The Vanity Fair national editor most recently known for publishing a withering criticism of the Clintons during the 2008 presidential race has chosen a new target for summary destruction: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
This is no mere attack on the Governor’s policy positions, nor on her performance during the 2008 campaign – nor even on her performance since. Purdum, in this article, plies his very best Luca Brazzi impression – hopelessly pathetic, yet reliably purposeful in ‘whacking’ the opposition.
In spinning his yarn, Purdum goes well below the belt:
Cokie Roberts appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" and agreed with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 1994 comment that a wise woman would come to a better conclusion than a man. Roberts, cheered, "Of course, I would agree with her that they're better." Fellow ABC journalist Sam Donaldson empathized that if the judge made a mistake, "it was a Joe Biden problem. She blurted out the truth." [Audio available here]
Throughout two segments on the program, various reporters and guests justified Sotomayor's comments. Roberts attempted to explain away the comments, which are in addition to the now famous 2001 "wise Latina" quote. She sympathized to co-host Diane Sawyer, "You go before these big women's groups. And, Diane, I'm sure you've done it. I've certainly done it many times." With no hint of controversy, Roberts added, "And you do say things that kind of rev up the crowd and get women excited. And one of those things that you do say is that women are better than men."
Ten years ago, the movie The Cider House Rules was toasted in Hollywood for its fervent support of the need for abortion doctors. But you wouldn't know that from today's TV listings.
The film is airing Tuesday night on WGN, and the plot summary in the Washington Post TV Week section on Sunday says only this: "Raised to be an obstetrician at a Maine orphanage, a young man leaves to work at a cider mill with a soldier's beloved."
James Bowman's takedown of the film is here. He wrote, in part:
The rules against abortion are (or were, when there were such things) made by men, who do not live in women's bodies. Therefore, women need not obey them. Indeed, it is a question whether they need obey any rules imposed upon them by a patriarchal society.
On Monday, The Washington Post played President Obama’s address at Notre Dame as if Obama were the essence of centrism and civil dialogue, the man calling for "open minds" – and never mind his actual abortion record. But stranger still was the story on the commencement speech denouncing protesters at another commencement. On the front page, the Post highlighted "Trinity Washington head denounces protests."
On page A-5, across from the continuation of the Obama speech story came this headline: "Notre Dame Protesters Rebuked From Afar: In Graduation Talk, Trinity Washington President Decries 'Religious Vigilantism.' Patricia McGuire’s college may be small (she’s credited with doubling enrollment to 2,000), but it has several liberal Catholics among its alumni: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In Tom Jackman's report, McGuire sounded like a liberal Democrat, denouncing the "snarl of hatred" coming from pro-lifers:
So wrote Iovine in a Huffington Post article Friday.
In a piece cutely titled "Switching Sides Later in Life," the former Playmate of the Month and mother of four explained why so "many of [her] formerly married-with-children Girlfriends have bolted from their traditional family geometry and found true love with other women":
... Mrs. Obama's "Mom-in-Chief" image was created more by Obama image-makers David Axelrod et. al. to soften her into a first lady Americans could love. I think it is a sad state of affairs that Americans are more comfortable with a non-threatening first lady than with a career woman, but it is also a stereotype that screams to be abolished. Michelle Obama is just the person who could have done it, but she decided against it. Instead, she caved into advisors' demands.
The truth is, until that stereotype becomes history, all women will suffer less power and clout in the workplace.
On February 7, 2008, MSNBC's David Shuster claimed Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother Hillary Clinton's, presidential campaign.
Retribution quickly followed. News broke the very next day that Shuster's comments had earned him a two-week suspension. The National Organization for Women (NOW) quickly issued a statement that called on NBC to "skip the sexism and report the news." And while NOW praised NBC for its "swift and decisive action" against Shuster, the group also pointed out "a pattern at MSNBC: insult, apology, insult, apology."
Yet, just over a year later, the network and NOW are hewing to a very different standard when it comes to women on the right. MSNBC personalities refer to a Republican congresswoman as a "Mata Hari," and call a former female Republican vice-presidential nominee a "mail order bride" and characterize her as a dragon and a dog, and there's no apology and no outrage.
