Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's "Today" show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as vice president, NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided, "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes vice president, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"
Labeling the segment "the mommy wars," Robach, a former beauty pageant contestant, went on point out that Palin is running despite having an infant child with Down's Syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. She asserted that "the news has sparked both pride and condemnation." Robach also featured New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, who authored a piece on the subject in the September 2 edition of the paper. In a clip, Kantor discussed the fact that Palin went back to work only a few days after giving birth this past April. According to the journalist, "fellow mothers" found this "a little bit hard to fathom, a little bit hard to identify with."
Despite the silence from left-leaning feminists concerning the disgraceful treatment Sarah Palin is getting from the media, some female Republicans are speaking out against what they believe are "sexist attacks" from America's press.
Makes one wonder when leading female Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi will step up to the plate and defend a hard-working, successful woman despite her political leanings.
As reported by The Hill moments ago (photo courtesy BBC):
Kristen Fyfe of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center, appears on the Fox News Channel's American Election Headquarters to discuss the media's ongoing assault on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Ms. Fyfe talks about what she calls the "Mommy Wars," with the media firing many shots at the Alaskan Governor that they have always before considered out of bounds with regard to a public woman and her family.
Ms. Fyfe appeared yesterday afternoon with FNC's Bill Hemmer.
Republicans really hold racist double standards when it involves teenage pregnancies and marriages. This according to Joy Behar, who shared such a sentiment on the September 3 edition of "The View." Discussing the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, Behar expressed sympathy for the father and fiancé, Levi Johnston.
Behar exclaimed it’s "the end of his life" because "he’s married at 17" (Johnston is actually 18, which is the legal difference between a child and an adult) When Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked "why isn’t that the beginning of another [life]?" Joy Behar, implying Republicans are racist, rebutted "if this was a black teenage couple, you wouldn’t be saying it so easily. Not you, but the Republican party would be all over that." Behar subsequently added "they’re white, they’re Christian. Everybody loves them on the right wing."
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night’s speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.
On Wednesday’s Today, NBC’s David Gregory had the GOP taking “swipes at Senator Obama’s limited experience” and described Fred Thompson’s speech as a “hard-edged attack on Senator Obama.”
But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton’s speech as “rousing” and “playful,” and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain:
Appearing on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani was inundated with questions about McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, including one question by Meredith Vieira on NBC’s Today: "So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless."
Meanwhile, on the CBS Early Show, Giuliani criticized the media for questioning Palin’s parenting ability: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: "So you're saying you have no doubt and voters shouldn't either. That she can do it?" Giuliani fired back: "Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just -- there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?" Then Rodriguez argued that questioning Palin as a mother was fair game: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle."
On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was concerned with Palin’s travel habits: "Has Governor Palin traveled? Where?" Giuliani replied: "I'm sure she has a real knowledge of what's going on in the world. I'm sure she's going to be able to demonstrate that, but all things that, you got to, in fairness, before everybody jumps on her, I mean, when Barack Obama started they certainly didn't all jump on him this way." Sawyer then wondered: "We had heard she that got her first passport in order to go to Kuwait once and then go to Germany and that's the extent of her travel. Bother you?" Sawyer went on to ask: "She's going to be speaking tonight. Everyone says it's high stakes. It is a kind of make-or-break night for her. Should she be nervous?"
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded:
...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much.
Quinn made similar comments about Palin in a WashingtonPost.com "On Faith" blog posting last Friday, the day Palin was announced as McCain's VP. On March 26, Quinn told the Early Show's Harry Smith that the media should have gone after Chelsea Clinton more aggressively, Smith admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here" Well, CBS certainly seems to be a watchdog when it comes to Bristol Palin.
The other members of the panel were Republican congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers and the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee, who earlier condemned the questioning of Palin as a mother:
Feminism took a step backwards this week. After being told for decades that women are being held back by the proverbial glass ceiling the left is looking to repair its most recent cracks with duct tape.
Apparently a mom, the once dispensable facet of the nuclear family according to many a card carrying liberal, is now so indispensable that she should actually feel guilty for seeking the job as Vice President of the United States. And you should be guilty too for recommending her for the post. This is the new theme as demonstrated by Liz Hunt of the Daily Telegraph and repeated by others that seem to have a new found problem with successful conservative mothers.
Hunt actually appears more desperate than most when attacking Sarah Palin by implying that Palin's daughter Bristol is getting married instead of getting an abortion for reasons of her mother's "political expediency".
Love and support are all very well. But what about choice. I just hope poor Bristol had a say in it too and that she isn't becoming a wife and parent at such a young age for reasons of political expediency and her mother's soaring ambition.
I suppose that Hunt could be implying that Bristol put the child up for adoption. But when left to poinder the phrasing, "what about choice", the left usually means "what about choice (for abortion)?"
Mainstream media complicity to destroy the candidacy of Sarah Palin is obvious. Numerous instances have been cited here at NewsBusters, some outrageously blatant. Slightly more subtle bias was evident in today's print edition of the Chicago Tribune. Nine letters to the editor were printed; eight of them were overtly anti-Palin and/or anti-Republican. The remaining letter was a plea for "the birth control education and access" that kids "so obviously need."
A few opinions expressed in today's "Voice of the People:"
On Wednesday's "Today," NBC reporter David Gregory, against all evidence, suggested that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin will be able to balance being both vice president and a mother. Referencing a earlier interview in which McCain surrogate Rudy Giuliani attacked reporters for doing exactly that, Gregory huffed, "That question has not been brought up by the media." "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira parroted, "Exactly."
However, on August 30, "Good Morning America" weekend co-host Bill Weir challenged a McCain spokesman: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" On August 29, CNN "Newsroom" anchor John Roberts sniffed, "The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child."
Also on August 29, the Washington Post's Sally Quinn whined in a column, "Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job?...Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?" Not only have members of the media discussed this subject, they've done so repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. So, is David Gregory somehow unaware of this fact or was he simply being disingenuous?
In the last 48 hours, the establishment media’s bias against Republican Sarah Palin has become a full-fledged feeding frenzy. This morning on FNC’s Fox & Friends, the anchors noted how the pop culture mag Us Weekly is now bashing Palin with a harsh cover story, “Babies, Lies, and Scandal,” when just a couple of months ago the same magazine ran a sappy cover piece featuring Barack and Michelle Obama: “Why Barack Loves Her.”
Co-host Steve Doocy cited NewsBusters’ recent “Quick Study” study of cable news as providing proof of the incredible double standard against Palin: “The Media Research Center did a study of the two hours of prime time after Joe Biden was announced as a Vice President and after Sarah Palin was announced, and overwhelmingly it was so against the Republican.”
With the massive and desperate MSM attack upon Sarah Palin, there is a lot of competition in the venom spewing department. However, Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer seems determined to make a strong bid for the most seriously deranged of all attacks upon Palin in her most recent column which starts out on her assumption that the Alaska governor is unqualified:
So. This is what being pandered to feels like.
John McCain picked Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and mother of five, to be his running mate to woo women like me.
He seems to think that my girlfriends and I are so disappointed that an utterly qualified woman is not going to be president that we will jump at the chance to vote for an utterly unqualified woman for vice president.
So does that mean Reimer thinks Barack Obama, with no executive experience and a less than stellar incomplete Senate term is also "unqualified?" She doesn't say as Reimer warms up for more attacks upon Palin:
Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications and the assumed failure of the McCain campaign to adequately vet her consumed much of the ABC, CBS and NBC prime time hour Tuesday on the Republican convention. CBS's Katie Couric was the most aggressive. A flustered Couric demanded to know from McCain adviser Steve Schmidt how anyone could possibly “compare” Palin's public service with the more experienced Obama: “How can you compare those two?”
When Tim Pawlenty later made the same assertion, Couric shot back: “Well, that’s according to Republican talking points.” She also contended questions about Palin “call into question the vetting process” as she complained: “Why are these kind of things coming out in kind of a drip, drip, drip fashion?” With Pawlenty, Couric, who last week never wondered if the liberal ticket would dissuade anyone, portrayed Palin as some sort of alien creature:
She is against abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. She wants creationism taught in schools. Do you worry that her selection might be a turnoff to some wavering Democrats and independents who might consider supporting John McCain?
ABC devoted an entire segment to its panel of Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd and Tori Clarke speculating about bad vetting and Palin undermining a McCain theme. Gibson proposed: “There were signs all over Denver, put up by Republicans, saying 'Not Ready '08.' Have they totally throw that argument away? And do they regret losing it, do you think?” Dowd confirmed: “I think they've totally thrown it away...”
On January 15, Alaska governor Sarah Palin laughed along with an Alaskan shock-jock DJ who called her political rival Lyda Green a "cancer," a "b#@ch" and ridiculed her weight. (Green is a cancer survivor.)
