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:
Imagine the outrage in feminist circles if a conservative columnist had mockingly analogized a sitting Dem governor to an animal. But Richard Cohen has said as much of Sarah Palin. And I predict you won't hear a peep from the Kim Gandys or Naomi Wolffs of the world—much less from their allies in the MSM.
Cohen begins his WaPo column of today by dismissing Palin as "a sitcom of a vice presidential choice and a disaster movie if she moves up to the presidency." After noting Newt's defense of her nomination, Cohen continues [emphasis added]:
It's a pity Gingrich was not around when the Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known by his nickname Caligula, reputedly named Incitatus as a consul and a priest. Incitatus was his horse.
You might have thought Bill Weir would have learned. Yesterday, CNN's John Roberts was roundly condemned for suggesting Sarah Palin might neglect her Down Syndrome baby while running for VP. But Weir, the weekend co-anchor of Good Morning America, posed a very similar question this morning. Coke Roberts, to her credit, called him out on it. Weir's guest during GMA's opening half-hour was McCain political director Mike Duhaime.
BILL WEIR: I must ask. Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the senator and the governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?
MIKE DUHAIME: In terms of her personal life? You know, to the extent people want to look at her, she's got an incredible life story: five children, the son going into the military, she's got a --
Weir brusquely interrupted, virtually shouting.
WEIR: She has an, she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?
CNN frequent contributor and Huffington Post's political director Hilary Rosen slammed John McCain's vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin as being unqualified on Friday's Newsroom program and accused the Republicans pandering to women, especially Hillary Clinton supporters: "Senator McCain obviously thinks this is going to go a long way to help those women who are attracted to Hillary Clinton. I think if you were attracted to Hillary Clinton, in many ways, it was because she's a qualified woman" (Rosen put emphasis on "qualified" by practically yelling the word). She later accused the GOP of trying to "change skirts and put it on another woman, and have it be an acceptable thing" (audio available here).
Barack Obama is planning to announce his VP pick via text message to his supporters. So in the spirit of the times, let's text message something to Sen. Obama:
Brck: b fraid. b vry fraid. hlry stl h8s u.
That's what we glean from Hillary's startling statement in Florida today. Chris Matthews aired it at the top of tonight's Hardball:
HILLARY CLINTON: I am doing everything I can to campaign for Senator Obama. I think it's fair to say that I have done more, as Senator Rich said, in a relatively short period of time, on behalf of my opponent, than probably anyone else has.
So not only is she bragging on her own accomplishments. Hillary's still calling Obama . . . "my opponent." The point was not lost on Matthews.
Celebrity advisors/surrogates--like George Clooney--are a point of pride for Democrats. They like the "cool" factor these celebrities bring to their campaigns. Though their fame brings increased attention and makes their candidates chic, celebrity also elevates people with no other identifiable skills. What, exactly, does Clooney bring to Obama's team of 300 foreign policy advisors(?), for instance.
Oh well, at least Republicans don't have to deal with Roseanne Barr. Calling herself "fat old crackpotgranny," Barr blogs every day. Multiple times a day. About everything. A small sampling should suffice:
If Barack Obama is looking for an elder statesman with national security credentials as his running mate, my two cents say he should pick Sam Nunn. The conventional wisdom, though, has Obama leaning toward Joe Biden. If the senior senator from Delaware is indeed tapped, we can expect that mere milliseconds will elapse before some MSM outlet labels Biden a "moderate" or a "centrist."
We thought it might be useful to do a little prophylactic exploration of the Biden record. Given his long tenure in the Senate, he's earned literally hundreds of interest-group ratings over the years. But here is a representative sample, as culled from the invaluable Project Vote Smart. Although his "grades" have of course varied from year to year, overall we find—surprise!—that Biden is a garden-variety liberal.
A newly formed conglomeration of thirty women calling themselves The New Agenda (TNA) have convened to "pool (their) talents and leverage already established 'riends of the family' organizations to launch a grass roots and grass tops effort to register women voters, organize a national 'get out the vote' effort around women's issues," so says Amy Siskind, a member speaking for the new gaggle.
