The media is treating this election the same way they treat any election that they might lose. They are screaming at the top of their lungs that THERE IS NO CHANCE THEIR GUY WILL LOSE!!! while plugging their ears and whistling Dixie.
I didn’t think my hatred of the mainstream media could get any more intense, but this week has proved me wrong.
OMG, you guys! Did you hear? Mitt Romney was a meany mean pants in high school! I read all about it in the Washington Post, DC’s Totally Serious Newspaper of Record!
If I might make a suggestion: The scientific literature suggests that the human brain doesn’t mature until the middle of the third decade, so perhaps we should grant blanket forgiveness to all politicians for anything they did before the age of, oh, twenty-five. Then, after we get that out of the way, we should talk about jobs and why there aren’t any.
Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist
by Kirsten Powers @ the Daily Beast
Liberals—you know, the people who say they “fight for women”—comprise Maher’s audience, and a parade of high-profile liberals make up his guest list. Yet have any of them confronted him? Nope. That was left to Ann Coulter, who actually called Maher a misogynist to his face, an opportunity that feminist icon Gloria Steinem failed to take when she appeared on his show in 2011.
This is not to suggest that liberals—or feminists—never complain about misogyny. Many feminist blogs now document attacks on women on the left and the right, including Jezebel, Shakesville, and the Women’s Media Center (which was cofounded by Steinem). But when it comes to high-profile campaigns to hold these men accountable—such as that waged against Limbaugh—the real fury seems reserved only for conservatives, while the men on the left get a wink and a nod as long as they are carrying water for the liberal cause.
After all, if Limbaugh’s outburst is part of the “war on women,” then what is the routine misogyny of liberal media men?
It’s time for some equal-opportunity accountability. Without it, the fight against media misogyny will continue to be perceived as a proxy war for the Democratic Party, not a fight for fair treatment of women in the public square.
Thank you, Ms. Powers, for summoning the nerve to call out your allies. All the high-handed faux concern I’ve been seeing on Facebook lately has seriously made me nauseous. Tell you what, libs: Why don’t you try policing your own?
And by the way, the follow-up to the above article is also very good. I especially liked the following:
Many of the professional left seem incapable of distinguishing between a few blog posts and comments condemning left-wing misogyny and a full-scale war to remove someone from their job. This really shouldn’t be so hard to grasp: If you hate misogyny and sexism in the media, then react to the consistent and repeated misogyny of men on the left with the same fervor that you have reacted to Rush Limbaugh’s sickening outbursts.
In the end, it really isn’t that hard not to be a disgusting, politically-motivated hypocrite.
Over the past few days, a number of decent but ill-informed folks (who are probably capable of being convinced that we are right) have been posting Facebook messages with this general theme:
“Rush Limbaugh has gone crazy! Why are we debating birth control when the economy is in the crapper?”
I agree that the economy should be our first concern, but let’s be clear who actually started this birth control fight. It wasn’t Rush Limbaugh (although I will be criticizing him for other reasons in a moment), and it wasn’t any of the Republican presidential candidates. It was Kathleen Sebelius and the administration’s patsies in the mainstream media. Remember that GOP debate back in January in which George Stephanopoulos’ question on contraception was received by Mitt Romney in particular as a bizarre non sequitur?
Did you see the look on Mitt’s face? Clearly, he hadn’t given the matter any conscious thought. And what he says in the above clip regarding modern-day political realities has been echoed by every other candidate still in the running — including Santorum, the most socially conservative among them and the source of the “state legislatures have a right to ban contraception” argument (which is a Constitutional argument that should be debated on Constitutional grounds, not an indication that Santorum has “outlawing birth control” scratched into his personal presidential to-do list).
Now, I think it’s overly extravagant to claim – as some conservative bloggers have – that Stephanopoulos was consciously laying the groundwork for the HHS announcement a few weeks later. It’s more likely that he was parroting his buddies in the mainstream media (and the left-wing blogosphere), who, after Santorum did so well in Iowa, immediately got busy digging up obscure quotes from 2011 (and earlier) that fit into their pre-determined “Santorum is a crazy theocrat who wants to steal your ladyparts!” narrative. But regardless of what Stephanopoulos’ actual motives were, birth control became an election issue because the media made it an election issue — and then the Obama administration helped it along by telling the Catholic Church that She could not be the Catholic Church.
As a Catholic, I was perfectly happy to keep my rosary off everyone’s ovaries. I was perfectly happy to keep my opposition to contraception limited to the personal and conversational realm (except when it comes to the debate over whether federal and state governments should fund Planned Parenthood, of course). But then Sebelius announced that birth control should henceforth be “free” and that we should reach into the Church’s pocket – and my pocket – to make it “free.” At that point, I and many conservatives like me found ourselves catapulted into “oh, HELL NO” territory. What you do in your own bedroom is none of my business, but don’t ask me – or my Church – to pay for it.
