Jon Stewart is finally flaunting some of that "sanity" we've heard so much about. On his show Wednesday night, he had a simple message for the legions of journalists obsessed with Sarah Palin's children: "Who gives a sh*t?"
"Kids are off limits," Stewart added. "In fact, we should all go out of our way to treat her children with kid gloves and respect to show that we don't judge individuals and mock them purely based on who their parents are."
"Stop making me feel sympathy for the Palins!" he begged - hysterically, I might add. "Stop it!" (Video below the break - h/t Charlie Spiering)
Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes displayed her typical snark in reviewing Bristol Palin's "journey" on ABC's Dancing with the Stars this fall. The Post writer even sounded a little overwrought in asserting that Sarah Palin's appearances were causing death wishes in the audience, or as de Moraes put it "death where is thy sting-ish comments." (The writer seems to be mangling the Scriptures. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 55, the boast "Death, where is thy sting?" refers to the victorious resurrection of Christ, not to a death wish.)
This is not the first time politics has insinuated itself into the show like a snake into the Garden of Eden...But this is the first time the show has featured the daughter of a presumed presidential candidate -- seen wearing a Tea Party T-shirt on the show during rehearsal last week that clearly read: "Party Like It's 1773 with Rainy Day Patriots" -- the same week producers pixilated whatever was going on on the front of Kyle Massey's T-shirt. It's also the first time a presumed presidential candidate has been seen in the audience many weeks rooting for her daughter, in taped sequences at home, being interviewed by show host Tom Bergeron, watching her daughter rehearse, congratulating the show on reaching its 200th episode, etc., eliciting death where is thy sting-ish comments from ardent fans of the escapist fare.
With all the hype about Keith Olbermann's brief suspension and his triumphant return to MSNBC Tuesday, one would have expected his ratings to explode as first-time viewers tuned in to see what all the fuss was about.
When the dust settled, the "Countdown" host's total viewers rose 35 percent from last Thursday's show before the controversy began, but most embarrassingly, Rachel Maddow actually bested the most conceited man on television in the all important 25-54 year-old demographic (via Steve Krakauer):
There is a fine line between tasteful political comedy and crossing-the-line crudeness, and the Huffington Post’s new song “My Girl's A Republican” just leaped over that line. With lyrics such as “Dick Nixon sucking lips” and “she made her oil money last, and now I’m tapping it,” even the most liberal among us could agree that the attack on Republican women is downright revolting.
Hailed as an “ode to right-wing ladies,” the three and a half minute song and video by Rap duo “It’s The Real” (and proudly displayed on the Huffington Post Web site) does nothing but smear conservative women like Christine O’Donnell, Michele Bachmann, and of course, Sarah Palin. The HuffPo write up on the “tribute to conservative women” song claims “it does a pretty solid job of both mocking and admiring right-wing conservatives.”
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, liberal commentator Nancy Giles of CBS Sunday Morning declared that she was "tired" of Bristol Palin and asserted that "she makes me ill."
After host Behar brought up Palin during a discussion of the television show Dancing with the Stars, Giles sighed and responded: "Can I just, can my comment be rolling my eyes and heavy exhaling? I just am so tired of her. I’m tired of her getting these breaks. I’m tired of her making money and leaving her baby at home. I’m tired of her maybe getting 30 grand to speak about abstinence. Excuse me? I’m tired of her."
After Behar challenged Giles’s suggestion that Palin was neglecting her baby, the liberal commentator continued: "I know, Joy, I do believe that, but I’m so, she makes me ill, so all bets are off."
Giles eventually admitted to sounding sexist after actress Eve Plumb complained that men are never asked about whether they are neglecting their children, with the liberal commentator conceding: "I know it’s not fair. I sound like I’m sexist."
Gee, I wonder which "cable news show" Joe had in mind . . .
In a seeming shot at Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough has predicted that "certain cable news shows" will stir up a "fake controversy" tonight over whether Sarah Palin was booed on Dancing With The Stars [she wasn't].
Here's the background: Bristol Palin performed on DWTS last night, and Sarah was there in the front row to support her. Jennifer Grey [of Dirty Dancing fame] also competed last night. Her backers in the audience began to boo when her scores, which they judged to be too low, were announced. That happened just before the show cut to an interview with Sarah Palin. Some have tried to suggest that the audience was booing Palin. But the crowd in fact cheered when Sarah appeared, and as Willie Geist said "my staff and I have studied the tape. They were not booing [Palin]."
