Saturday evening, via Emerson Marcus and with the Associated Press contributing, the Reno Gazette-Journal, which I hope doesn't try to describe itself as a family newspaper, published an irony-free a 500-word story (HT to a NewBusters tipster) on an appearance by Sandra Fluke earlier in the day "in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno." You can't make this stuff up.
The story is currently the "Most Popular" at the paper's rgj.com home page. The Gazette-Journal seems to have been determined to hype Fluke's appearance no matter what so it could take shots at Rush Limbaugh and employ the "s-word" ("slut") Rush Limbaugh used (and then apologized for having used) to describe Ms. Fluke. It even employed the word in promoting her upcoming appearance in advance in one of two items dated Friday which were apparently meant for Saturday's print edition.
The first also employed the s-word (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Democrats are also bringing women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, to Nevada. Fluke will be in Carson City and Reno today.
Fluke testified before a House committee on the administration’s policy requiring religion-affiliated institutions to give employees access to health insurance that covers birth control. Republican lawmakers barred her from the hearing, but Democrats invited her back and she spoke at an unofficial session.
Rush Limbaugh said Fluke’s insistence on wanting contraception made her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” but later apologized and said it was an “attempt to be humorous.”
Folks, if she was "barred" from the hearing, she didn't testify before the committee, and her meeting with Democrats cannot truthfully be described as an "unofficial" committee session. But why worry about details such as these when you have a free chance to throw the s-word around?
The second advance story noting Fluke's upcoming appearance was primarily about the beginning of early voting in Nevada. Remarkably, Marcus and the Gazette-Journal managed to restrain themselves from throwing in the s-word.
Despite the paper's promotional efforts, Fluke's appearance, though not characterized as such, was a flop:
Fluke takes center stage in Reno
Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.
The speech was part of a daylong effort by Democrats to get Northern Nevadans to the polls on the first day of early voting.
“I’m trying to do everything I can for an election that I feel is very important. I have a unique opportunity for how I get to do that,” said Fluke, who is coming off recent campaign trips to Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida as a surrogate for Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Fluke emerged on the national spotlight in February when she was denied to speak before the U.S. House committee on Oversight and Government Reform on whether insurance plans should have a mandate to cover contraceptives. She eventually spoke to House Democrats.
Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and “prostitute” on his show based on her comments on contraception for women. He later apologized, saying it was an “attempt to be humorous.”
Fluke doesn’t take the jabs too seriously. When asked about her previous year and how people have treated her in the press, Fluke smiled and laughed.
“It’s been not quite the 2012 that I’ve expected,” she said.
Fluke has embraced the spotlight, though. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina and has enjoyed talks with people on the campaign trail — especially those concerning women’s issues.
“A lot of women come to me and tell me stories individually about their lives about what access to healthcare has meant to them; what the Affordable Care Act is going to mean to them,” she said. “A lot of young people tell me how important it was to stay on their parents plan until they were 26. Folks tell me what a difference it made to be able to rely on Planned Parenthood when they needed it and what it would mean if Mr. Romney gets his way to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Fluke's references to receiving comments from "a lot of women" and "young people" are hard to take seriously, given that the standard for "a lot" on the left and among its press apparatchiks appears to have fallen to "about 10."
The Associated Press may have "contributed" to Marcus's report, but I couldn't find any evidence that the wire service filed its own story on Ms. Fluke's Saturday activities. Can you blame them?
A Republican or conservative speaking to "about 10" people would of course either be justifiably ignored or mercilessly ridiculed.
UPDATE, 10 A.M.: NB's Tim Graham also has reminded me that the attempt by a supporter to call her a victim at the RGJ piece (citing "intimidating rhetoric" and caller her "a brave woman") is outrageous, given Fluke's attacks on Republicans and particularly Paul Ryan at the Democratic National Convention in September (e.g., "It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms").
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
Earlier: WashPost Strangely Hails Democrat Operative Sandra Fluke As an 'Independent Voice'