Things go wrong right from the start of the New York Times' obituary for Vilma Espin, "Cuba's unofficial first lady" -- and Cuban Communist Party leader by reporter Anthony DePalma (pictured at right).
"Vilma Espin, an idealistic socialite who fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro in the mountains of Cuba and later, as Raul Castro’s wife, became a prominent advocate of women’s rightsand a powerful member of the Cuban Communist Party, died Monday in Havana." Aren't those mutually exclusive terms? How in the world can a Communist leader be a credible advocate for anyone's rights?
News people often hedge on the accuracy of the existence of God, but National Public Radio showed an ease in declaring they were in the presence of a "goddess" (no quote marks for her) on Thursday's All Things Considered newscast. The "feminine divine" in question was 9-year-old Sajani Shakya. Anchor Michele Norris proclaimed "she is a goddess, or Kumari, venerated as a deity in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal," who was visiting Washington as part of the Silverdocs film festival. NPR reporter Neda Ulaby began:
ULABY: The goddess is, frankly, a little jet-lagged. But adorned with golden saffron robes and a ceremonial third eye painted on her forehead, she's the most majestic 9-year-old this classroom of American kids has ever met.
Clay Waters of Times Watch alerted me to a new item in the Shameless Hillary Department: Ben Smith at Politico.com reports Mother Teresa's missionaries have protested Hillary's use of a photograph of her waving next to Mother Teresa in a Hillary campaign video, in which the announcer said: "Hillary in effect, was the face of America, in Africa, in India..." The picture was used as the words "in India" were narrated. Will the rest of the media follow up on this story?
The head of a politically conservative Catholic group, Fidelis, said he brought the video to the attention of Sister Nirmala, Teresa's successor at the Superior General of the India-based Missionaries of Charity. Fidelis president Joseph Cella called it "wholly inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing that Hillary Clinton shamelessly exploited Mother’s image as a political tool."
Liberals in the media continue to eat their own. Katie Couric withstood another barrage of negative attacks against her from her predecessor in the CBS anchor chair yesterday when Dan Rather denounced her for taking a "dumb it down, tart it up" approach to the news.
Rather's former boss, CBS president Les Moonves shot back today calling the disgraced former anchorman's remarks "sexist" while defending Couric as his choice:
Moonves, asked about the remarks at an appearance in New York
sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at
Syracuse University, called the remarks ''sexist'' and said he was
surprised at the amount of negative coverage Couric was receiving.
Couric, the first solo female news anchor, has been struggling in the
Chicago Tribune “public editor” Timothy McNulty claimed on Friday that he has been sensitized to a gross indignity: stories referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton as merely “Hillary.” Prodded by feminists, he claimed that this indignity deserves exploring, even as he acknowledges that Hillary uses “Hillary!” as a first-person promotional tool in her own campaign. As Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post blew it off in his online chat today: “I used to have the same concern until HRC began running for office and promoting herself as "Hillary" on her Web site, in literature, etc. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.”
The prodding feminist McNulty quotes in the piece is online Tribune editor Jane Fritsch, formerly of The New York Times, who wrote McNulty in an e-mail that "The simple fact is that Hillary Rodham Clinton is running in a field of men who are never referred to by their first names...The argument that we call her Hillary to avoid confusion is a weak one. There are easy alternatives. ... Certainly the problem created by the existence of two presidents named George Bush has been a difficult one, but we found ways to solve it without diminishing George W. Bush."
A tipster reports that the New York Daily News has a style guide on its internal computer system with a very typical liberal-media template for its reporters on how to handle abortion labeling:
Guidelines regarding stories and headlines on abortion:
1. Call those who oppose abortions abortion foes or abortion opponents or (in tight-count heads) abort foes. Avoid the phrases pro-life or pro-lifers, except in direct quotations.
2. Those who favor a woman's right to an abortion are abortion rights activists or pro-abortion rights or pro-choice. Avoid pro-abortion.
3. Also avoid the phrase "when the life of the mother is at stake." Make it "... life of the woman ..." Don't call the fetus an unborn child, and don't refer to the unborn in headlines.
4. You can use abortion clinic or abort clinic in tight-count headlines.
A common practice in the liberal mainstream media is the exaggeration of certain headlines in order to increase the "scandal factor" of a given politically correct story. This does not happen often at Fox News due to their "fair and balanced" approach. Unfortunately, it did happen in a recent headline from a non-story about one disgruntled female employee suing GE for discrimination.
Wow! 1,500 women are suing for this? Wait, look what we find out when we read deeper:
Schaefer's suit, which is seeking class-action status, seeks $500 million in damages for a class of about 1,500 to 1,700 GE women executives and lawyers, according her attorney, David Sanford of Sanford Wittels & Heisler LP.