ABC News has changed the headline of an online video to "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Argument" from the more inappropriately suggestive "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Stance," but that doesn't mean the network has grown up about the sex-related beliefs of conservative candidates.
ABC posted video on its news website Sept. 16 from a monologue by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosts a late night show on its network. The network's social networking team also publicized the link via Twitter using the "masturbation stance" pun. The headline on the video has since been changed, but the Twitter message remains active.
"Nobody knows what this woman does for a living, if anything," Kimmel said. "All we do know is that she's gone on the record to oppose masturbation, for real." He referred to a 1996 documentary that aired on MTV in which O'Donnell made a Biblical argument against self-pleasure based on Jesus's exhortation that lust in the heart is the same as adultery.
In a slam on another prominent conservative's family, Kimmel joked that, "I have a feeling Christine O'Donnell opposes masturbation in the same way Bristol Palin opposes premarital sex." Bristol Palin, of course, had a baby out of wedlock and now publicly advocates abstinence before marriage.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos interviewed media darling and nominal Republican Meghan McCain on Tuesday's Good Morning America and devoted the bulk of the segment to her love-hate relationship with Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol. Stephanopoulos devoted so much time to the Palin issue that McCain interjected, "For the record, my book is not just about Sarah and Bristol."
The anchor gushingly endorsed the McCain daughter's new book, "Dirty Sexy Politics," at the beginning of the interview, which aired 42 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour: "It is savvy, it is saucy, and it's just what you'd expect from the first daughter of a presidential candidate ever fired by her father's campaign." He then labeled his guest a "fun writer" and first asked about her "firing," in which she actually sent away from the main stops of her father's presidential campaign and did a bus tour in the battleground state of Ohio.
That's odd, those describing themselves as pro-choice usually aren't this candid when it comes to abortion.
On her MSNBC show Thursday night, Rachel Maddow spoke with Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell about Republican Senate candidates Rand Paul, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck opposing abortion, including for pregnancies conceived through rape or incest.
Harris-Lacewell said this in response to a question from Maddow --
The "Spirited Atheist" of The Washington Post, Susan Jacoby, predictably trashed Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston as not only "poster children for the dumbing down of America" and as "most middle-class American parents' worst nightmare," but proof of what happens when religious people show off their contempt for book learning:
Although the children of politicians are generally off-limits, Bristol is an exception for two reasons. First, she has made herself into a public figure not only by sharing her personal life with the world but by her loopy performance as a spokesperson against teen pregnancy. (I wonder how it promotes the message that teen pregnancy is a bad idea when a young woman is financially rewarded and glamorized by the media precisely because she was a pregnant teen lucky enough to be the daughter of a famous mom.)
Second, Bristol was used by her mother as an asset to placate the religious right-wing base of the Republican Party during the 2008 campaign. She was a living demonstration of Sarah Palin's opposition to abortion: Look at my teenage daughter, she made a mistake and did the right thing by having the baby. The only more shameless aspect of Sarah's campaign was her constant exhibition of her Down Syndrome son. Look at me, I didn't have an abortion like those terrible elitist women who make fun of me for not reading books.
One of the actors involved in the hit cartoon series "Family Guy" has come out in support of Sarah Palin by voicing his disapproval of a Down Syndrome joke in a recent episode.
As NewsBusters reported on Valentine's Day, the Fox program made what some have considered a tasteless swipe at the Palins by having a character with Down Syndrome state, "[My] mom is the former governor of Alaska."
Sarah and Bristol Palin later expressed their disgust with the remark while the actress directly involved said they needed to get a sense of humor.
According to the Washington Post's TV Column blog, a member of the "Family Guy" cast has actually come out in support of the Palins:
"The key to realizing a dream," Oprah said in the Sept. 2002 issue of her O magazine, "is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning."
Maybe Oprah should revisit that statement and add, "Unless we're talking about sexual abstinence. In that case, just throw in the towel."
In a Jan. 22 interview, Oprah criticized Bristol Palin, the teen daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, for recently telling In Touch Weekly that she was pledging abstinence until marriage.
Pro-life activists most likely cheered upon seeing this week's In Touch Weekly. The magazine, usually devoted to the latest celebrity shenanigans, featured Sarah and Bristol Palin on the cover holding their baby boys under the headline, "We're Glad We Chose Life."