For conservative women, it appears the strategy at MSNBC is "insult, insult, insult."
Here’s another dispatch where one-sided ideological labeling helps underline the liberal argument that they are merely for "science," while the conservatives are all about ideology. Associated Press reporter Larry Neumeister announced: "The Food and Drug Administration let politics cloud its judgment when it denied teenage girls over-the-counter access to the Plan B morning-after pill, a federal judge said Monday as he ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication."
Neumeister did not seem to consider that making high doses of contraceptive medicines available to high-school juniors is in part a social decision about child sexual activity without parental consent. The liberals in the case were not labeled. While the AP writer made room in his story for conservatives, they were labeled repeatedly:
– "The morning-after pill is a source of tension for social conservatives who held great sway in the Bush administration and who believe the pill is tantamount to abortion."
– "The FDA said it is reviewing the judge's decision. Women's groups said it's unlikely that the Obama administration would appeal. Social conservatives decried the ruling."
– "The conservative Family Research Council said the judge's decision bowed to ideological pressure from the left."
New York Times reporter Rachel Swarns, former Johannesburg bureau chief for the Times, is now working hard on the Glorify Michelle Obama beat, pumping out four flattering pieces in the last month.
Her latest entry is a brief in Thursday's edition, "A White House Effort to Aid Women and Girls," celebrating an executive order from President Obama creating a White House Council on Women and Girls. Swarns didn't challenge the liberal myth about women being paid 78 cents for every dollar men make (in that case, why don't companies only hire women and reap the savings?).
Swarns "reporting" could have come straight off a press release:
CNN correspondent Randi Kaye gushed over the “dynamic duo” of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom she heralded as “a powerful duo -- a duo women want on their side.” The two first ladies had made a joint appearance at President Obama’s announcement of the new White House Council for Women and Girls, and Kaye’s report, which aired on Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, made it seem like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Kaye saved her most laudatory language for the two at the conclusion of her report: “Today was a good day to be a woman.”
Host Anderson Cooper introduced Kaye’s segment by labeling the two first ladies as “two of the most visible champions, perhaps, of women’s rights in the country.” A graphic accompanying Cooper on-screen proclaimed the “dynamic duo” of Obama and Clinton. During the rest of the report, another graphic applauded the “Obama-Clinton power duo.”
CMI's Matt Philbin discussed Tattoo Barbie in his latest column:
We can be sure she's not the first of her generation to mark her 50th birthday by getting tattoos. After all, the cultivation of youth-obsessed narcissism and bad taste is a Baby Boomer hallmark (see Clinton, Bill). But "Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie" is no less disturbing for being a product of her generation.
Mattel is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bubbly blonde franchise with an update - tattoos for her and her young owners. Of course, temporary tattoos have been a staple "secret toy surprise" in cereal boxes and candy for decades. But only in the ‘90s did real ink cease to be liberty souvenirs for sailors and become unisex accessories. Tattoos are now a ubiquitous sign of rebellious conformity for men, and often a statement of Tila Tequila aspirations for women.
During the 3:00PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell discovered the source of sexism in the Middle East was not Islamic fundamentalism, but rather, capitalism: "And to another big story, is oil behind sexism in the Middle East? It's a provocative new theory out there today, suggesting the real culprit of the lower status of women in the Middle East is because of the region's oil wealth."
O’Donnell then turned to Sally Quinn of the Washington, who wrote about the theory on the newspaper’s On Faith blog: "This is a hot topic, Sally. Do you believe that oil is behind sexism in the Middle East?" Quinn replied: "Well, I do think that it has a lot to do with it...when you have an oil-rich country, there's much less manufacturing, so that there are fewer jobs for women. But also because the country is so rich that women don't need to work and therefore they're comfortable and they stay home."
Later, O’Donnell concluded: "But it's a very interesting question, it's not necessarily Islam, it may be more, and you would know this better than I, as -- because of what you're doing -- it may more be the wealth of that country." Quinn replied: "Well, it is the wealth. The -- part of it, too, has to do with culture. I mean, that they come from a culture where women don't work. And so, because the oil-rich countries, all of the jobs that are involved around oil are much more male-oriented jobs."