Yes he leans left. But MSNBC host Chris Matthews was manifestly offended by the Mexican audience at the Miss Universe pageant that booed Miss USA. The Mexicans were adding insult to injury, since the lovely and gracious Rachel Smith of Tennessee had earlier slipped onto her derrière during the evening gown segment of the competititon.
Discussing the matter on this afternoon's Hardball with his panel of NBC political director Chuck Todd, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Tribune, Matthews unleashed on the Mexicans:
That's about the worst PR I can think of for this Mexican immigration bill which is mainly helping Mexicans become legal Americans. . . This young woman smiled right through it. That's class, but [the booing] wasn't very classy.
What is it about immigration though that bothers Mexicans? I mean there are 12 million here illegally. That's fairly benign, even if it is passive, policy. It's hardly predatory. What other country in the world let's 12 million come in there, live there illegally? How can you be mad at that?
The “Clueless” star and animal rights activist, Alicia Silverstone, was the guest directly following the Rosie/Elisabeth dust-up, and it looked like she snubbed Hasselbeck, or did she just make a mistake? When approaching from the token non-liberal’s side of the stage, Silverstone stepped up onto the platform with the couch to greet the hosts and instead of greeting the pregnant Republican in the brightly colored dress, the PETA activist walked right by Hasselbeck’s outstretched hands. The Republican host actually touched the actress’ arms to welcome her, but Silverstone moved past Hasselbeck and clearly greeted Behar, who was standing directly beside Hasselbeck. She then hugged all of the hosts except Hasselbeck (YouTube video here).
On the May 21 edition of "The View," co-host Rosie O’Donnell responded to the fall out from her moral equivalency rant on Thursday. Rosie claims some cable news outlets "twisted" her words, and then got personal with token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck, calling her critics the "crappy shows" that "Elisabeth watches."
"But I didn't say it. You know who said it? Those crappy cable shows said it. The ones Elisabeth watches. Those shows."
Hasselbeck harshly reacted to those comments and it prompted Rosie to personally attack her more.
HASSELBECK: I watch all cable news, number one. I watch all of the, because that's part of my job and as an American citizen I try to broaden as many concepts as possible by watching all those news programs, okay. I do, obviously, like, like certain shows. I'll throw them out if you want me to. Like "Hannity and Colmes," they're one of my favorites, because they hold debates [applause] They hold debates on that show and I think that is, that is like what we do here only, you know, we have four women. And I think it's special here. But to say that, you know, someone can't hold two thoughts at the same time just because I believe in terrorism when there are Democrats out there running for office who don’t want to believe in terrorism and they want to treat it like the boogeyman. How are they going to protect us from something--
In a failed attempt by the New York Times to provide some balance to its shoddy pro-prosecution coverage of the Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax, Sunday's Sports section featured sports reporter Pete Thamel's profile of the reinvigorated 2007 Duke lacrosse team, which that morning was on the verge of making it to lacrosse's "Final Four" (Duke advanced, winning the day's match against instate rival North Carolina).
Yet in "This Time, Spotlight Is Kinder to Duke," Thamel managed to locate ubiquitous popular culture commenter Robert Thompson to make the defensive suggestion that while the Duke players may have been innocent of rape, they may have been guilty of…being college students:
Outgoing "View" co-host Rosie O’Donnell made racist and anti-Catholic slurs during her tenure on the show. On the May 18 edition, she can now add a sexist comment to her resume. In the context of a book about a male nanny, Barbara Walters asked the co-hosts if they would like a male nanny. Rosie responded likewise.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: No, I wouldn't.
WALTERS: Not even--You would not want a male nanny?
O’DONNELL: No question about it.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Maybe not for a daughter.
O’DONNELL: Nope. Not even for a son.
Her reasoning? Rosie applied the same argument proponents of racial profiling use noting, "the vast majority of people who sexually abuse children are male." But the vast majority of men would never sexually abuse children.
For Mothers' Day, The Washington Post did the same thing it does most days: promote liberal causes. At the top of the Metro section is an article headlined "Pushing the Motherhood Cause: Group Works to Give Busy Women A Voice on Family Issues." It was also promoted on the front of Sunday's paper under the headline "Activist Mothers Unite." But a reader would have to go inside the Metro section to paragraph 11 to see the liberal cause revealed in the group, called MomsRising: "Co-founder Joan Blades also helped launch the liberal group MoveOn.org -- 'the great success story of Internet politics,' said Michael Cornfield, who wrote a book on the topic."
