Feb
01
2010

When Is a Terrorist Not a Terrorist?

FAIR has long complained (Extra!, 7-8/95; Extra Update!, 12/98) about corporate media's avoidance of the word "terrorism" to describe the murder of doctors who perform abortions, even though it meets the standard definition: the use of violence against non-combatants to achieve a political purpose. But the term is still glaringly absent from the corporate media discussion of attacks like Scott Roeder's assassination of abortion provider George Tiller. (For an exception to the rule, see an Oregonian editorial, 1/29/10.) The choice of terms makes a crucial difference in the way the issue of violence against women's health clinics is discussed. Take […]

Dec
01
2009

'Ask Amy' Says Ask Your Rapist If He Raped You

Amanda Hess, a blogger for Washington City Paper, wrote a sharp deconstruction (11/30/09) of Chicago Tribune advice columnist Amy "Ask Amy" Dickinson's victim-blaming response (11/27/09) to a woman who wanted to know whether she was a victim of rape: Were you a victim? Yes. First, you were a victim of your own awful judgment. Hess points out Dickinson's disparate treatment of victim and perpetrator: You donâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t say whether the guy was also drunk. If so, his judgment was also impaired. Or as Hess translates: "Your judgment was 'awful'; your rapist's judgment was merely 'impaired.'" The most stunning part of the […]

Sep
15
2009

Intersex Athlete Boggles 'Ill-Informed. . .Predatory Press'

Thomas Rogers of Salon's Broadsheet (9/10/09, ad-viewing required) reports that world champion South African runner Caster Semenya recently "was tested (possibly without her consent) by the International Association of Athletics Federations" and "now the results of her gender testing have leaked, and, if the reports are to be believed, they show that she is, in fact, biologically intersex." After an informative look at the real biological meaning of the test findings that "led some media outlets to call her a 'hermaphrodite' (and some even more inaccurately calling her 'a woman — and a man')," Rogers writes that, to him, Caster's […]

Sep
14
2009

TV Sports' 'Little, Teeny-Tiny, Super Cute White Hope'

Intern Katy Kelleher at the Jezebel.com blog (9/9/09) has made a worthy attempt at "unpacking all the different levels of sexism and racism that are operating subtly behind the scenes" in recent coverage of professional women's tennis. On the new stardom of relatively diminutive and white Melanie Oudin, Kelleher remarks that "her accomplishments are definitely praiseworthy, but there is something off about the way she is being celebrated": She has been called the "darling" of the U.S. Open, America's "sweetheart," a "pint-sized, freckled-faced blonde from Georgia," the "tiny little savior of women's tennis," everything it seems, save tennis' "Great White […]

Aug
21
2009

AP and CNN Go Tabloid on South African Runner's Gender

Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya, a runner from South Africa, just blew away the competition in the women's 800-meter world championship race. But the news reports yesterday weren't about that–they were about whether she's "really" a woman or not. And supposedly serious outlets like the AP and CNN are sinking to tabloid levels of coverage on the issue. The AP video of the controversy, posted on the L.A. Times website, kicks off: "Quick! Man–or woman?" The piece includes slow pans over Semenya's body, more tabloidy commentary ("She–and yes, SHE claims to be a woman"), and the offering of her voice as some […]

Aug
16
2009

'Why Women Need to Be at the Freaking Table'

Women In Media & News has reposted Veronica Arreola's (8/15/09) elucidation of exactly "why women need to be at the freaking table, in the newsroom and holding the editor's red pen." To her, "it's just as simple as women see things differently. Not better, not worse, just differently": The latest example is the WaPo "Mouthpiece Theater" fiasco that ended with WaPo pulling the plug. Two men thought that calling the secretary of State a "bitch" was funny. Not only was it not funny, and not because the joke flopped, but it's old and tired. Seriously, guys, can't you come up […]

