Since we’ve touched on the topic of the media celebrating women’s "independence" from men, there’s also this. On Monday’s Today, in the 8:00 am hour, NBC aired a story and a debate segment on a hot trend of mothers who choose to have fatherless children, "no man required." But this wasn’t merely a news story, but a cheerleading report, complete with supportive music bubbling underneath (including "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves," the 1980s feminist pop song by the Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin.) When they allowed a few seconds of dissent, all the music stopped. In the debate segment, co-host Meredith Vieira’s questions were fairly tough, but the feminist guest walked all over the defender of fatherhood with strange arguments: "I think selfish gets a bad rap. Every parent, to be a good parent, has to be selfish."
Vieira began: "In the old days, women who had children out of wedlock were few and far between. But now a record number of single women are having children on their own, no man required. More now from NBC’s Janet Shamlian."
Particularly when you consider the ramifications for millions of children growing up without a two-parent family, the news that 51% of women in America now live without a spouse [up from 35% in 1950] is serious indeed. But the decline of the basic building block of society was nothing but a laughing matter for the boys of the Early Show.
Rather than seeing any cause for concern, CBS displayed the graphic seen here blithely informing viewers: "No Husband Needed."
As Russ Mitchell threw the story to Harry Smith, he mirthfully proclaimed:
"So Harry, now there's now statistical data for what we always knew: they really don't need us, do they?"
As NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston has noted, Sen. Barbara Boxer took an unseemly jab at Condi Rice yesterday.
Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.
In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
The blog "Couric & Co." at CBSNews.com has transformed from mostly Katie to mostly other CBS personnel in the last few weeks. On Monday, Couric writer (and former CNN anchor) Mary Alice Williams recounted how the ascent of Nancy Pelosi was a "very big deal" and went a little overboard about how much better women were:
The picture alone demonstrated what a difference her leadership will make. Instead of a lone male gaveling Congress into session, here was a female surrounded by children. Women, in ways far different from men, represent families.
Williams wrote that her 16-year-old daughter Alice was there to witness history, courtesy of her congressman (no name or party affiliation attached). She also made it seem likely that she's the one who wrote for Couric that it's taken too long: "In helping women gain true equality in every aspect of life, Susan B. Anthony always said 'failure is impossible.' Today the only quibble she might have is that it took so long."
Rather than the "liberal bias" rubric, file this one under "coarsening of the culture." We had a dubious first this morning: a network news host informing the world that one of her guests had just experienced a hot flash.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman was Meredith Vieira's guest for purposes of discussing the good news that scientists have discovered a way to extract stem cells from amniotic fluid and placentas, a breakthrough that could render moot the embryonic stem cell controversy.
But at the end of the interview, in promoting an upcoming segment devoted to menopause, Vieira "outed" Snyderman in these terms:
"You'll be back for our menopause series. And Nancy was actually fanning herself earlier. She had a hot flash. She knows what she's talking about."
The AP isn't the only one going ga-ga over the ascension of Nancy Pelosi to become the "first Female Speaker of the House". We are seeing the fawning on just about every news outlet out there. And it is, indeed, quite an historic change from the long line of gentlemen that have taken the Speaker's gavel.
One of the more interesting double standards in the media and politics is how folks on the left are allowed to make sexist remarks – or, in the case of a former president, exhibit obviously sexist behavior – with total impunity. Yet, the same actions by someone on the right will be met with so much scorn as to threaten the individual’s career.
A fine example of this occurred on Tuesday’s “Hardball” when host Chris Matthews made some extraordinarily sexist comments to former Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. So as not to offend anyone, the partial transcript of this exchange follows in the “Read More” section. Furthermore, the must-see video is available here:
Expect a pile of new-Congress stories extolling the historic highs for the number of women in Congress as part of the welcome wagon for Speaker Pelosi. I found one early indicator in a Nexis search, a public-radio show called "Weekend America," distributed on about 80 NPR stations via American Public Media. A report by correspondent Jill Morrison said the new high for women in the House (87 out of 435) is still a "small minority." That would seem to betray the feminist view that at least half of Congress should be female, if it were truly representative of America.
The females-are-superior-humans angle emerged. Democratic congresswomen-elect in the Morrison piece explained how "women tend to be a better part of the process" (Gabrielle Giffords) and "we get so much done because we make lists" and we'll get more government-mandated health care because "women are going to be less inclined to look at the politics of it and just say, you know, I need health care for my family." (Nancy Boyda)
Tuesday’s Post carried a strangely typical story on polygamy today in the bottom right-hand corner of the front page. The headline was "Polygamists Fight to Be Seen As Part of Mainstream Society." Reporter John Pomfret’s story did not offer both sides of the polygamy debate. It aired quite a bit of assertion from polygamy practitioners in Utah, matched only by local law enforcement officials that have largely accepted the practice, prosecuting only crimes around the edges, like sex with child brides. The story features no outraged feminists at the patriarchy in these relationships. There are no religious authorities or academics to take exception to it, or even non-religious critics like Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online. In short, it’s a thinly disguised testimonial packet.