But for the media, who find everything about Sarah Palin controversial, including, now, holding her own baby, it's one more attack opportunity that includes calling her daughter a "privileged" teen mother.
Sarah and Bristol were "schlepping those babies around like crazy," said Joy Behar. No friend of the Palins on any day, on the Jan. 13 edition of her show Behar predictably found fault with the magazine cover and complained of Palin's youngest son, Trig, "That baby, they passed that baby around more than a joint at a Grateful Dead concert." To her guests, liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller and Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff, she asked, "Is she going to bring that baby on the set of Fox?"
Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.com called the cover a "jaw dropper" and questioned the appropriateness of showing the Palins on it. "Hey, we're all for mothers loving their babies, but if it's not 1984 and you're not in a Wham! video, [in which George Michael wore a shirt that said "Choose Life"] you might want to reconsider whether that sentiment is appropriate in a pop culture context," she wrote in a Jan. 14 post.
MSNBC.com’s Steve Adubato went so far to compare Sarah Palin’s notoriety to a reality show during a segment on Wednesday’s Today show on NBC. Adubato acted as an apologist for Levi Johnston’s move to open his child custody dispute with Bristol Palin: “Sarah Palin’s reality show that she’s been on for the past couple years...It has an impact on this baby as well....and it’s not good for the kid either.”
The MSNBC.com “media analyst” and former Democratic politician appeared with former prosecutor Wendy Murphy just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour for a panel discussion about the Johnston-Palin custody case. After asking Murphy about Johnston’s move to open the case, substitute anchor Erin Burnett turned to Adubato for his take. “Steve, what’s your point of view? I mean, it’s pretty clear he [Johnston] wants it open because he sort of wants to build his brand and his name and a reality TV career but that’s a high standard. I mean, why should they allow it to be open?”
Adubato almost immediately set his sights on Sarah Palin and her apparent role in the custody dispute: “Listen, Sarah Palin is a major figure in this...she’s said things about this kid. The daughter Bristol has said things about this kid. Here’s the problem: you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be Sarah Palin, use your public platform to trash this kid in certain cases, and then say- you know, for the right of the kid , who’s one, let’s make sure that we keep it private....I understand this kid’s smart enough- his lawyers are smart enough to take advantage of the fact that they’ve trashed him publicly. It’s his only platform.”
[Update, 7:40 pm EDT: Audio and video from segment added.]
Another discussion panel on CNN’s Campbell Brown program on Thursday leaned to the left, this time on the Letterman/Palin controversy. Air America’s Sam Seder defended the raunchy “joke” about one of the Palin daughters. VH-1’s Janell Snowden supported the host’s “job to make fun of people.” CNN analyst Jeff Toobin thought Bristol Palin was “fair game.” Only Republican Susan Molinari sided with the governor [audio clips from the segment available here].
Brown first turned to Molinari, the moderate former congresswoman from New York, for her take on the issue. She condemned Letterman’s “mean joke,” though she did buy the CBS host’s explanation that it was about 18-year-old Bristol Palin, and not 14-year-old Willow Palin. Molinari continued that she didn’t “understand how anybody thinks this was funny....he’s a late-night host. He crosses the line. But when you cross the line with an 18-year-old, I just think we have gotten to the point where the jokes now are just really mean and have no impact.”
The CNN anchor then asked Seder and Snowden, “Where do you draw the line between being provocative and being offensive when you’re- when you’re commentating, as these guys do, on the late- night talk shows?” Seder, a talk show host for the left-wing Air America, made light of Letterman’s joke: “He’s making a joke. But, you know, that said, I am a father, and if someone made a joke about Alex Rodriguez knocking up my daughter, I would take offense. But that’s because I’m a Red Sox fan.” He also defended it as a “funny joke” and justified it: “He’s simply making a joke, and he’s done it for- he’s done it for years and years, and he’s done it about all sorts of people- all different ages.”
Meghan McCain was again provided with a national outlet for her "moderate" Republican views with her appearance on "The Colbert Report" on May 18. Host Stephen Colbert said to her, "You're more liberal than President Obama. Is that how you see the future of Republican Party going?"
