Meghan McCain writes about the sexist double-standards women in politics face:
The brutal criticism of Sarah Palin-which will only increase when her memoir comes out-is yet another example of the double standard and cruel treatment of women in politics. Sarah has been attacked for everything from her hair to her clothes to the number of children she gave birth to. Maureen Dowd even nicknamed her "Caribou Barbie." I can't even begin to think of what that kind of judgment-criticizing parts of your life that have nothing to do with what you stand for or want to accomplish politically-feels like.
Now, I'm not about to deny that women in politics often face double-standards and outright misogyny in the way the media treats them. They do, as I have often written. And that's something that should be addressed more frequently, so I'm glad McCain has done so.
But Maureen Dowd calling Sarah Palin "Caribou Barbie" isn't an example of a double-standard in which Dowd only makes such comments about women, it's an example of Dowd being a nasty and utterly pointless columnist who relentlessly mocks politicians -- male and female -- she dislikes, often focusing on their personal appearance or what she claims is their deviation from gender norms.
Dowd has called Barack Obama a "debutante" and a "pretty boy" and "effete" and compared him to Scarlett O'Hara. She repeatedly referred to John Edwards as "The Breck Girl" and a "Material Boy" and "Secretary of Hairdressing," and at least once dedicated an entire column to an Edwards hair cut. Dowd mocked Edwards for visiting "the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the 'Touch of Youth' facial, as well as trips 'into the intriguing world of makeup.'" (Dowd remained silent about John McCain's own foray into the "intriguing world of makeup" at the Pink Sapphire.) And Dowd famously wrote that Al Gore was "so feminized ... he's practically lactating." (See, Gore wore a brown suit, and ... uh ... Well, actually, that was about it.)
Of course, all of these insults from Dowd are fundamentally sexist in nature. She belittles male politicians she doesn't like by, basically, calling them women. The obvious underlying assumption is that being feminine is a bad thing. So even when she obsesses over a male politician's personal characteristics, she often does so in a way that indirectly insults women.
But Dowd's reference to Sarah Palin as "Caribou Barbie" isn't an example of her singling out women for criticism over "parts of [their] life that have nothing to do with what [they] stand for or want to accomplish politically." It's an example of her behaving like a mean-spirited seventh-grader with little of substance to say.
And it's a reminder that it actually understates the misogyny in Dowd's columns to suggest that she critiques the physical appearance of only women in politics.
According to THR, Esq., "Fox News' Glenn Beck has lost a claim that a website... was registered in bad faith and in violation of his trademark rights."
The post further notes that the crudely-named website's creator, Isaac Eiland-Hall, "argued to WIPO that he registered the website as a satirical critique of Beck's conspiratorial politics."
WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, is "dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest."
More from THR, Esq.:
WIPO's arbitration panel agreed that the website appeared "to be engaged in a parody of the style or methodology that (Eiland-Hall) appears genuinely to believe is employed by (Beck) in the provision of political commentary, and for that reason (Eiland-Hall) can be said to be making a political statement."
The domain name dispute resolution body added Eiland-Hall's speech was "strongly protected" under the First Amendment. Here's the decision.
Having won the case, Eiland-Hall rejoiced by giving the website domain to Beck with a thumb-in-the-nose letter:It bears observing that by bringing the WIPO complaint, you took what was merely one small critique meme, in a seas of internet memes, and turned it into a super-meme. Then, in pressing forward (by not withdrawing the complaint and instead filing additional briefs), you turned the super-meme into an object lesson in First Amendment principles...
Rather than choosing to strive for excellence and civic contribution, you simply pander the fears and insecurities of your audience. And in the process, you do them, and us all, a great deal of harm.
Shame on you Mr. Beck...
I doubt that most people even still care about this health care mini-mob footnote from this summer, but Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment continues to hype the sad tale of Kenneth Gladney. (I'm too bored to recap all the soggy details; see here, here, here, here, and here.)
Last week BigGovernment joined forces with Glenn Beck to claim Democrats were in bed with Missouri law enforcement and were covering up the (exceptionally unimportant) story of the Gladney assault. Now, Breitbart and company and pretty much accusing a local District Attorney in St. Louis of covering up the alleged crime involving SEIU union members, or the "thugs" who beat up Gladney in August.
BigGovernment on Monday breathlessly posted the St. Louis Police Dept. report on the summer arrest and demanded to know why the union "thugs" haven't been formally charged and prosecuted. The funny part is that the crew at BigGovernment has such a shaky grasp of how journalism works that they act like posting an everyday police report proves that all crazy their allegations are true.
Not quite. So what did we learn from the uneventful arrest report?
--That the two SEIU union members in question were booked that night on charges of third degree assault. I kid you not. The overexcited Breitbart treats the Gladney story like it's the Kennedy assassination, yet it involves a couple of union reps who might face third degree assault charges, which in the state of Missouri are punishable by 15 days in jail and a $500 fine. Read that part again and chuckle along at the over-hyped drama.
--That's right, third degree assault. But how could Gladney have been savagely beaten, as many right-wing bloggers originally claim, if the men responsible that night were only tagged with third degree assault, arguably the lightest possible charge for the offense?
--The arresting officer did not see any injuries on Gladney at the time. Again, Breitbart and others claim union thugs practically beat Gladney to death on that dark Missouri night. (i.e. He was kicked in the face, beaten, and dragged.) But the St. Louis Police Department officer who immediately arrived on the scene did not observe any injuries. (Although Gladney's clothes were in "disarray.") The officer's observation is in sync with the YouTube video of the Gladney altercation that was posted online. Moments after the alleged assault, Gladney is seen on video walking around looking relatively unharmed without any apparent injuries.
