Two figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Al Sharpton, were recently targeted with a death threat, but the media treated them very differently. An article by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that when the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown booked Hirsi Ali to speak, along with other Islamic leaders, a Johnstown Imam “tried to block" her from speaking and thinks she should be put to death. Other than the Pittsburgh article, the only news coverage of this was local. Here's a group of men who tried to prevent a woman from speaking and advocated her death, and even in a world hyper-aware of violence against women, the rest of the media ignored the situation and statements like this (emphasis mine throughout):
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.
"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.
The co-hosts on "The View" discussed the recent reports of the wage gap between men and women. Co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar wondered why that story is even news. Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted that the gap begins immediately after college despite women’s higher marks in testing.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: And did you hear in the news? They’re reporting this like it's new news, which I think is funny. There is a gender pay gap in America.
JOY BEHAR: Shocking, shocking.
O’DONNELL: Women make less than men. [slapping forehead] Zoinks!
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: You know what I didn’t realize thought was right out of college, right at the jump that women are making less than men. I think they said-
It's very natural for journalists, just like anyone else, to dismiss scandals when your friends or heroes are involved. As CBS anchor Katie Couric is embarrassed by having a ghost writer make up her childhood memories -- and plagiarize someone else's work -- CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien insists it will pass, and insists that poor Katie is often personally attacked because she dared to be a pioneering woman anchor. The New York Observer reported:
The Transom asked for Ms. O’Brien’s take on the recent scandal over at CBS, which fired producer Melissa McNamara after she plagiarized a Wall Street Journal column for one of Katie Couric’s first-person commentaries. “Well, you know, she’s a mentor of mine, so I talk to her all the time,” Ms. O’Brien said of Ms. Couric. “When I was at NBC and I didn’t have an agent, she called up her agent, and the next thing I knew, I was represented by CAA. I mean, people don’t do that. So I’ve always been incredibly grateful to her.
“I think she’s a great role model for women, because she’s made a very brave choice,” Ms. O’Brien continued. “She’s gone out and tackled something, and nobody before her—no woman—has done the evening news, and I think she has gotten a lot of barbs because of that. Some of the attacks are very personal, and because she is a woman. I’m sorry to have to admit that, but it’s true. I think she’s handled it with grace. This too shall pass, because one thing Katie Couric is, is a terrific journalist. Everybody knows that. And Brian Williams too!”
When Republican strategist Michelle Laxalt began to describe the clinical reality of partial-birth abortion on MSNBC this morning at about 10:55 AM EDT, MSNBC host Chris Jansing cut her off, saying she didn't want to get into an "emotional debate." Of course not. Better to focus on the antiseptic "right to choose" without letting the gruesome reality of the matter intrude.
In partial birth abortion, the doctor collapses the near-term baby's skull and its brains are then sucked out. Immediately after stopping Laxalt just as she was about to state that, Jansing herself said that the GOP might welcome the debate on the partial birth abortion issue "after Iraq and some of the other things that have gone on at the White House that have sort of sucked the life out of the Republican party."
On April 19, the ladies of "The View" offered their analysis of the Gonzales v. Carhart decision upholding a federal partial birth abortion ban. Most of the segment was a back and forth between Rosie O’Donnell, who clearly opposed the decision and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who supported it. Joy Behar and Barbara Walters chimed in occasionally with Behar clearly in the abortion rights camp and Barbara Walters mildly there. Video: Real (1.4 MB) or Windows (1.6 MB); plus MP3 (256 KB)
Rosie expressed horror that there are five Catholics on the Supreme Court and Catholics on the Court apparently violate the "separation of church and state"
In the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax, New York Times columnist Peter Applebome spoke out against the "socially conscious left" that was ready to convict the innocent Duke lacrosse players without evidence. Was fellow Times columnist Selena Roberts listening?
"The rape case that cost three Duke University lacrosse players a year of their lives and much more of their youth finally ended on Wednesday, when North Carolina Attorney General Roy A. Cooper said what many people have long known: all three were totally innocent of the charges against them.