Compare this article to the front-page story Alan Cooperman and Peter Whoriskey wrote last week on the churches maintaining their teachings on homosexuality as a sin, headlined "3 Christian Groups Move to Condemn Gay Sex." That story was much more balanced, with religious traditionalists debating advocates of a Jesus of "radical hospitality" toward gays. Pomfret seems devoted to chronicling the inevitable acceptance of this new trend encroaching on traditional monogamous matrimony:
For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
In Monday's Media Notes column in the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz found the media are attracted to polls like crack cocaine, and they've "grown addicted to the GOP-in-trouble narrative." Kurtz says it isn't about liberal bias, but the desire for a change in story line. Riiight. Journalists confirm that Democrats have been boasting of a takeover:
"If you mention something enough times, you make it seem as if it must be so," says NBC's Williams. But, he says, "if the media are guilty of beating the Democratic House takeover drums, the media share that guilt with prominent Democrats, who in on- and off-the-record settings have indeed been all but measuring the drapes."
A friend pointed out to me Julia Duin's report in Thursday's Washington Times on the Saturday consecration of Episcopalian presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at Washington's grand National Cathedral, and wonders how Katie Couric and the others who disdain orthodox religion will greet her formal acceptance. Duin brings a more traditional understanding of religion in her article:
Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer who still pilots her own plane, will be consecrated the world's first female presiding bishop Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral. Since her election June 18 at the Episcopal General Convention in Ohio, an unprecedented seven Episcopal dioceses have declared that they will not accept her leadership because she allowed same-sex blessings during her 2001-06 tenure as bishop of Nevada. Her 2003 vote in favor of V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop, and her statement that "our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation" in a sermon three days after her election, elicited protest as well. But that expression "was thoroughly orthodox," she said in an interview Tuesday. "I was surprised at the reaction. I was simply using an image that seemed most appropriate to the text."
Katie Couric is trying to talk past her program being stuck in third place (see Monday's chat with Peter Johnson in USA Today), but she really let the fangs show a bit in her interview for the November issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. When asked about published rumors of feuding with Matt Lauer and "high-handed" diva treatment of her staff, Couric grew angry, and sounded a lot like Hillary Clinton:
"I think there are a lot of angry, frustrated people, and I think that sometimes they happen to be writers," she says. "Our society still has a difficult time accepting strong powerful women and not typecasting them as evil, power-hungrylunatics." So, she has decided, "I’m going to be on a blackout for the first few months." Bad press, she says, "can suck your spirit dry."
So much for sisterhood. Broadcasting & Cable reported Monday that female correspondents aren’t getting as much work on the CBS Evening News since Katie Couric became the anchor six weeks ago (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout): “[S]ince Couric’s arrival, women have received 40% fewer assignments than they did under herpredecessor, Bob Schieffer. Men, meanwhile, have seen no cutback in their workload.”
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."
Never play poker against Claire Shipman. Anyone who can keep a straight face while claiming that 'Women's Voices. Women Vote' is "non-partisan" could surely bluff you out of a pot while sitting on a busted flush.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Shipman [or shall we call her 'DC Slim'?] narrated a segment spotlighting WVWV's efforts to get single women voters to the polls. Since it is obvious that single women lean heavily Dem, voting for Democrats by a more than 2/3 margin as Dem pollster Celinda Lake acknowledged, my BS-detector started screeching when I saw a straight-faced Shipman slip in her claim that WVWB is "non-partisan."
One of the real challenges in following the liberal protests of disgust at the Mark Foley scandal is their ever-changing yardstick of morality. Take Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, whose nationally syndicated dose of feminism seems to wander based on whose ox is gored. Goodman sounds like every other Democrat in suddenly discovering the sheer power of a sex scandal, something she must have decried in the Clinton years:
This scandal is what has registered on the political Richter scale. This is what voters are asking their representatives about. The late political scientist James David Barber once said that nobody understands the word "deficit,'' but everyone understands the word "adultery.'' Maybe nobody knows what to think about solving the problem of Iraq, but they know what to think about the Florida congressman instant-messaging a teenage page: "how's my favorite young stud doing?''