But that's not all they intend to do. They want to rid the world of misogynistic males, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews is first on their hit parade.
It's a bit early for politicians to be creating distance between themselves and their party's presidential candidate, is it not?
Whether it's because of a (cough, cough) "clerical error" or an exercise in political self-defense, Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu has done that.
But in a report early this afternoon, Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte was curiously incurious (saved at host for future reference) as to why Landrieu might be concerned about being tied too closely to the Illinois senator. Instead, Deslatte turned her report into an exercise in charge-trading between the incumbent and her Republican challenger, the deliciously named John Kennedy:
Couric uses "Sex and the City" as a way to handle the alleged sexism she frequently faces, at least her 12-year old daughter’s take on "Sex and the City." Appearing on the July 30 edition of "The View" to promote awareness for cancer research, Couric first took questions about her career and recent allegations of sexism in the media and politics. When Joy Behar asked how she deals with such negative press, Couric, who likes to quote her daughter’s wisdom, did so again. [MP3 audio clip available here]
"But Carrie once said when I was kind of bummed out about something that somebody had written that was really nasty and had nothing to do with sort of, my abilities or my journalistic capabilities. She said ‘mom, remember what Samantha said in "Sex and the City"? "If I listen to what every bitch in New York City said about me, I’d never leave the house."’ [laughter and applause] And I said ‘Carrie, you’re not watching "Sex and the City" are you?’ She sometimes watches with Ellie and Ellie covers her eyes and closes her ears in the inappropriate parts."
From the start, Barbara Walters asked Couric about her recent cries against sexism in the Democratic primary. Couric first explained that her comments to an Israeli newspaper were lost in translation. In words very similar to Gloria Steinem’s, Couric opined that "in our culture, sexism is more socially acceptable [than racism]."
Rush Limbaugh likes to joke that he has "half my brain tied behind my back, just to keep it fair." But there's no sign Michelle Obama [file photo] was anything but serious when she said something similar in a current People magazine interview, h/t Michelle Malkin. Mrs. Obama claimed she could be "very competent" on policy putting in only a 70% effort.
Throw in a few more statements from Mrs. Obama during the interview attesting to her own intellect, and a picture emerges of a woman either very sure--or insecure--about her smarts.
The Washington Examiner’s Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin reported Monday in their regular "Yeas & Nays" feature that Katie Couric had announced with pride, "I am a feminist." The ultra-liberal National Organization for Women honored Couric at their annual Intrepid Awards Gala last week in Washington, DC, and the CBS Evening News anchor received a warm welcome from her feminist compatriots.
During her speech before the NOW Gang, Couric "opened up," as Dufour and Gavin put it. She quipped to her hosts that "[i]f everyone in the country was like you, CBS News would be number one." Yes, perhaps if everyone were liberal feminist Democrats, then maybe Couric’s program wouldn’t be dead last in the ratings.
Now, this isn’t exactly a surprising "full disclosure" by Couric. When she was still on the Today Show in 1997, guest Whoopi Goldberg outed Couric’s "pro-choice" position on abortion when the comedienne revealed the two had attended a "pro-choice" march together. In October 2006, after the father of a victim of the Columbine shootings declared his pro-life position in a "freeSpeech" segment on CBS Evening News, Couric wrote on her blog that his view might be seen as "repugnant."
Exploring the notion that some Anglican parishes could soon return to full communion with Rome in protest of the Church of England allowing ordination of female bishops, Time magazine writers David Van Biema and Jeff Israely felt it necessary to throw in some loaded language about how English conservative Anglicans are different than their American Episcopal cousins:
Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope's possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.
But wait, if conservative Anglicans across the Pond are about to bolt their church because the Bible forbids female bishops, how is that any less "Bible-thumping" than conservative Episcopals in the United States leaving the church because of openly homosexual bishops, a practice that also runs afoul of Scripture?