For the last few weeks I have been watching two stories that, were they about Conservatives or Republicans, would have been scandals that would have shaken the rafters of the MSM. But, since these stories are about two favored Liberals, one old and one newly minted, we have seen no faux outrage, no shocked commentary, no calls for heads on pikes to be posted at the entrance to Congress, and no calls for resignations. Oh, the stories were reported all right, but all sensationalism was eschewed with the usual extrapolation to the level of a “culture of corruption” cast aside for a straight, newsy style atypical to their normal means against Republicans.
These two stories and the lack of passionate coverage of them by the MSM shows that the MSM employs as much liberal bias in what they chose not to cover as they do in what they chose to go ahead and focus upon.
Has the Imus-inspired national conversation on race and sex jumped the shark? I'm starting to suspect so after hearing Pat Schroeder this morning. Her most notable contribution to the collective dialogue was to suggest that there's something inherently masculine about verbal meanness.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Colorado was a member of a panel moderated by NBC's Lester Holt on this morning's "Today."
After sliming the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a stripper, Times sports columnist Selena Roberts returned to school on Wednesday with "A First Class Response to a Second-Class Putdown," about the Don Imus-Rutgers University women's basketball team controversy, in which the talk radio host denigrated the team by referring to them as "nappy-headed ho's." Roberts gushed about the Rutgers' players speaking truth to power:
"Of grace and dignity, without a single boob joke for ratings or a raunchy sidekick for on-air laughs, the women wearing Rutgers scarlet managed to capsize society’s power differential yesterday….But possessing the power differential means bullying someone your own size. With the ear of a national audience, Imus denigrated women who have revealed the courage to play a sport in its pure, fundamental form even though it is often branded inferior to the dunk style of men. The gals absorb enough put-downs as it is."
This marks huge hypocrisy on the part of Roberts, given that in the Duke lacrosse case, she eagerly sided with two separate bases of "power "-- an out-of-control local prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who now faces an ethics complaint from the North Carolina state bar*, as well as a politically correct college faculty and administration eager to side with what they considered an oppressed minority victim.
Instead of profiling the great Arnold Palmer or sizing up the competition on the first day of the Masters tournament, the Washington Post took the time to complain about a liberal standbye: gender discrimination.
"Augusta Chairman Averts Issue of Women" screamed the Post headline on April 5.
Writing about new Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, reporter Leonard Shapiro said, "he refused to be drawn into a discussion that marked the tenure of his predecessor."
Shapiro chose to bring up old news -- the 2003 controversy when women's groups opposed the private golf club because of its entirely male membership. One result was that the Masters was aired commercial-free that year.
Via Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog, let us reflect on the National Organization for Women issuing a report finding deeply ingrained sexism in the coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The NOW gang resents candidate profiles "that trivialize female politicians by focusing on their clothing, hair, or taste in home décor, and those that position gender as her most important characteristic, playing on gender stereotypes in order to call into question her ability to provide strong, effective leadership."
Let's take the second complaint first. Since when has NOW -- which even endorsed the hapless Carol Moseley Braun for president in the 2004 cycle when she had as much chance of being elected president as write-ins like Ryan Seacrest did -- ever failed to position gender as a woman's "most important characteristic" when deciding between liberal candidates? (We understand they would never vote for Phyllis Schlafly.)
Monika Scislowska of the Associated Press reported on Warsaw rallies in support of a complete ban on abortion in Poland. It's restricted now to the first 12 weeks and only in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. But look at the labeling contrast AP employed, the usual stereotype of the epic political battle between the ultraconservatives and the nonpartisans:
The two marches were organized by an ultraconservative Roman Catholic radio station and a right-wing political party. Mostly elderly demonstrators attended a Mass and marched through central Warsaw carrying Polish and Vatican flags. One banner had an image of a baby and the words, "Can you really kill me?"
Elsewhere in the capital, about 700 mostly young people held a rally with music and balloons in support of abortion rights.
After his comments this morning, if Don Imus ever gets invited to a party on the terrace of Katie Couric's midtown apartment overlooking Central Park, he would be well advised not to get too close to the ledge.