Rejection is painful. Spurned suitors often-if-contradictorily condemn the very object of their affection, while reserving a good measure of bile for their successful rivals. Democrats have suffered lots of unrequited political desire in recent years, and the strain is really starting to show. We all know about Bush Derangement Syndrome. Yesterday I described a new strain, Gas Price Derangement Syndrome, and mentioned an even more insidious disease afflicting many on the left - Controlled Demolition Dementia.
Today comes more evidence of the left's painful struggle to deal with its diminished standing and repeated rejection at the polls. In the subscription-required Why Voters Like Values, Times columnist Judith Warner claims that "the Christian right's ability to stir voter passions is based not on values, but on psychology." Warner describes having bravely gone inside the belly of the conservative beast, recently attending a Values Voters Summit in DC, and declaring it "imbued with so much intolerance and hate." This is presumably in contrast with liberal love-ins at Daily Kos, Moveon, etc., where Bush & Co. are regularly depicted as liars, murderers, Hitlers, etc. For that matter, Warner herself doesn't adumbrate many shades of gray in painting those on the right as filled with hatred.
Linda Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers the United States Supreme Court for the New York Times. As we all know, the New York Times, along with the rest of the mainstream press, is adamant about their commitment to unbiased journalism. Reporters don't have opinions, at least not opinions that impact their journalism. It's nonsense, of course, but nonsense that's maintained by the likes of the Times.
Well, Linda Greenhouse, in a recent speech at her alma mater, Radcliffe, expressed some opinions. And if she really feels this way, there's absolutely no way that it could possibly not color her reporting. What she chooses to highlight, the way she expresses things, what she covers or doesn't cover, what she thinks is news and what isn't - that's all determined by her worldview.
Back when I was in college, I was involved in journalism in various capacities, in the classroom and at student newspapers. I couldn't help but notice in each place I went, women far outnumbered men. The Star-Tribune of Minnesota has picked up on a similar trend in the television industry. Men seem to be disappearing:
In TV news these days, a good man is hard to find.
networks, men still rule -- Katie Couric notwithstanding -- but at the
local level, women have taken the lead. Nationally, they account for 57
percent of TV news anchors. [...]
The male disappearing act
starts in the classroom. At the University of Minnesota this fall,
women outnumber men 227 to 125 in the professional journalism major,
which includes broadcasting. Ken Stone, a broadcast journalism
professor who spent 20 years working in radio and TV news, has 10 women
and six men in his advanced reporting class; he said that's as balanced
as it gets.
Stone traces the trend to the 1970s, when women and
minorities protested about domination of the airwaves by white men. One
of his first journalism professors asked the men in his class to stand
up, then told them, "Get a new career, there are too many of you." [...]
Washington Post "staff writer" Sally Quinn -- better known as the wife of the retired longtime WashPost Executive Editor Ben Bradlee -- lamented on the front of Tuesday's Style section that Katie Couric is battling sexism in the media culture: "The buzz about Katie Couric has an oddly familiar ring to me. And to Barbara Walters, Connie Chung, Lynn Sherr and Judy Woodruff -- all of us women who have sat in a news anchor chair." It doesn't seem to matter that Couric makes more money and drew way more promotion from the CBS brass. She's still oppressed somehow.
What followed was a chorus of laments from these pioneering TV news women that nothing has changed in 30 years. Some of these laments suffer when compared to the facts. For example, Quinn wrote:
Call me self-interested, but it seems to me that there is a definite
anti-male bias in much of the media. Commercials, sitcoms, and cinema
often mock dopey, arrogant male figures while lauding spunky women who
can do anything a man can.
This attitude (which got so bad it prompted a book The War Against Boys)
also extends to news coverage. Usually the bias consists of
cheerleading for girls and women, often to the exclusion of men.
Ironically, it's not just female reporters who exhibit such behavior as
ABC reporter John Berman demonstrated on Wednesday's "World News."
His report on this year's SAT scores (available in video or a less-biased text version) ignored many key aspects of the high school test and focused more on how girls did better in a new essay portion than boys.
What does Maureen Dowd want? Her column of today is the latest evidence of a woman torn between the imperatives of modern feminism and a not-so-secret longing for more traditional domestic arrangements.
The topic of Ring-a-Ding-Bling [subscription required] is marriages in which the husband plays a decided second fiddle to the wife. You might think that Dowd-the-feminist would celebrate marriages in which women play the leading role. But, with one notable exception, she expresses little but scorn for husbands whose wives have the upper hand.
Mo's Exhibit A is the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline couple. Dowd begins by professing that "to make fun of Mr. Spears [would be] too easy — shooting tuna fish in a can, as they say." By referring to Federline as "Mr. Spears" Mo has of course mocked him already. Then, utterly ignoring her own precept, she proceeds to ruthlessly ridicule him, describing his recent attempt at rap music as "even more deliciously atrocious than anticipated," also letting us know that "the hip-hop community reacted with amused disdain."