Rush Limbaugh is not some lunatic who just started talking about contraception out of the blue. He didn’t strike first. Instead, he was responding – intemperately – to the Sebelius/Fluke argument, which – as I note above – has been out in the ether for weeks now. But that doesn’t mean that Rush is entirely blameless. It’s not okay to personally attack a female opponent using sexually suggestive language. Moreover, by slamming Sandra Fluke in the way that he did, Rush basically invited the left to place a giant “Kick Me” sign on the GOP’s back. Apology or no, his words will now be used to bully us into submission for many months – or perhaps years – to come. And while I recognize the media’s outrageous hypocrisy on this (see also: the left’s despicable treatment of just about any female conservative), I still expect Rush to be a lot smarter than that.
Be that as it may, I have zero – ZERO – sympathy for Fluke. She’s not some poor wittle naif who got accosted by a nasty old man. She’s my age, first of all — don’t buy the story that she’s 23. Secondly, as the Jammie Wearing Fools have uncovered, she’s a long-time activist who elected to go to Georgetown for the express purpose of challenging the Jesuit university’s refusal to cover contraception in its health plan. In other words, she’s a liar. She didn’t go to Georgetown for “the educational experience.” She went there in the hopes of snagging her fifteen minutes of fame — and Nancy Pelosi was only too happy to oblige her.
If Fluke is mercenary enough to enroll at Georgetown under false pretenses, how can we possibly trust anything else she says? Hell, we already know her math is completely bogus. Generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen is sold for $9 per month at a nearby Target. I also Googled “free condoms Washington DC” and discovered that, like New York City, DC has its own free condom distribution program: the Rubber Revolution. And your standard well-woman gynecological exams? As far as I could tell, the exams are covered by Georgetown’s health plan — as are any birth control meds that are being used to treat genuine medical conditions. So either Fluke pulled her $3000 figure out of her butt, or her friends are using the contraception equivalent of the Lamborghini. And these are supposed to be some of our country’s best and brightest? Have you ladies considered shopping around? I bet there are clinics in your area that would be happy to help. Planned Parenthood, for example, offers reduced fees for those who can demonstrate economic need.
Sandra Fluke is the poster child for a liberal entitlement mentality that has completely run amok. Instead of giving her what she wants, we should tell her to grow the hell up. When a responsible adult realizes that her budget is getting tight, she gives up a few luxuries to make room for the necessities. She doesn’t beg for perfect strangers to give her a handout.
God save technology and its’ inventors, for they will soon save us from our politically motivated, attention-seeking lying selves. This is not definitive, but I will say this much. When I watched Bialek’s press conference, she looked like someone not being truthful to me.
Well as it turns out…a new voice-recognition and testing software which is in use in many police departments around the country for a fee of $15,000 thinks Cain is speaking without conflict and Bialek is not stating truthful facts.
Who here is shocked? (I’ll wait for the crickets to stop)
Of course, Cain’s accusers will leap to the obvious – Cain is just a really accomplished liar! And poor Bialek was just stressed doing a TV interview about an embarrassing subject!
Either way, I see this is reasonable doubt and enough cause to give Cain the benefit of that doubt.
Just thought I would pass this along.
The details make absolutely ZERO sense to me, to be honest. Leading up to this press conference we’ve heard nothing but claims from Politico and other fact-finders (ha) that Cain’s accusers had settled with the NRA out of court for sexual harrassment charges…primarily for inappropriate conduct of a “non-sexual nature” and then this woman shows up attended by a lawyer who makes a point of claiming that the accuser is a lifelong Republican and that she has no plans to file a lawsuit or criminal charges? And the story involves Cain supposedly GROPING HER CROTCH?!?!?! And her response was “hey what are you doing?” not a scream of terror and then a horrible scratch or a punch in the face?!?! REALLY?
I can[t think of a single woman I’ve ever known who wouldn’t respond to that by AT LEAST grabbing Cain’s arm and pulling it away from them or slapping him. Holy cow…and why get a frackin’ lawyer to come up on stage with you while you give your accusation to the global press when you’ve said nothing on the record until now and intend on avoiding a legal battle? Cain now has a right to face his accuser and it’s being taken away from him because all she has to do is accuse and then run away and hide and his career is over. If I were him, I would be HOPPING mad if this accusation is false…and the first thing I’d do is get up on stage and yell it to the rooftops that I’m suing her for defamation of character and slander.
His reaction will tell us whether there’s the slightest hint of truth in this story…but it sure doesn’t sound right to me.