Chatting with Imus on MSNBC at 8:45 ET this morning about the travails of the CBS Evening News and the advent of Rick Kaplan as its executive producer, media maven Howard Kurtz observed: "I don't know if this is attributable to Rick, but it seems to me that in the last week the show has a little bit of a harder edge, a little bit of a faster pace."
That set Imus off on an anti-Couric tirade: "It's unwatchable. And it's unwatchable because she's unwatchable. I'm sure she's a nice lady, but I mean . . ."
Without a lot of breaking news out there this morning, why not pass some of today's 23 hours with an exhilirating session of one of our favorite games, WIARHSI, which as regular readers know stands for "What if a Republican Had Said It?"
Check out this paragraph from a Newsday article that reports on a Hillary campaign event in Nashua, New Hampsire:
"The former first lady, referring to New Hampshire's roster of female Democratic officials, quipped, 'I don't know about you, but I like seeing women in charge.'"
For purposes of WIARHSI, let's imagine that a Republican had made the mirror-image comment: "I don't know about you, but I like seeing men in charge." Fair to say that the feminist howls of outrage would soon be echoing from sea to shining sea? But what are the odds that Hillary's blatant appeal to sexist solidarity will cause even the smallest ripple in the MSM?
Note how Newsday tries to cover for Hillary, casting her comment as a mere "quip." Real side-splitter!
Over on radical Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" propaganda-cast, they're still recycling lectures from the big National Conference on Media Reform weeks back. On Thursday, they rebroadcast a lecture from actress Geena Davis on how children's entertainment cruelly stereotypes women, especially back in the Dark Ages of the last century. Is Judy Jetson too thin? And what's up with Smurfette? Davis started a foundation to fight for the image of women in children's entertainment, as she explained:
Do you remember the kinds of stuff that they made for us, for kids, in the oldie old days? Let’s see, the first animation, of course, was Disney's Minnie Mouse and -- where is she? I’m pushing the button -- Daisy Duck, who didn’t really do much at all, except ask to go shopping, I think. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons -- Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, George of the Jungle -- virtually no female characters. I had a vague recollection that Yogi Bear had a girlfriend, and I searched and searched, and I finally found her, Cindy Bear, as you all remember.
Did Maureen really mean to call Hillary "feral"? As in: "a domestic animal that has returned to the wild and lives without human attention"? Is there something about Hillary that brought to Dowd's mind the famed razorback from the senator's erstwhile state of Arkansas? In any case, we'll take Maureen at her word. In Where’s His Right Hook? this morning, Dowd describes Barack Obama as being "bullied" by "the feral Hillary." Yikes.
Dowd reports on a recent interview with Obama, to whom she variously refers as "Obambi" and "Barry," and lets us know she found herself, sitting across from him, feeling like the "nun [in the "Bells of St. Mary"] who teaches a schoolboy who’s being bullied how to box." So Obama brings out the protective nun in Dowd. I don't recall a woman ever mentioning that she felt like a nun in Bill Clinton's presence.
Dowd clearly has her doubts as to whether Obama has the requisite toughness as either candidate or leader:
Liberated by her firing-qua-resignation, ex-John Edwards blogger Amanda Marcotte has reverted to form: using vulgarity to insult her political opponents. On a whim I thought I'd check in at Marcotte's site, Pandagon, and wasn't surprised to find her slurring Michelle Malkin, with shots at Ann Coulter and the two leading conservative women's organizations thrown in for good measure.
Marcotte decided to respond to an inquiry from a poster she labelled a troll who had written: "does it bother you that one of the major architects of your demise was herself a strong woman, Michelle Malkin?"
That set Marcotte off on this tirade that included these gems of logic and literary flair [editing mine; unexpurgated vulgarity in the original]:
"I do want to address this false premise that someone like Malkin is a 'strong woman' Women who kow-tow to male dominance by aggressively attacking women who actually do rebel against oppression can expect to have sexist men blow this particular 'strong woman' smoke up their --- all the time. It means nothing. To the degree that these men mean it, they are mistaking a------ry for strength."