"I'm liberal on social issues," McCain responded
Later in the interview McCain explained her views: "All I'm trying to say is it can be a party for a 24-year-old pro-sex woman. It can be. I just think that we have people that are in this party that are hijacking it and - trying to make it more extreme."
A self described "pro-sex, pro-life and pro-gay marriage" Republican, McCain would prefer the Republican Party stray away from abstinence only education and drop its support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
CBS "The Early Show" attacked sexual abstinence while Bristol Palin appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Today" to voice her support for it. Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol's child who has told numerous stories to hurt the family, went on CBS in what can only have been an attempt to counter or distract from Palin's message.
The daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol gave birth to son Tripp on Dec 27 2008. Since then, Bristol has become a Teen Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, which promotes teen abstinence.
On the eighth annual national day to prevent teen pregnancy, CBS continued its derision of abstinence with the help of Johnston. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez said before beginning the interview that Bristol was on TV talking about teen pregnancy and asked Johnston if he agreed with her encouraging abstinence. He responded that he did, but "you need to enforce, ya know, condoms and ya know birth control and things like that to have safe sex. I don't think just, uh telling young kids uh you can't have sex is just not gonna work - it's not realistic."
Well, that's one vote for Meghan McCain for Republican Party chairman. Too bad it's from a radical feminist columnist and blogger who insists that abortion is a "good decision" in the midst of a recession.
That's right, US News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe hacked out a short blog yesterday -- appropriately on 4/20, as if to answer the question, "What exactly is she smoking?" -- in which she praises the Daily Beast columnist and daughter of the Arizona Sen. John McCain as the future of the GOP:
Although Meghan McCain can sometimes come off a bit, shall we say, different, she gave a speech at the Log Cabin Republicans meeting this weekend that shows she has a brain and represents the views of lots and lots of young people and young members of the GOP.
Wednesday’s Early Show picked up where The Tyra Banks Show left off in interviewing Levi Johnston, the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin, as well as his sister and mother, and continued the media’s coverage of the “family feud” between the Palins and the Johnstons. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez asked Levi’s sister Mercede if the Palin family was “snobby.” She also asked the young man if the Palin family was “lying” about the circumstances of his relationship with Bristol and the subsequent breakup.
Rodriguez asked Levi Johnston some obligatory sappy questions, such as what his son Tripp meant to him, and if his “heart was broken” over the way things turned out. She devoted nearly the entire interview to trying to get the Johnstons’ side of the story, and only brought up the Palin family’s side in one question to Levi: “Sarah Palin, through a spokesperson, has denied a lot of the things that you’re saying. So either you’re lying or Sarah Palin is lying. Which is it?” After trying to get the young father to be more specific in his less than direct answer to the question, the anchor asked again, “So they’re lying?” He answered, “Yeah.”
Recent earthquake activity in Alaska provided “CBS Early Show” co-hosts with a ready-made metaphor for a segment on the personal lives of some of the those surrounding Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. But their quake turned out to be barely a ripple.
Hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez couldn’t contain their smirks as they introduced the piece. “There's been an earthquake rumbling outside Anchorage, but there is some other rumblings, as well, near Wasilla,” Smith snickered. “Oh, indeed,” Rodriguez chimed in with her eyebrows raised. “Sarah Palin says that she is focused on one thing, governing Alaska. But it has been hard to dodge the negative headlines swirling around her friends and family. Some real doozies.”
Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s ex fiancée and father of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s grandson, was interviewed on the Tyra Banks show. Questioned by Banks, Johnston said “I’m pretty sure she [Gov. Palin] probably knew” he and Bristol were sexually active.” Then (perhaps momentarily forgetting that there was living proof to the contrary) he tried to maintain that the two had “always” practiced safe sex. After several prompts from Banks, he reluctantly admitted it was only “most of the time.”
Is it some sort of amazing, newsworthy revelation that teen romance is sometimes a rocky road? Is it news that family can be troublesome when it results in out-of-wedlock birth? The Associated Press seems to think it is, at least if one of those teens is Governor Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol.
Do you care that punk Levi Johnston is bawling to the press that Governor Palin is supposedly a controlling Grandmother? Especially in light of the fact that this kid is an uneducated, immature, unserious lout? Well, if YOU don't the AP sure as heck does.
[Update: Erbe appears to be factually inaccurate, to say the least. Reader Tim Lindell passed on an L.A. Times article from last year noting that in a 2006 debate, Palin called herself "pro-contraception" and added that "kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues."]
