There's an establishment press cleanup in progress on behalf of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. As Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted Wednesday, the DNC Chair on Tuesday likened Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and tea party activists to domestic abusers.
At the Associated Press late Wednesday, a terse, unbylined five-paragraph story only reported the less offensive of the DNC chair's two outrageous statements. Thursday, Lucy McAlmont at the Politico claimed that Wasserman Schultz "walked back" her comments, when she really did no such thing. The AP story only acknowledged that Wasserman Schultz had told an audience of party faithful that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "given women the back of his hand."
The far more offensive statement — "What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back" — "somehow" wasn't reported. Law professor Ann Althouse accurately characterized that language as "subtly purveying a rape metaphor." Actually, Ann, I'll have to agree with one of your commenters that it wasn't subtle at all.
The Politico's McAlmont characterized what Wasserman Schultz would only acknowledge were words she should have used as a walk back:
DNC chief walks back Scott Walker ‘words’
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she used words she “shouldn’t have” in her attack against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in which she said he “has given women the back of his hand.”
“I shouldn’t have used the words I used,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in a statement on Thursday. “But that shouldn’t detract from the broader point that I was making that Scott Walker’s policies have been bad for Wisconsin women, whether it’s mandating ultrasounds, repealing an equal pay law, or rejecting federal funding for preventative health care, Walker’s record speaks for itself.”
... Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, said the congresswoman crossed the line.
“Wasserman Schultz owes an apology to all victims of abuse. It is degrading and outrageous to make false personal accusations rather than discuss real and complicated issues of economic policy,” Nance said in a statement on Thursday. “She erroneously conflated physical violence with a political disagreement.”
Wasserman Schultz did not apologize in any sense of the word. None of the elements of a genuine apology are present:
1) a clear statement of the offending action — she never even identified which words she shouldn't have used.
2) an expression of genuine empathy for those aggrieved — not present.
3) a deep and honest understanding of the needs/motivations for acting in the offending manner — absent.
4) a genuine intention to make things right and follow through to ensure that things are made right — nope.
As to whether that awful guy Scott Walker has been bad news for Wisconsin women, the average female unemployment rate in the Badger State in 2013 was 5.7 percent, two points below the male average of 7.7 percent (full document here). For the nation as a whole, that average was 7.1 percent. Meanwhile, in Illinois and Michigan, the rates were 8.2 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively. How could Scott Walker be so cruel as to force such a high percentage of women to work? (That's sarcasm, folks.)
The press wants everyone to move on and pretend that Wasserman Schultz's statements, for which she has not apologized, are no big deal. Oh yes they are.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.