If I ever knew that Chris Matthews' brother Jim Matthews is the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, I had forgotten. Chris manifestly has not, and on this evening's Hardball peevishly berated a Republican guest who had the temerity to remind him of that fact.
After interviewing Dem Congressman Jack Murtha, Matthews had Murtha's Republican challenger Diana Irey on as a guest. Before getting into substance, Matthews testily alluded to the fact that Irey's campaign manager had sent Matthews a press release with proposed questions for Murtha. First on the list:
"How hard is it for you knowing that Jim Matthews just appeared two days ago with your opponent Diana Irey to cut the ribbon at her volunteer HQ in your hometown of Johnstown?"
You've all seen the TV commercial. A chubby woman has dragged a TV onto her front lawn and is watching the game with two girlfriends, when her dutiful husband comes home, schlepping grocery bags. One of the girlfriends suggests they order in pizza, but the chubby woman actually calls her husband in the house, tricking her friends into thinking she's calling a pizza place. She haughtily orders her husband to 'make it the way I like it,' and adds 'make it snappy - chop, chop!'
You've never actually seen this commercial, of course. The dictates of political correctness would never permit it. But just such an ad for DiGiorno pizza did indeed air today [during the 4 PM EDT edition of the Tucker Carlson show on MSNBC] - the difference naturally being that it was a plump idiot of a husband acting like a complete jerk toward his wife.
Traditionally, the networks have loved a slow, strict, statist bent at the Food and Drug Administration. In the 1990s, they warned that the FDA might be too lax on the threat of milk and hailed FDA head David Kessler for seizing crates of dangerous orange juice. But when it comes to sex and abortion, all the rules change. Suddenly, the networks go libertarian.
NBC's Tom Brokaw once called Newt Gingrich's criticism of the FDA "very ominous." (Scroll up from the orange juice Newsbite, and you'll see.) But when Hillary Clinton's the corporation-loving deregulator, then NBC has a different view. The topic was "Plan B," the abortifacient pill. Social conservatives hope to at least keep the drug from being easily available to minors without parental permission. On Tuesday's Today, substitute news anchor David Gregory implied delay was anti-woman: "After years of delay, women may soon be able to get the morning-after pill without a prescription. The FDA indicates it may be open to the idea, but with restrictions."
Ms. Magazine is inviting girls and women who’ve had abortions to submit their names for publication, to sign a pro-abortion petition to the president that the magazine will deliver and – of course – to donate money to the publisher’s pro-abortion advocacy campaign. If that’s not media bias, what is?
The magazine’s promotion celebrates 33 years of abortions since Ms. Magazine first printed a petition in which “53 well-known U.S. women declared that they had undergone abortions—despite state laws rendering the procedure illegal.”
Social liberalism goes on parade in several articles in the Sunday WashPost. In Metro, religion reporter Michelle Boorstein focuses on plans to "ordain" Catholic "womenpriests" in Pittsburgh, including local woman Bridget Mary Meehan. The headline is "Reclaiming the Female Spirit in the Priesthood." Boorstein's article does offer some balancing comments from conservative Catholic bloggers, but it's sad that Boorstein stoops to publishing Nazi comparisons to end the piece. Patricia Fresen, who will preside over the fake ordinations, said she grew up in apartheid-era South Africa, and "If you think of Nazi times, people said they just did what they were told. If you can't get it changed, you must break it."
Can you imagine the Today show or other MSM program airing a segment offering advice to men on how to train their wives to display better behavior . . . by treating them like zoo animals? A segment illustrated with footage of hyenas, baboons and other members of the wild kingdom undergoing training? Don't bother to answer.
Yet, incredibly, that's just what the Today show did this morning. Oh, with one small difference. It was a how-to . . . for wives who want to train their husbands.
'Today' introduced the segment this way: "One woman discovered she could train her husband the way they train animals at the zoo.Does your husband act like a sea lion, or a baboon, or a hyena?"
Near the top of the New York Times "Most E-Mailed List" for weeks now is Amy Sutherland's article about how she learned to train her husband by studying the training of exotic animals. The illustration is especially insulting (watch hubby jump through a hoop for a pretzel!) But I'm guessing that at least half the e-mailers are husbands. Sutherland recommends that you praise husbands for even the mildest good behavior, and avoid nagging about all the little bad things. That sounds good. I still don't think the New York Times would run a story with a whimsical illustration of a wife jumping through hoops for a pretzel....