With the writing style and gravitas worthy of a high school newspaper columnist, PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News & World Report columnist Bonnie Erbe slammed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her March 12 column, pitting her against her daughter Bristol who "displays a lot more personal maturity and decision-making ability than her mother" as evidenced by the breaking off of her engagement with boyfriend Levi Johnston.
Although Erbe is not a relationship expert or couples therapist, she plays one on the Internet (emphases mine):
[T]he youthful pair never looked like a loving couple. They looked like what they were: two sexually active teens who happened to "hook up" but had nothing beyond that in common. Besides, who wants to marry the son of a woman who's brought up on drug charges?
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seized on a portion of Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s Monday interview from FNC’s On the Record with Greta van Susteren to portray the 18-year-old as having expressed a pro-choice view on abortion, even though Bristol Palin did not clearly state her general view on the legality of abortion. During one of the show’s before-commercial plugs, Olbermann trumpeted: "While head-in-the-sand social conservatives are pushing fairy tales [abstinence] over sound policy, life happens. As for a woman`s right to choose, it is implicitly accepted in Bristol Palin`s comments, despite her mother`s anti-choice position."
Before interviewing Laura Flanders of GritTV.org, Olbermann introduced the segment: "There is a whistle blower in the house of hypocrisy that is Governor Sarah Palin: her daughter, Bristol. In our third story on the Countdown, she is now speaking out about being a teenaged mother, and she says that abstinence is not "realistic" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that having her baby was her own "choice" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that her mother`s view on that, quote, "doesn`t matter" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS). At one point, as he posed a question to Flanders, Olbermann referred to "Bristol Palin using that one word, 'choice,' such a, in that word such a profound repudiation of the social engineers on the right."
But in playing clips from the interview, the Countdown host edited out some of Bristol Palin's words which may suggest an alternative meaning to Olbermann’s interpretation.
CNN’s Headline News (or HLN) figured out a liberal angle as it replayed clips of the Fox News interview with Bristol Palin: she’s "glamorizing teen pregnancy." Anchor A.J. Hammer repeatedly promoted this assertion during his show Showbiz Tonight on February 17, including this boast: "Also, new tonight: Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, giving her very first TV interview since becoming a teen mom. But Showbiz Tonight dares to ask, is Bristol Palin glamorizing teen pregnancy?"
Hammer’s two guests, CNN and CBS legal analyst Lisa Bloom and Tanika Ray of the syndicated show Extra, both hammered the Palin points from the left:
HAMMER: Some people might say that by going on television to talk about being a teen mom, 18-year-old Bristol Palin is somehow glamorizing teen pregnancy. Lisa, is that how you see it? Or do you think perhaps she is giving teens a well-needed reality check on what it is like to be a teen mom?
Bristol Palin's comments about abstinence sparked a lively discussion about sex education on the Feb. 17 broadcast of ABC's "The View" in which Whoopi Goldberg insisted she would be okay if Bozo the Clown gave teens the information they needed about sex.
Palin, a new teenaged mom and daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, stated during her Feb. 16 interview with Fox's Greta van Susteren that sexual abstinence "is not realistic at all."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd defended abstinence as a very good thing to teach teenagers. Hasselbeck stated she didn't "think there's anything wrong with teaching an ideal to your child. It is ideal to be really nice to somebody, it is ideal to not drive drunk, it is ideal to wear your seat belt, it is ideal to not have sex until you're in a committed relationship. Why not?"
During a report on Thursday’s Today show, NBC News correspondent Norah O’Donnell replayed Barbara Walters’ characterization of Sarah Palin’s recent interview as “disturbing” from Tuesday’s The View. O’Donnell highlighted how the Alaska governor’s comments about how the media treated her versus how it treated Caroline Kennedy “drew a reaction” from the ABC host, and that it was “one more sign that as Palin tries to quiet her critics, she is sparking another loud debate.”
Co-host Matt Lauer introduced O’Donnell’s report: “During the campaign, handlers tried to keep a tight lid on Sarah Palin, but as Barack Obama’s inauguration approaches, she’s speaking out more and more. But how much is too much?” The correspondent then began by highlighting “Sarah Palin’s latest target -- her online critics,” focusing on the governor’s counterattacks against those spreading “smears” about her family. The NBC on-screen graphic hyped how Palin had become “unleashed.”