Aug
12
2009

Kidnapped Reporters Still Can't Get Story Covered

When "journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling stepped back onto American soil after being detained in North Korea for over four months. Their safe return was covered widely in the American media, and rightfully so," writes Women In Media & News guest blogger Tristin Aaron (8/12/09), "yet their reason for traveling to North Korea has been all but forgotten in the media reports on Lee and Ling": Euna Lee and Laura Ling were reporting on the trafficking of women from North Korea into China. As Ji-Yeon Yuh notes in, "What Were Laura Ling and Euna Lee Looking For in North […]

Aug
12
2009

'Snobbery, Cruelty & Ugliness' in NYT 'Journalism Fail'

Blogging at Jezebel, Sadie Stein (8/12/09) turns the spotlight on the New York Times' Cintra Wilson "in a remarkably nasty piece. Brace yourselves, kids": In a paper often characterized by a tone as carefully bland as NPR's, she can be a breath of fresh air. But today's column, on Manhattan's first J.C. Penney, is a marvel of snobbery, cruelty and ugliness…. It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10s, 12s and 16s…. The petites section features a bounty of items for women nearly as wide as they are […]

Aug
12
2009

Anti-Hate Activists Win S.F. City Media Resolution

The Hispanic/Latino Anti-Defamation Coalition, along with the National Hispanic Media Coalition (8/11/09), "applauds" the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for being "the first elected body to take a stand against hate speech in media" by having approved unanimously a resolution urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive investigation on hate speech in media, allowing public participation via public hearings, and for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to update its 1993 report the "Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes." The Supervisors responded to grassroots activists in the Bay Area who have organized to call attention to […]

Aug
10
2009

A Look 'Behind the Propaganda' About Afghanistan

Johann Hari (ZNet, 8/6/09) has an in-depth write-up of "the story of Malalai Joya" that "turns everything we have been told about Afghanistan inside out": In the official rhetoric, she is what we have been fighting for. Here is a young Afghan woman who set up a secret underground school for girls under the Taliban and–when they were toppled–cast off the burka, ran for parliament, and took on the religious fundamentalists. But she says: "Dust has been thrown into the eyes of the world by your governments. You have not been told the truth. The situation now is as catastrophic […]

Aug
09
2009

WaPo 'Screw-You' Video Follows 'Mad Bitch' Offense

Guest Women In Media & News blogger Adele M. Stan (8/5/09) has some more to say about the WashingtonPost.com's "now-infamous 'Mad Bitch' video": Last Friday, Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler shone a light on a video produced by the Washington Post that featured one of the two columnists hosting the piece suggesting that, at a future White House beer summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton be given a brew called "Mad Bitch." Then all hell broke loose. The Post apparently thought it could fix the problem by simply pulling the video. A note was posted above the hole where the […]

Aug
07
2009

Snarky WaPo-er 'Surprised by the Ferocity out There'

Howard Kurtz recently offered fellow Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza a chance to apologize for having, in an online Post feature, "implied Hillary Clinton was a 'bitch.'" But American Prospect's Tapped blogger Adam Serwer (8/5/09) has a question regarding Milbank's aside that "it's a brutal world out there in the blogosphere…. I'm often surprised by the ferocity out there, but I probably shouldn't be": What's the sound of a million hands facepalming? No one who goes around using obscenities to describe other reporters and administration officials should be complaining about the "ferocity" of blogs–if Milbank is bothered […]

Aug
07
2009

AP Responds to 'Hit-Us-Over-the-Head Bluntness'

As news comes of "yet another horrific mass shooting by yet another disaffected man armed with ammo and a deep hatred of women"–this time "killing three women and injuring nine more" at a Pennsylvania health club–Jennifer Pozner (Women In Media & News, 8/5/09) notices that "the gunman's stated intention to target only women is eerily similar to the Montreal Massacre of 1989, in which a man opened fire on students after screaming: 'You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists'": Perhaps it takes this level of hit-us-over-the-head bluntness for media to notice […]