In her latest "Couric & Co." blog entry to support quotas (oops, "affirmative action") and whisper "Hillary for President" between the lines, Couric cheered Drew Gilpin Faust, the new female president of Harvard and jeered outgoing Lawrence Summers. She also mourned the loss of feminist Harriett Woods, best known to political junkies as the Democrat who almost beat Sen. John Danforth in 1982:
Harvard, the nation's first university, is NOT the first to put a woman at the head of the class. Princeton, Brown, and Penn all beat Harvard to the punch. But nationwide, less than a quarter of colleges and universities are run by women.
Harriett Woods, head of the National Women's Political Caucus, died last week. She pushed to elect women and to name them to powerful positions. Bill Clinton once called her a "bean counter." But sometimes, bean counting really counts.
CNN isn't the only media outlet reporting on the anti-religious John Edwards campaign bloggers in a painfully incomplete manner. Howard Kurtz carved out a little space deep in today's Washington Post Style section (on page C-7) for a story headlined "John Edwards Keeps Controversial Bloggers." Although bloggers on both sides are identified by labels, there's no ideological "liberal" or "feminist" label used for the Silky Pony's poison pens:
Former senator John Edwards said yesterday that while he is offended by some inflammatory remarks written by two bloggers before he hired them for his presidential campaign, he is keeping them on anyway.
How can Nancy Pelosi tell she's lost the Plane-Gate argument? When even MSNBC brands it "Air Pelosi." Check the screencap.
But Pelosi has apparently decided to go down fighting. She's now playing the gender card, and for good measure has thrown in a soupçon of Rumsfeld-phobia. MSNBC just aired a clip of Speaker Pelosi making the following remarks on the issue of her request to the Pentagon for a large plane to transport her home:
"I don't even know the numbers of the planes. So this is something that is really very strange. That the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, which I have been a constant critic of the war in Iraq, and where I understand Mr. Rumsfeld still has a desk, even though he's no longer the Secretary, has decided that they would go public about a conversation on an issue that applied to the previous Speaker. Now, as a woman, as a woman Speaker of the House, I don't want any less opportunity than male speakers have had when they have served here."
How can Katie Couric claim to keep her politics our of her work when she offers up her own editorial positions on a variety of subjects? She does so in the course of her "Katie Couric's Notebook" segments. It's true that Katie normally avoids the controversial. On January 16th, for example, she took a bold stand against procrastination. And when she did address abortion on January 22nd, she played it largely down the middle -- though pro-lifers might argue that her mention of the way the issue has sparked violence ignores the daily violence of abortion itself.
But at times Couric takes positions on hot issues of the day, such as on January 12th when she expressed the hope that the Gitmo prison "is closed down soon." On January 26th, Couric came out for "breaking our addiction to oil." Or how about this one, in which, incredibly, Couric argued in favor of congressional earmarks!
On Wednesday's The View, the morning after the State of the Union address, Barbara Walters oozed about how it was a “treat to see the first female Speaker of the House” as she hailed Nancy Pelosi with a hearty fist-raised “hooray” while Rosie O'Donnell sang “I am woman, hear me roar,” O'Donnell denounced Bush for praising the subway hero when he sends Americans “to die in Iraq,” Joy Behar charged that Bush's insistence on the surge in the face of public opposition means the U.S. is “not a democracy anymore” and that led O'Donnell to urge Bush's impeachment.
O'Donnell's chastisement of Bush for daring to pay tribute to Wesley Autrey: “I think it's interesting, too, that he wants to hail this hero in New York, who is obviously a great man, who saved a stranger's life. One man's life, worth it. But he sends 20,000 new Americans over to die in Iraq.” O'Donnell soon asserted that “someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush” so “the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this President's choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who is leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country, he does not lead as a monarch.” Behar chipped in: “Amen.” (Noel Sheppard's earlier NewsBusters item highlighted O'Donnell's call for Bush's impeachment.)