The Us magazine cover story is filed under the URL slug "sarah-palin-very-difficult-to-work-with". This particular smear job on Sarah Palin was literally spoon fed to the magazine and bloggers on the left by the Huffington Post that featured a hacked up YouTube version of the interview that was edited to take Governor Palin out of context and make the incident sound worse than it really was. (Full interview here)
Obsessing over Sarah Palin's pro-life position on abortion, MSNBC hosts and reporters on Tuesday night repeatedly raised it and painted it as a detriment to Republicans even though last week with Democrats the channel did not similarly pursue how a solidly left view on abortion might hurt Obama and Biden. By the count of the MRC's Geoff Dickens, between 8 PM and midnight EDT, MSNBC raised abortion at least 16 times, twice with an edge that painted the GOP position as extreme by applying a “hard right” label. Chris Matthews declared “they are going hard right on abortion rights” and later David Gregory asserted: “The abortion platform here is pretty hard right.”
Chuck Todd, Political Director for NBC News, fretted over how “this is as stringent of a platform on abortion the Republican Party ever has. And the problem is” that “these delegates are more conservative than even the ones four years ago.” Andrea Mitchell described Palin as “very conservative” and pressed a Republican Congressman: “Now there are a lot of women in that area who are less conservative socially than Sarah Palin. There are a lot of women who believe in choice. So how do you square the circle there?”
Matthews bemoaned to Tom Ridge that “it seems like you got a convention saluting a vice presidential nominee who wants to outlaw abortion, period, across the country. Is this going too far?” To Tim Pawlenty, Matthews demanded:
Do you believe you can win with the cultural statement being made by the selection of Governor Palin? That statement being someone from the very culturally conservative part of your party?
John McCain's campaign spokesman is reporting that the media has deluged the campaign with demands that it provide DNA samples to "prove" that baby Trig is the true offspring of vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin. Imagine the effrontery of this demand? Imagine the ignorance and outrageousness of this attack that Governor Palin is receiving at the hands of the Old Media? Worse, realize that this storm has been raised by gutter websites like DailyKos and the DemocraticUnderground! The media is not only indulging in the lowest of attacks they are allowing the most extreme, unhinged of the far left to dictate the direction of their coverage. The Old Media are worse than dancing puppets for the hatemongers on the left.
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported that McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt is being buried under an avalanche of these unseemly demands for Palin's DNA by the media establishment.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did what conservatives have been waiting for someone to do since Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate: take on someone in the media claiming that she lacks the qualifications to be vice president.
Such marvelously occurred Tuesday evening on the convention floor in St. Paul when MSNBC's Ron Allen said to the former Speaker, "But to be fair, her resume is not something we're familiar seeing with presidential candidates."
This didn't sit well with Gingrich who strongly replied (video embedded right, h/t NB readers Matt Noll and Patrick):
Now that the dust has settled on both parties' vice presidential picks, it's time to take a look at how the media treated Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in the crucial early hours after they were announced as running mates.
This analysis is the first of several "Quick Study" reports we'll be running this election season to give a snapshot of press coverage, primarily through the lens of cable television.
Looking at the transcripts of CNN, FNC, and MSNBC during the two "primetime" hours of the day John McCain and Barack Obama announced their running mates, a trend becomes quite clear: The media were much more likely to report negative information about the Alaskan Palin than the Delawarean Biden.
ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Defending his colleagues in the media with their "hard vet" of Gov. Sarah Palin, Fox News Channel's Mort Kondracke told NewsBusters that Republicans should have expected the intense media scrutiny of Palin, a selection he said was "Dan Quayle all over again."
NEWSBUSTERS: Do you feel that the media are vetting Sarah Palin to an extent that they didn't vet Obama in his 19 months of running for office?
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday all focused stories on the media's latest obsession: the inadequacies of VP choice Sarah Palin and John McCain's supposedly rushed and inept vetting process. ABC anchor Charles Gibson, for instance, teased: “The Republicans finally take to the convention floor. Many questions still being asked about John McCain's vice presidential pick.” But CBS was the most aggressive in trying to discredit Palin. Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News:
Tonight, new questions about Sarah Palin's past, including whether she once supported a party that wants Alaska to secede from the U.S. How much did John McCain really know about his running mate?
Couric led by insisting, as if the media are simple observers and not participants: “The story that's continuing to get all the attention here -- and elsewhere for that matter -- is Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and John McCain's judgment in choosing her as his running mate.” Couric set up a second Palin story: “The McCain campaign has portrayed Governor Palin as a reformer and opponent of pork barrel spending, but there are some new questions about that. Wyatt Andrews now with a Reality Check.”
Conservative blogs led the way in raising questions about Barack Obama's home church, but for months on end the MSM ignored the story until incendiary video of Rev. Jeremiah Wright made the rounds earlier this year and the story was too juicy to ignore.
Not so when it comes to Sarah Palin and her former church, the Wasilla Assemblies of God, as media outlets try to find juicy "controversial" video to prove Palin was poorly vetted.