I have decided, after much soul searching on the subject, that the only answer to to our political stagnation and to the endless muckraking and game-playing of the liberal media is to stop playing by those rules – the rules of Washington and of beltway journalism. We are told by people in the know that Herman Cain is a political neophyte who doesn’t know how to play the game that he has entered now that he’s a front runner. And we see examples of it every day. He gets caught in trivial inconsistencies, screws up facts of minor relevance, delivers ads and soundbites that the media ravages, and leaves himself open to all kinds of silly gotcha games and political traps.
He’s given muddled interpretations of the geopolitical realities of OPEC, dropped the ball on dissecting China’s rising naval power, misrepresented his own views on gay marriage, abortion and gun control, gotten trapped defending himself against indefensibly limited allegations of sexual harassment which were settled to avoid legal expenses as is commonly the case in the business world and been shocked at some of the lines of questioning that the media have thrown at him on more than one occasion – lines that would be perfectly predictable to most who’ve been in politics for long enough.
And, you know, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have their share of experience and seem to be more skillful at playing the media’s games and surviving than the Hermanator. Perry was accused of a family history or racism, but that story lasted, oh…about five seconds. How in the world did he not get hit as hard as Cain is now on an even more baseless attack? Romney is being called Mittens and “Lucky” on the campaign trail because not one gosh-darned thing seems to stick to this guy. He’s made some gaffes too, but the media is playing aide on the trail for him…covering it over when he says that he fired his homestead staffers when he realized that some were illegal immigrants because “my God, I can’t have illegals working for me! I’m running for office!” He has yet to put forward a substantive idea on how to redress the tax code to help jump-start our economy. But the media wants him to be our nominee and he never gets the third degree as a result.
So why should we vote for anyone else? We need someone who can play the game, right? Mission #1 is to beat Obama! Or…we could realize that one of the easiest ways to be swayed into making a deal with the devil is to be convinced that the other way isn’t a viable alternative. Jesus was tested in that way. He passed. We aren’t.
Or maybe we are, at long last, passing that test. As Cain has gained attention and popularity we’ve heard it all. First, they tried to shut him out of the debates – at the Reagan library, he was given about five questions all night. He was portrayed (literally) as a pizza mogul with no experience at all…not someone to be taken seriously. And I fell for it…remarking in an annoyed tone to my girlfriend that when you looked at the stage, you found former House Speakers, Governors, Senators, and some guy who made a decent pizza and wondered what business he had running for President. Then when he forced them to take notice by appearing on all the talk and talking-head shows (and I do mean ALL the shows, even the ones that weren’t overtly political) for three straight weeks…we heard a different line of attack. He knew nothing about the world at large. And I bought it again. I said, on this very blog, that we couldn’t afford to run a candidate with such serious flaws and gaps in their thinking. And as he took his much needed crash course in global politics, he got more and more popular because right now…it’s the economy, stupid. Now we face the smear tactics of an increasingly desperate liberal media. And I’m hearing a new line of attack – he doesn’t handle the media well enough.
Well you know what? GOOD. The only way to give legitimacy to the media’s games is to play them. I think it’s about time we stopped playing by their rules and the rules of established party leadership. Fred Thompson – who was once a darling of the Conservative grassroots and who was also clobbered by the media and its – as Newt Gingrich famously quipped – Mickey Mouse games – wrote yesterday at the National Review online that Cain loyalists were seeing his mistakes and hearing all of the smears in the media and “writing checks to his campaign.” He went on to say that Cain “represents something that conservatives wish to protect” (I think, namely, that they wish to protect the belief that someone can rise to political power from the grassroots and not from inside the Beltway) and that attacking him is a losing game at this rare moment in American history as long as none of the attacks are allowed to stick.
Do we wish we had a better candidate? Do we think Cain has some big flaws? You betcha. But at this point, I think President Cain shouldn’t be a “lawmaker” anyway…I think he’s a hero – a champion – an icon. The ANTI-OBAMA icon. He comes from a poor, working class family like Obama, but his path of escape runs not through the ivory tower and community organizing and race riots but through business school and the executive board rooms of big corporations. He dealt with the same discrimination that Obama talks about facing in his book, but he lead by example, rather than by rhetoric and symbolic gesture. He came from the grassroots and caught political fire way more rapidly than anyone believed possible, but unlike Obama, his popularity came IN SPITE OF the media, rather than because of it. He champions ideas that seem implausible and likely need to be reworked in Congress…but unlike Obama, he won’t be bullying them through Congress and burning the Constitution to get them done if the real lawmakers find ways of reworking ideas he champions. He has an ENORMOUS personal magnetism and popularity like Obama did before his own actions unmasked him as a petty, petulant child and not a hero…but unlike Obama, his popularity is based on a plain-spoken, kindhearted, toothless rhetoric based on pure optimism and FAITH, not based on beautiful words elegantly used and an appeal against the general unpopularity of the Bush regime.