Video clip #1, of Walters and O'Donnell gushing over Pelosi (38 seconds): Real (1.1 MB) or Windows Media (1.3 MB), plus MP3 audio (200 KB)
The Washington Post published no preview story for the March for Life on Monday, despite its massive annual size. But it did have room on the front page of the Metro section to review "Macaca" and how Virginia Republicans "might" (the Post hopes) be ruined in state elections this fall for their insensitivity.
On Page B-4, the Post did have a traffic diagram with the headline "Streets to Close for Antiabortion March." The March is rebutted right underneath the diagram, listing ''ABORTION RIGHTS EVENTS." They reported Planned Parenthood will "toast the Roe vs. Wade anniversary with a benefit tonight featuring actress Kathleen Turner," and NARAL Pro-Choice America "plans a benefit Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel."
On the front page of the Metro section was a story by Macaca specialist Tim Craig headlined "Offensive GOP Words Might Speak Louder Than Va. Transit Deal." It had the typical Post thesis that social conservatives (the "far right") are destroying the Virginia GOP:
Earlier this week, I wrote about NBC’s giddy, pop-music-backed "No Man Required" segment on "choice moms," single women who choose to have babies without fathers. The primary subject of reporter Janet Shamlian’s piece was attractive businesswoman Stacy Madison: "Having spent years focused on her career, when she wasn't in love at 39, Stacy Madison went shopping at a Boston sperm bank and came home with twins." At story’s end, Madison rebutted Dan Quayle’s "Murphy Brown" speech this way: "I would have loved to have started a family the traditional way, met somebody, fallen in love, been younger. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen that way."
Guess what? "Never in love" Stacy was married for five years and decided to be a mother after the divorce. Which means NBC lied by omission. Wouldn’t anyone see this story as presenting a never-married 39-year-old? Or when a woman says she wishes she had "met somebody" and "fallen in love," does NBC think it’s perfectly clear that you’ve been around the marriage merry-go-round? I regret not Googling the name right away, which quickly revealed NBC’s dishonesty. The first article came from a 2004 article in Jewish Woman magazine. I was stunned to read:
As already noted on NewsBusters, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer conducted a fawning interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on such issues as Iraq. However, the ABC journalist also opened and closed the segment by obsessing over how Pelosi picked up lint from the floor of the Capitol Rotunda. For many people, this would be a minor detail. Sawyer, however, saw it as a historic event and teased her colleagues about it prior to the interview:
Diane Sawyer: I’m going to tell you what she did, I’m willing to bet, no Speaker of the House has ever done in the entire history of the United States of America. You want to guess? Sam? David? Robin?"
Later on, Sawyer giddily recounted the exciting event:
Diane Sawyer: "We're walking along with the camera, she looks at the carpet. It has lint on it, little scraps of paper. She can't stand it. She gets down and cleans the carpet so we could walk. And she looks up at me and says, ‘It’s just the bonus of having a female Speaker of the House."
Robin Roberts: "Yeah. Don’t think any of the guys did that. All right, Diane. Have a safe trip back home"
ABC News is trying to assure us that young girls who have a "fascination with itsy-bitsy clothing, misogynistic hip hop music and porn star-esque celebrities " is just behavior that "isn't cause for alarm".
Wearing short-shorts and belly shirts, grinding to hip-hop hits, and posting provocative pictures of themselves on the Internet — the behavior of many teen and tween girls has parents wondering if their daughters are bound for a lifetime of promiscuity and loose morals.
On Wednesday, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with all 16 female members of the Senate. The January 17 interview, broken up into two segments, ranged from silly questions, such as whether more women leaders could result in less war, to queries about whether America is too prejudiced to accept a female president. One question that did go unasked is whether Senator Barbara Boxer, who didn’t appear on camera, should apologize for her recent insinuation that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is oblivious to the effects of war because she doesn’t have children. One would think that in a group of professional women this would be an important topic. Apparently not. Sawyer began by asking the assembled ladies whether or not more women presidents would lead to peace:
Sawyer: "Do you believe that if there were more women presidents in the world, there would be less war? How sure are you that there would be less war? Do you think, actually, war would be--"
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.