MSNBC's First Read blog picked up on a Huffington Post item in a September 2 post.:
In the midst of being pounded by Wolf Blitzer and other CNN panelists about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin's supposedly inadequate experience, Rudy Giuliani wondered late Tuesday afternoon: “Why did Barack Obama get a pass on his experience? And why is Sarah Palin's experience, which from the executive point of view is considerably more than Barack Obama's, under such scrutiny?” Blitzer retorted:
But who says he's [Obama] been getting a pass? He's been scrutinized for months and months and months.
To which, a laughing Giuliani scoffed: “I haven't seen the scrutiny of his experience or his record.” Blitzer then, seriously, asked: "Do you read your hometown newspaper, the New York Times?” Giuliani, still trying to get his words out while laughing at Blitzer's premise at the end of the first hour of The Situation Room, lightheartedly suggested: “Maybe that's the problem. I read the New York Times and I haven't seen much scrutiny of Barack Obama in the New York Times.”
CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips used a report on the "hometown reaction" to the news of Sarah Palin's pregnant teenaged daughter during today's "American Morning" to highlight the need for sex-education in schools. Phillips noted, "But to some, the 17-year-old's pregnancy is a political issue. Her mother supports strong family values and teaching abstinence, but not sex education in schools. Abortion rights activists say they won't comment on Bristol's case, but it does underscore the need for teaching teenagers about sex."
After a positive sound bite from Barack Obama and another from a Republican Alaskan state senator, Phillips allowed the anti-abstinence bias to shine through.
When asked by Phillips, "why not support abstinence-only?" Geran Tarr of the Alliance for Reproductive Justice stated, "It doesn't educate teenagers about how to prevent STD transmission." No proponents of abstinence-only education appeared during the segment to counter Tarr's claim and Phillips herself failed to challenge Tarr on his assertion. Instead, Phillips again stressed the need for sex education by stating, "Alaska has one of the highest teenage rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country although the rate of teenage pregnancies has dropped sharply."
When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews suggested in Denver that Barack Obama earned his present elevation in American politics, unlike "showcase appointments" like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, he reminded the world of the peculiarity of liberalism. John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate underlined it. Liberals find no joy when Republicans select women or minorities for top positions. They are all fraudulent traitors to their own apparent group interests. Conservative blacks aren’t really black. Conservative Latinos aren’t really Latino. Now, conservative women are somehow not really women.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift spoke for her colleagues on the Palin selection: "If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places...In very, very many newsrooms."
Editor's Note: A longer version of this article originally appeared on our affiliated site Times Watch.
Bristol Palin's pregnancy made the top of the fold of Tuesday's New York Times in a story by Elisabeth Bumiller, who helpfully summarized all the scandalettes (and at least one fake one) burbling around the Palin pick in "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process."
A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain's choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.
On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.
Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.
On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter appeared as a guest for a discussion about Governor Sarah Palin's pregnant 17 year old daughter, Bristol. Alter defended the media's actions in heavily reporting on the pregnancy, saying of the Palin's: "This, to quote the Godfather, this is the business they have chosen."
Alter also defended the media's lack of reporting on former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards's affair. The columnist argued that Edwards was no longer running for president when the scandal broke and therefore the media was right in avoiding stories on it. However, in regards to Governor Palin, Alter scoffed, "They know it's all gonna come out if they're running for president or vice president. If they don't want it to come out they shouldn't get in the ring, I hate to tell you that." It seems Alter forgot that Edwards's affair began in 2006 according to his own admission, just before Edwards announced his candidacy for president. Nevertheless, as Joe Scarborough pointed out, Edwards was going to play a big role at the Democratic National Convention and was even slated to speak when the story broke. But Alter stuck with his argument that Edwards's affair was not as newsworthy as Bristol's pregnancy.
ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Former presidential contender and senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) told bloggers today that the bias against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was "abysmal."
At the RedState.com-organized and Google-sponsored breakfast, Thompson demurred when asked if he'd accept a Cabinet slot in a future McCain administration, joking that he's ready for more work in Hollywood, which would be a welcome break from the duplicity and insincerity of the media on the campaign trail.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Yesterday NewsBusters caught up with GOPAC chairman and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele at the Xcel Center, site of the Republican National Convention.
Steele told us the coverage of the campaign so far has "been a joke," and that "if the shoe were on the other foot, [media] would be scrutinizing the heck out of a black Republican or a Hispanic Republican" running for president.
Some excerpts of that interview are below, starting with Steele's reaction to the disparity in scrutiny of Sens. McCain and Obama (video available here):