Some of President Obama’s policies are not faring well in public opinion, but will anyone be told? On February 2, a Gallup poll found that Obama’s executive order "allowing U.S. funding for overseas family planning organizations that provide abortion" was decidedly unpopular: only 35 percent approved, while 58 percent disapproved.
You didn’t know this? You’re not alone: A Nexis survey finds none of the television networks, cable or broadcast, noticed these results, either.
The Gallup survey found overwhelming approval for other Obama policies – on higher fuel efficiency standards, on restricting lobbyists from joining his administration, on interrogating suspects according to the Army Field Manual, and on naming special envoys for Afghanistan and Pakistan – so there is plenty of good news for the administration.
For years NewsBusters has addressed the declining quality of movies currently available at theaters, and has normally pointed fingers at the amount of sex, violence, and vulgarity that has become sadly commonplace.
Another view was indirectly offered by the U.K. Guardian Sunday: Hollywood heroines have become dumber and dumber "increasingly portrayed as neurotic, idiotic and obsessed by men, weight and weddings."
As a big fan of the classics that featured Katharine Hepburn sparring with the likes of Cary Grant, James Stewart, and eventually Spencer Tracy, as well as other marvelous matchups like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, I admit to not considering how much I miss this format.
Kyra Phillips of ‘Newsroom’ and Christine Romans discuss ‘discouraging’ lack of women in Obama’s cabinet, job package that ‘favors’ men.
Liberal feminists claim that President Obama’s administration will not have enough female representation and that the job creation part of his stimulus plan will favor men.
But on CNN’s Newsroom, lack of the feminist perspective certainly wasn’t an issue Jan. 23. In fact, it was the only voice viewers heard.
Newsroom host Kyra Phillips introduced Christine Romans’ estrogen-dominated segment which included feminists complaining about Obama. Romans mentioned that six cabinet positions out of 21 have gone to women, yet liberal feminist groups like National Organization for Women (NOW) and The New Agenda were “disappointed.”
GMTA. Last night I posted an item on David Shuster's hypocrisy in branding Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston "unwed parents," pointing out that the MSM would never normally use such an un-PC term, preferring to speak reverentially of "single mothers." This morning, Ann Coulter appeared on Today to discuss her new book, Guilty, and by coincidence, an important focus of Ann's remarks was . . . the liberal media's "exaltation of single-motherhood."
I'll leave it to my fellow NewsBusters to recount the entire story of Ann's Today appearance, including the way NBC apparently scurried to have her on this morning's show after Drudge ran a story asserting that the network had imposed a lifetime ban on the conservative firebrand. For present purposes, let's focus here on the similar themes struck here and by Ann on the subject of single-motherhood.
Joy Behar knows why Rush Limbaugh is such a success on the radio: He’s too ugly for television! On the December 4 edition of "The View," the panel discussed Barbara Walters’ upcoming interview with Rush Limbaugh and his comments on Hillary Clinton and our looks obsessed culture. Behar quipped, to the audience amusement, "I think looks do matter on television. That’s why he’s on radio."
Limbaugh’s comments about Hillary Clinton, aging, and America’s visual culture drew discontent from Whoopi Goldberg who, not giving the king of talk radio any doubt, declared "he was being crappy." When Elisabeth Hasselbeck urged Whoopi to read the transcript, Goldberg claimed to listen to the king of talk radio regularly.
The transcript on Rush Limbaugh's website is not available, but ABC's Jake Tapper offered some context. Rush Limbaugh noted an unflattering picture of Senator Clinton and blamed Hollywood for a culture obsessed with physical appearance. This will subsequently harm Hillary Clinton as she grows older. Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck read the transcript and drew the same conclusion.
At first glance, it's hard to figure out who is the bigger buffoon:
Is it Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for suggesting that Arizona Governor and Obama Homeland Security Secretary-Designate Janet Napolitano is perfect for her presumptive position because she's single and can therefore "have no life"?
Or is it CNN's Campbell Brown, for criticizing Rendell's sexism and bias against employees who don't have families -- after Brown herself suggested in September that Sarah Palin shouldn't have accepted John McCain's vice-presidential nomination because of her daughter's pregnancy?
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: