Jun
26
2012

This Just In: Hillary Clinton's Scrunchie

Take my word for it. Diane Sawyer, ABC World News (6/21/12): And now to the ongoing master class in letting your hair down, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.These past few months, we've been watching her swig a beer, brandish a scrunchie without apology, and makeup free and telling everybody she doesn't care what they think. And today, donning wing-tipped purple glasses at the swearing in of a new assistant secretary whose favorite color just happens to be purple. Proof that nobody does unplugged quite like the secretary of state, who is leaving office by the end of the year. […]

Mar
23
2012

The New Campaign to 'Silence' Rush Limbaugh

Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh used to tell his listeners that the government was trying to silence him, based on a completely bogus tale about what the Fairness Doctrine would do. This time around, it's an ad campaign by the liberal group Media Matters for America directed at some of the stations that air Limbaugh's show. The group is encouraging citizens to contact stations and let them know they object to Limbaugh's degrading, sexist comments about Sandra Fluke. So what's the controversy? Fox News host Bill O'Reilly thundered (3/22/12) that "the far-left is a primary source of censorship in America." He […]

Mar
22
2012

Wanted (by NYT): One Woman to Represent All Feminists

Over the weekend, the New York Times (3/18/12) published an article pondering why no one has taken Gloria Steinem's place as ubiquitous spokesperson for women's rights: Over the last 40 years, Gloria Steinem has almost always been at the other end of the phone when some member of the news media has sought comment about a pressing issue involving women's rights…. And that raises a question well worth asking in 2012: Where is the next Gloria Steinem, and why–decades after the media spotlight first focused on her–has no one emerged to take her place? But is it well worth asking? […]

Mar
09
2012

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher Are Alike–and Also Very Different

As he loses advertisers by the handful over his comments about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh's supporters (there are a few!) and a few other commentators have found what I guess they believe is a good counter-argument: If you're so offended by Limbaugh's sexist, demeaning rants, they why are you silent about Bill Maher? Some see a clear double standard. Fox News liberal Kirsten Powers wrote a column denouncing the left's near-silence on the misogyny of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi and Ed Schultz. And as one adviser to a Gingrich Super PAC put it, "Did USA Today […]

Mar
06
2012

Sandra Fluke Controversy: Distraction or Revelation?

There seems to be a popular line emerging in the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy that says his comments are especially harmful because they distract attention from the real issues. Kathleen Parker (Washington Post, 3/4/12): Inadvertently, Limbaugh also helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women…. He has given his "feminazis" justification for their claims that conservatives hate women. Peggy Noonan (ABC's This Week, 3/4/12): But what he said was also destructive. It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don't, but he […]

Mar
05
2012

Rush and the Right: The 'Clown' GOP Leaders Fear

Rush Limbaugh's attack on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke–calling her, among other things, a "slut" for advocating for contraceptives coverage–has caused some stirrings on the right that are worth looking at. One outcome is the idea that Limbaugh's an outlier who sensible people repudiated. Kathleen Parker's Washington Post column on Saturday (3/2/12) cheered Limbaugh for uniting all decent people in opposition to his crude attacks: Who'd have thought that Rush Limbaugh would become the great uniter in this divisive political season? Indeed, he has united decent people of all stripes and persuasions with his vile remarks about a Georgetown University law […]

Feb
15
2012

Bizarre Record of Fox's Rape-to-Be-Expected Pundit

Liz Trotta, a Fox News contributor and former Washington Times editor, drew attention this week (2/12/12) when she suggested that women serving in the U.S. military should expect to be sexually assaulted by their male counterparts: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, […]

Feb
06
2012

Bill O'Reilly vs. Reality on Planned Parenthood

It was inevitable that Fox host Bill O'Reilly would weigh in on the Planned Parenthood/Komen Foundation controversy. And perhaps just as inevitable that he'd mangle the facts along the way. Here he is, on Friday night (2/3/12): Last year the Komen Foundation gave Planned Parenthood $680,000. Now, that is the source of controversy because as you know, Planned Parenthood is primarily in business to provide abortions, more than 300,000 each year. Later he added: Planned Parenthood does not give women who visit its clinics the other side of the abortion story because again PP is in business for abortion. Here […]

Jul
25
2011

Diallo Speaks: Are There Holes in the 'DSK Case Crumbles' Narrative?

Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is now speaking out publicly–weeks after press coverage took a turn against her, based on the notion that something about her made her allegations less credible. "Strauss-Kahn Prosecution Said to Be Near Collapse" was the July 1 New York Times headline. One of the strongest bits of evidence was the claim that Diallo spoke to a friend, in prison on a drug charge, about Strauss-Kahn's wealth–the implication was that she and a criminal associate were plotting out how to profit from the assault. Newsweek's cover story this week is based […]

May
26
2011

MSNBC Misogyny

MSNBC host Ed Schultz has been suspended without pay for a week for calling right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his radio show. Schultz apologized on MSNBC last night, calling his words "terribly vile." This is not a new thing at MSNBC. In 2006, Keith Olbermann did a bit about Paris Hilton being assaulted–joking that she has "had worse things happen to her face." The on-screen graphic was "A Slut and Battery." In 2009 he called right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin a "big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."

Apr
21
2011

Newsweek Bravely Highlights the Plight of the Beached White Male

Newsweek's cover story this week is on the plight of college-educated white men aged 35-64. The magazine laments that "this hitherto privileged demo isn't just on its knees, it's flat on on its face." The subhead of the piece asks, "Can manhood survive the lost decade?" Now, I have much sympathy for all who are struggling with unemployment. But are middle-aged, college-educated white males flat on their face and worthy of a trend cover story? It's hard to square that with the piece's own admission that their jobless rate is just above 5 percent. Most demographic groups would give anything […]

Apr
12
2011

ABC: That's What They Call Journalism!

ABC reporter Jonathan Karl clarifies the budget stalemate that nearly shut down the federal government (ABC World News, 4/7/11): KARL: And believe it or not, the issue of abortion could be what causes the government to shut down. GRAPHICS: DEMOCRATS CLAIM KARL: Democrats say Republicans are trying to use the funding bill to force new restrictions on abortion rights. GRAPHICS: REPUBLICANS CLAIM KARL: But Republicans say they are simply trying to restrict public funding of abortion. "Democrats say, Republicans say." ABC could save money and program a computer to do this. LaterKarl said this: Today, House Republicans did pass a […]

Mar
10
2011

NYT's Retro Rape Reporting Returns to Victim-Blaming Ways

I wrote a letter to the New York Times in 1991 after they ran a piece by Fox Butterfield (4/17/91) that invaded the privacy (literally peering into her daughter's bedroom window) and scrutinized the personal life of a woman who accused a member of the Kennedy family of raping her. Clearly some people inside the paper were outraged as well, because they don't usually print letters that are this critical (4/21/91): I read with growing disbelief the "profile" of the alleged victim in the Palm Beach, Florida, rape case. It seems you are borrowing not only your policies on naming […]