Reporter Donna St. George's story was surrounded with attractive color photos of mothers interacting with their toddlers, and began with the typical emphasis on the supposed nonpartisan activism that's all the rage:
Just like ads for 1-800 Flowers, you can expect stories about moms to crop up on the news just before Mother’s Day. The "CBS Evening News" -- anchored by arguably the highest-profile working mom in TV news -- weighed in with a story about the decline in the number of women in the workforce who have young children. Of course it wasn't reported as good news. (Emphasis mine throughout.)
Taking a page from the National Organization for Women (NOW), reporter Kelly Wallace included "experts" who said women had been "forced" to stay home because of the "conditions" of their jobs and stay-at-home moms “do not use (their) full talents and abilities.”
CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric is profiled in More magazine this month by Amy Wilentz in a piece called, “Katie’s Leap Year” highlighting the “challenge” of Couric’s gender in a male-dominated profession.
The challenge is so great, according to the author, that it leaves Couric, “walking a transgendered tightrope” and “It’s surprising that [Couric] doesn’t have a baritone voice or whiskers by now.”
The story begins with “significant role model” Couric speaking before a group of “hopeful young women” for National Women’s History Month, trumpets “black-and-white photographs of women who achieved milestones: Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Margaret Sanger”, and reveals Couric’s intention to be viewed, “as a relatively intelligent person who deserves to be at the helm” of the "Evening News." Yet by the end of the story, Wilentz reveals little more than three references to Couric’s legs including, "famously shapely legs", "legs crossed Indian-style" and Couric’s own, "I’m still getting my sea legs."
Outgoing "View" co-host Rosie O’Donnell announced on the May 7 edition that she has "given up fighting" and that people already know her views. Co-host Joy Behar joked "that is such a lie. You know you’ll never give up." Rosie stated she does not want to yell at Elisabeth because she’s pregnant and that may not be healthy for her unborn child.
After Barbara alluded to her self-admitted "love letter" of Rosie O’Donnell in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world, Rosie announced that she does not "really love to fight" and implied her fringe views speak for women.
"I don't really love to fight. I just -- you know, I think a woman's voice needed to be heard on network TV so I came and said my piece."
The other co-hosts seemed offended as Joy Behar joked: "What are we, transvestites?" Barbara Walters noted the nine seasons of "The View" and exclaimed: "We’ve had nine years on the air when women’s voices were heard."
ESPN's Chris Berman likes to say "no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills." He might add "or the Boston Globe." Its editorial of today, A telling admission, heaps of paeans of praise on Marilee Jones, who resigned her position as MIT Dean of Admissions after an investigation revealed that she earned none of the academic degrees she had claimed.
The Globe quickly gets out of the way its acknowledgement that "no doubt, Marilee Jones did the wrong thing." But you'd hardly know it from the rest of editorial:
"I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago," she said in a statement, "and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for my current job or at any time since." Admitting to that lack of courage means being brave enough to be oneself, even if one is short on credentials but long on potential.
She deserves credit for her straightforward apology.
This forthright admission stands in contrast to others who have denied, delayed, or justified. Last year, David Edmondson, chief executive of RadioShack, said he planned to stay in his job even after it was revealed that he had not earned two college degrees listed on his resume. Days later he resigned.
Jones has had to face her own messy truth. She has done so in a commendable way.
The Globe comes close to excusing others who tell similar lies:
Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali immigrated to the US from Holland in 2006 after her controversial views of Islam (she called it “backwards”) resulted in serious death threats and the eventual murder of a friend. An April 24 Reuters article by Alexandra Hudson (picked up by the Washington Post website) stressed the theme that the Muslim women of Holland were relieved that she left for America. It also engaged in a slick game of “blame-the-victim” and minimized the agonizing childhood violence she experienced by describing her flight from “an arranged marriage and abusive family who had her circumcised as a child.”
“Circumcised.” It may sound similar to male circumcision, but it is not. A more appropriate term is “female genital mutilation” or FGM. “Female circumcision” is what the practitioners call it. Reuters didn’t go into the details of this “circumcision,” but Hirsi Ali did in her most recent book, “Infidel.” Aussie newspaper, the Australian, excerpts the portion that describes what the local “expert,” who was likely a blacksmith, did to her with no anesthetic or disinfectant at the request of her own grandmother (emphasis mine throughout)[editor's note: graphic descriptions ahead]:
Update at bottom of post: A blogger picks apart the AP story.
Just as the ladies of "The View" discussed the previous day, "The Early Show" on April 24 harped on a study that allegedly demonstrates a pay gap between men and women. Hannah Storm kicked off the report noting "women’s rights groups have declared today equal pay day." Reporter Kelly Wallace uncritically reported a study conducting by the left leaning American Association of University Women, which supports abortion rights and affirmative action. Wallace fed this information to several unsuspecting New York University female students. Although Wallace briefly mentioned that women are more likely to enter professions with lower pay, she quickly refuted it with the liberal organization’s own study.
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.