In short…we need Cain. We don’t need him to be a GREAT President…but we do need him to change the narrative…he is capable of putting a serious dent in the claims that the GOP is a good ole white boy network full of closet racists and class warfare denizens seeking to subjugate the poor in favor of the rich. All Cain needs to do is not burn the country down and to pass legislation in keeping with his general conservative beliefs and veto the stuff that fails to match those beliefs. That’s it. He needs to make sure his foreign policy team in the Oval Office is full of experienced military personnel and history wonks so he doesn’t get us blown up…and he needs to work hard on the economy…and suddenly, his more “hands off” approach will seem like a fresh drink of holy water to cure what ails Washington. We need a sign…something to rally the people to resist the narrative…someone effective, but not someone who necessarily needs to be perfect. Cain has been drafted for this role. And he’ll be getting my campaign contribution soon.
I happened to catch an interview on PJTV.com (a noted conservative think tank and web media outlet, it should be fairly reported) with a UCLA sociology professor named Tim Groseclose. Now he was shilling his new book, so there was some mutual ego stroking during the interview (as his message appeals to conservatives)…but what it all boils down to is worth a read in my opinion.
Dr. Groseclose decided that the way to understand media bias was to use powerful text and voice search engines to make an accounting of how frequently the various media outlets cited various think tanks and political scientists (of known political bent), how often their reporting included loaded phrases with a known political slant in popular usage, and how many times certain loaded political facts were reported. The underlying assumption in this research is that bias in the media is largely governed not by an absence of reporting on specific events (since it behooves news agencies to cover things that are attention-getting news stories), but in the choices each outlet makes with regard to which specific facts will be reported and which buzzwords will be given greater weight.
He uses a massive amount of this search-based data to calculate a “slant quotient” for the agencies and that quotient tells you something about how bad the bias is, and in which direction. The best thing about this tool is that it’s not a relative metric. It doesn’t pit Fox News against everyone else in a relative contest. It pits each news agency against popular vernacular – a better standard of neutrality.
I have already purchased the book…I’m looking forward to his defense of the system. The SQs on his website seem about right to me (he can rate politicians as well as media corporations so you get some points of comparison)…and you can calculate your own political quotient there as well. For the record, I scored a 25.7 (50 would be neutral) – which is actually moderately conservative in an absolute framework…less conservative than John McCain and definitely not on the same planet as Michelle Bachmann. But ironically enough…MORE CONSERVATIVE than Fox News.
Food for thought.
Time and time again, I’ve heard the same narrative:
The democrats stand for low income families – people barely making by on the margins of life, the elderly, minorities, women, children, and the homeless. The republicans stand for millionaires and billionaires – the wealthy and the powerful; they stand for big business because big business is at the heart of American politics and they keep the rubes happy with meaningless tax cuts while they take away their support systems and social safety nets.
That is the essential message I get wherever I go these days. We need to recast that narrative, because it’s not a fair representation of the core values of the two parties. Let’s be clear…BOTH republicans AND democrats BELIEVE that they are standing for everyone who needs an ally. They both think their basic governing philosophy is better for the homeless and the poor and the sick and the elderly. Believing otherwise is believing propaganda (on both sides of the political spectrum).
Democrats think that the way to help the poor and the weak is to charge taxes against those who have more to give and to redistribute that wealth into programs intended to provide assistance to the needy. At core, democrats don’t think that Americans can or should take care of themselves because, at core, democrats don’t think we’ll do enough to help the disadvantaged get by on our own. In some cases, they’re right…there are definitely services that are best administered from the top down because organizing them would be difficult for ordinary citizens or even churches.
Republicans believe that the struggling poor benefit most from an economic system that places the incentive on innovation and capital investment. They believe that an unfettered economy allowed to function without excessive regulation benefits everyone by creating more jobs, more wealth to distribute in exchange for work, and more opportunity for the individual to invest in their own genius and create wealth out of nothing. We are currently fighting to avoid increases in capital gains taxes, income taxes for the wealthy, and corporate taxes because we believe these things will hurt job creation and keep more Americans poor and subservient to government aid…not because we think Joe Millionaire should keep all of his money and swim in it at night, and not because we dislike all of those people who the narrative casts as helpless and marginal.
That’s it, folks. There is an honest, yet very real core disagreement…this isn’t a game of heroes and villains, it’s not about identity politics (continuing on that train of thought from my previous post), and it’s not about nefarious characters ni the shadows scoring a fortune off our backs. There are, no doubt, bad dudes in Washington, but they cross party lines and they don’t ascribe to one core ideology over the other.
This needs to be said by any candidate from the GOP before I’ll get excited.