What better day for MSNBC to push its phony "War on Women" meme than International Women's Day? Morning anchor Chris Jansing neatly tied today the network's war on Rush Limbaugh with its epic battle to distort the political fight over the contraceptive mandate into an imagined titanic clash over "women's health."
For the segment, Jansing tag-teamed with colleague Alex Wagner as well as regular contributor Michelle Bernard. Jansing also brought on liberal journalist and "American Way of Eating" author Tracie McMillan , who was mourned as a victim of Limbaugh because the talk show host called her an "authorette," facetiously adding, "What is it with all these young, single white women, overeducated -- doesn't mean intelligent."
Rush "also mocked that fact that you won the 2006 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, so what did you think when you heard what he was saying," Jansing asked. McMillan responded that she "didn't realize that anybody would ever have a problem with me working really hard, getting through school and doing my job."
Of course, the social justice journalism award should be a huge clue to Limbaugh's critique, which is not that McMillan shouldn't be a journalist, but that she is a liberal hack in the guise of journalist. A review of Aronson Award winners is a who's who of lefty journalists, radio talent and commentators such as the New York Times's Paul Krugman, Pacifica Radio's Amy Goodman, columnist Molly Ivins, and the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh.
What's more, Jansing failed to give Limbaugh's comments any proper context. Here they are from Rush's website (emphasis mine):
Now, here's the story. This is in the New York Times, and the date is February 21st. I've been holding onto this. "Before the Food Arrives on Your Plate, So Much Goes on Behind the Scenes." Let me give you the pull-quote from this story that you need. Now, look at me. Here's the pull-quote from this story. "Food is one of the only base human needs where the American government lets the private market dictate its delivery to our communities," but not for long. Now, I added the "but not for long." You know, we have social justice. We have food justice. We already have food insecurity out there. Food insecurity is when people who run out of food stamps get hungry. Who is the authorette? It doesn't matter.
"One of the first things to like about Tracie McMillan, the author of The American Way of Eating, is her forthrightness. She’s a blue-collar girl who grew up eating a lot of Tuna Helper and Ortega Taco Dinners because her mother was gravely ill for a decade, and her father, who sold lawn equipment, had little time to cook. About these box meals, she says, 'I liked them.' Expensive food that took time to prepare 'wasn’t for people like us,' she writes." Now, you see, already, paragraph two, there's discrimination in food. "Expensive food that took time to prepare 'wasn’t for people like us.'" See, the dirty little secret is the food that takes time to prepare is cheaper than all this boxed processed prefab stuff. "Expensive food that took time to prepare 'wasn’t for people like us.'" What, somebody was denying you expensive food that took time to prepare?
She goes on. This is Tracie McMillan again, the author of The American Way of Eating. "'It was for the people my grandmother described, with equal parts envy and derision, as "fancy"; my father’s word was "snob." And I wasn’t about to be like that.' This is a voice the food world needs," says the writer of the story in the New York Times. Folks, I know you're thinking, some of you, "Rush, what?" Every time I find evidence of a massive forthcoming event to take away a little bit of our freedom here and there, under the guise of improving on our health or our safety or our security, I am going to warn you about it because the ultimate endgame is to take away your freedom. And so now we have a book by a woman named Tracie McMillan, The American Way of Eating, which has, according to the New York Times, as its premise that only the "fancy" and the "snobs" get good food.
Average, ordinary Americans, the 99%, are denied expensive food that takes time to prepare. "That food wasn't for people like us," writes Ms. McMillan. "Ms. McMillan, like a lot of us, has grown to take an interest in fresh, well-prepared food." You've seen this interest, I'm sure. Every time you travel, you talk to people. When's the last conversation you had with people about fresh, well-prepared food? I mean it's a common topic at dinner parties, is it not? It's a common, ordinary, everyday discussion item. Well, it's portrayed that way here.
RUSH: And so you see, folks, what I'm introducing to you today is a new crisis. We've uncovered another crisis for the government to solve, and that is basically what? See, it's not enough that Walmart offers unprocessed food to low-income families. Oh, no, that's not enough. Now it has to be the best. It has to be the best, it has to be the most expensive, but it has to be practically given away, otherwise what? Walmart is racist. That's how this works. This is how pressure is brought to bear on people in the private sector, accuse them of racism, discrimination, servicing only a few small percentage points of the market. Force them to cave to the all-powerful demands of the federal government, because to do otherwise is to incur their wrath, and nobody wants that.
What is it with all of these young single white women, overeducated -- doesn't mean intelligent. For example, Tracie McMillan, the author of this book, seems to be just out of college and already she has been showered with awards, including the 2006 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Social justice journalism. This woman who wrote the book on food inequality, food justice, got an award for social justice journalism. She won a national prize rewarding journalism that measures business, governmental and social affairs against clear ideals of the common good. Her degree is not in food or nutrition. She has a B.A. from New York University in political science. She's a political scientist. She's a journalist. She has received awards for social justice journalism, and she has a book out on food justice.
I know. You're saying, "Rush, there's Super Tuesday going on." I know. Super Tuesday is going on, and there are election laws. You can't really electioneer on Election Tuesday. Super Tuesday is what it is. The polls are open, and people are voting. What's left now is to count 'em tonight. We still have some audio sound bites coming up. Don't misunderstand. This is important, folks. It's important. All of this, everything we discuss on this program given the inauguration of Barack Obama is about the loss of freedom, the loss of economic freedom, the loss of religious freedom, the loss of speech freedom, the loss of freedom overall. And with it, the vanishing opportunity for prosperity on the part of all of our citizens. It matters. It's an all-out assault, and it's coming from young college students, fresh, idealistic, wide-eyed, interested in social justice and the common good and how only government can do that.
Well, what happens when the government is in charge of food purchases? Have you heard the story of pink slime for school lunches? Have you heard about this? Ground connective tissue and beef scraps normally destined for dog food treated with ammonia hydroxide are ending up in school lunches? I hold here in my formally nicotine-stained fingers a story from The Daily, which is an app for the iPad, and it's a joint effort between Apple and News Corp, Rupert Murdoch.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s continued purchase of so-called pink slime for school lunches makes no sense, according to two former microbiologists at the Food Safety Inspection Service. 'I have a 2-year-old son,' microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein told The Daily. 'And you better believe I don’t want him eating pink slime when he starts going to school.' It was Zirnstein who first coined the term 'pink slime' after touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility in 2002 as part of an investigation into salmonella contamination in packaged ground beef. In an e-mail to his colleagues shortly after the visit, Zirnstein said he did not 'consider the stuff to be ground beef.'
Rush's critique was both that McMillan is being held forth as an expert on food production and packaging when in fact she's a journalist with a bachelor's in political science and that she's being hailed in liberal media outlets like the New York Times because of her attacks on private industry.
Of course, the hypocrisy of MSNBC is astounding. Jansing and Wagner, to our knowledge, have never blasted colleague Chris Matthews for having called Rep. Michele Bachmann a "balloon head." Bachmann, you may recall, is a former federal tax attorney and holds three degrees: a bachelors, a J.D. and an LL.M. in tax law. The latter degree is from the prestigious College of William & Mary.