’s feminist credentials were on display at ABC a dozen years ago when she tossed out the results of her own network’s scientific poll to advance her thesis that the popular culture makes women feel bad about their breasts.
As MRC’s MediaWatch reported at the time (in a NewsBite headlined “Stacked Reporting”):
In her day-on-the-campaign-trail stories about the VP candidates, Katie Couric didn't even try to deliver equal treatment. Last week, after her piece on her day with Joe Biden, I outlined what she must do to be consistent with Palin this week. She failed. Unlike with Biden on September 22, in the “Sarah Palin: Behind the Scenes” story on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Couric declared a McCain-Palin policy position “misleading,” deliberately highlighted a policy disagreement between the two (drilling in ANWR), condescendingly demanded that Palin list the names of newspapers she read in Alaska and then treated Palin's conservative views as alien and thus in need of explanation -- pressing her on whether she agrees global warming is “man-made,” hitting her repeatedly on whether it should be illegal for a 15-year-old rape or incest victim to get an abortion or the “morning-after” pill and requiring she offer her position on teaching evolution.
Couric asserted that “it will take about ten years for domestic drilling to have an impact on consumers,” before accusing Palin: “So isn't the notion of 'drill, baby, drill' a little misleading to people who think this will automatically lower their gas prices?” On how Palin is an ill-informed dolt: “What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?” Couric wouldn't let go: “Like what ones specifically?” and “Can you name a few?” [UPDATED below with how growing up Palin “consumed newspapers with a passion.”]
Jumping to social issues, as the two sat on the campaign bus, Couric insisted Palin reiterate how she adheres to views Couric framed as extreme:
In his look at the "McCain campaign's end-run around media," San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli pitted one media insider's defense of McCain campaign strategy on the matter of Gov. Palin's press availability, and that at the end of his 20-paragraph story:
"All politicians go through a stage where they want to minimize how much they are exposed to the media," said Paul Friedman, vice president of news at CBS, the network that scored one of the three major Palin interviews. He shrugged at what could be learned in a news conference that couldn't in a one-on-one interview. "I just don't think it is that cosmic of an issue. We'll see more of the candidates soon. Just wait for the debates."
To counter Friedman, Garofoli cited female journalists and pundits who complain that Palin is being overly sheltered. Aside from PBS's Judy Woodruff and CNN's Campbell Brown, Garofoli noted the complaints of conservative Kathleen Parker, labeling the syndicated columnist, and rightfully so, by her ideological label.
But when it came to labeling a liberal critic of Palin, the chief of a liberal feminist organization was treated as a non-partisan observer, even though her organization was co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:
At the top of her second hour yesterday, talk show host Laura Ingraham offered a hilarious dramatic reading of Eve Ensler, the feminist-hack playwright of The Vagina Monologues, despairing over the ascent of Sarah Palin and how she doesn’t "much believe in thinking" and how she will destroy the beautiful polar bears, and how, if the McCain-Palin ticket wins, the "fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover." Hear the satirical audio at Laura’s Free Stuff page. The text, with all its anti-religious bigotry, is posted in a perfect spot: The Huffington Post, or as we've called it, Huffington's House of Horrors. Remember this when the media says all the invective in the campaign is coming from conservatives. Here’s a part:
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.
New York Times media reporter Jacques Steinberg watched the popular ABC morning chat fest "The View" and actually found a liberal slant. His Tuesday Arts section lead story, "'The View' Has Its Eye on Politics This Year," basically contradicts what the paper claimed on September 13, when it said the show was "generally friendly territory for politicians." As a bonus, veteran journalist Barbara Walters claimed that "I don't think anyone knows my political opinions." Really now?
In a reversal from usual media denials of liberal media bias, the Times's Steinberg actually noticed a pro-Obama slant on the part of the show's co-hosts.
Barbara Walters said she left the set of "The View" on Sept. 12 believing that she and her fellow panelists had conducted a fair on-the-couch interview with Senator John McCain, and later in the episode one with him and his wife, Cindy. That was the live conversation in which Whoopi Goldberg asked Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, if she should fear "being returned to slavery" if he won, and Joy Behar complained to him about the untruths she saw in his campaign advertisements.
But soon after it was broadcast, Ms. Walters recalled in an interview at her ABC office on a recent afternoon, she received an e-mail message from Rosie O'Donnell, a former "View" co-host whose on-air monologues were often far left of center.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown, famous for her repeatedclashes with the McCain-Palin campaign, went off on a "short rant" last night against GOP staffers for putting "chauvinistic chains" around vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Brown's lecture during the first minutes of her "Election Center" show came on the heels of extended complaints from American news media about how the McCain camp is acting wrongly by not allowing reporters to be present during a series of meetings Palin is having with European leaders.
Excluding the media is not only wrong, Brown argued, it is further proof that the McCain campaign is treating Palin like a "delicate flower that will wilt at any moment."
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."
Lazy journalism at NPR typically causes a return to their default position: liberal bias. Such was the case yesterday. In the morning edition, NPR reported on the recent and unsurprising announcement that NOW--the National Organization For Women, an ideological & partisan group--would endorse Barack Obama.
Rarely does the National Organization For Women endorse a presidential candidate. On Tuesday, the group announced it is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kim Gandy, president of NOW, talks with Renee Montagne about why the organization is endorsing Obama.
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews began his teaser for a segment about Sarah Palin's pending press interview and plans to field questions at a town hall by exclaiming "look who's talking" as an image of Palin [see screencap] appeared bearing the same graphic.
"Look who's talking" is of course the title of a 1989 hit movie in which the person doing the talking was . . . an infant.
The woman introducing Joe Biden to a Michigan crowd yesterday called Sarah Palin a "bucket of fluff." Biden then told the crowd that Barack Obama is too smart and too well-educated to live in a Republican neighborhood. Now that the Dems have put Obama's smarts and education on the table, will the MSM demand Obama finally release his Columbia transcript?
But, OK, fine. Biden's put it out there. We know about Biden's academic record. And John McCain's far-from-stellar academics at the Naval Academy are well documented. Sarah Palin apparently moved around quite a bit in college. But there's one person about whom there is a very large lacuna when it comes to his academic record: one Barack Obama. His campaign has refused to release his Columbia University undergraduate transcript, the one upon which he was admitted to Harvard Law. Now that Biden has put smarts on the table, will the MSM demand that Obama come clean on Columbia?
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.’"