--But guess who did require medical attention that night because of an injury sustained "during the conflict with Victim Gladney," according to the police account? Who was transported by the police to the local ER? Answer: One of the union members who was charged with assault. That would be the union members who, when you watch the YouTube video of the altercation, is seen sprawled out on the pavement with a man standing over him.
--The key witness from the police report is the same witness who attended the St. Louis health care forum last August in order to protest Democratic initiatives, and who posted his account of the Gladney incident on the hyper-partisan and union-hating BigGovernment site, which might raise questions for some about the witness' motivations in the case.
In other words, the police report that Breitbart so excitedly points to proves virtually nothing in terms of his grand right-wing conspiracy that the White House directly ordered union members to beat up health care protesters, that union reps in St. Louis unleashed a "brutal" beating, or that it's a deep mystery as to why no formal charges have been filed in the case. Reading the report, it's no mystery at all. In fact, the lack of formal charges is utterly routine in terms of minor assault cases like this.
But of course that doesn't stop BigGovernment from claiming the St. Louis DA is deeply involved in this third degree assault case, because DA's have nothing better to do with their time, right? (Can't wait for Beck to go to the chalkboard and spell out the web of connections between the DA's office and the White House.)
UPDATED: BTW, Gladney's old pal from St. Louis thinks the whole story about a political beat-down was a scam cooked up by Gladney's attorney/agent in order to make money.
UPDATED: More pie-in-the sky conspiracy from BigGovernment. i.e. Nobody has been prosecuted in the Gladney case. We think somebody should. So here are all the imaginary dots we're going to connect to prove our absurd claim.
Also note that according to this latest dramatic account, Gladney was "gang assaulted." But according to the St. Louis Police Dept. report, there were no visible injuries that night.
UPDATED: As I've mentioned before, I have no idea if formal charges will be filed in the St. Louis case, and I don't really care. All I know is that watching Breitbart and his imaginative pals manufacture a wild, sprawling, hysterical political conspiracy tale from a minor third degree assault charge would be sad, if it weren't so funny to watch.
Washington Post reporter Dan Balz, in an online Q&A yesterday:
Silver Spring, Md.: I wonder if you could state the evidence for your premise of a "Republican resurgence". ... With two unsurprising (from the vantage point of a year ago) gubernatorial results and one historical flip toward the Dems in NY, isn't it as valid to call last Tuesday a further shift leftward?
Dan Balz: I don't think I used the word "resurgence" in the piece that ran on Sunday. I do think it's fair to say they have taken some concrete steps toward the beginning of a revival. ...
The headline on the Q&A? "The Republican Resurgence":
Balz is right: He didn't use the word "resurgence" in his Sunday article, which acknowledges problems the GOP faces:
One year after hitting bottom in the aftermath of President Obama's election, Republicans have taken their first concrete steps toward recovery. But they remain an embattled and divided force, facing an electorate still skeptical about their capacity to govern and embroiled in a struggle between party regulars and populist conservative forces over how to return to power.
This year, the GOP has recorded historic lows in party identification, according to a string of national surveys. And despite concerns about Obama's agenda, the public still trusts him and the Democrats over the Republicans to deal with many national problems.
The question for Republicans now is whether Tuesday's victories will prove to be aberrations or be seen as the first real signs of a party revival.
But the contrast between Balz' caution and the certainty of the title of his online Q&A is a reminder that there are plenty of people at the Post reading too much into last week's elections.
I'm goofing a bit here on the beloved, and simplistic, right-wing meme that's been popular for years now as big city daily newspapers continue to shed readers. The claim is that newspapers are shrinking because they're so darn liberal; because they've lost touch with their readers.
Forget about the Internet or how free media has transformed our culture. Readers are canceling their subscriptions because there are too many liberal columnists! And hey, that's how the marketplace works.
What's so ironic is that it turns out it's the WashTimes and the New York Post, two unabashedly conservative newspapers, are losing perhaps the most readers of any newspaper. Both dailies have cost their owners billions of dollars in losses. Indeed, the owners don't even pretend the papers could earn a profit in the marketplace. Instead the dailies act as subsidized conservative workfare projects, paid for in the name of giving the owners a (money-losing) media platform.
Increasingly though, the news for the WashTimes and New York Post is getting so grim that perhaps even the Rev. Sung Myung Moon and Rupert Murdoch, respectively, are starting to have second thoughts. The Post, for instance, has lost nearly 200,000 readers since 2007. And at the Moonie Times, executives were swept out of office this week in the wake of more dismal financial numbers.
If only the dailies weren't so conservative, maybe they wouldn't be losing so much money.
From the New York Post's November 10 editorial:
Late Saturday night, House Democrats slipped through the largest piece of legislation America's seen in decades.
If it becomes law, it would radically alter American life in countless ways -- for the worse.
The pain would kick in as soon as 2011, putting at risk any chance of economic recovery. (No wonder gold soared past $1,000 an ounce yesterday.)
And vital medical decisions would need Washington's OK, meaning they'd be based on political considerations.
All told, a huge setback for America, yet one possibly headed your way soon.
The Fox Nation is currently highlighting a November 6 Red State post titled "Another Czar Bites the Dust" that claims that "Internet Czar" (actually, special assistant to the president for science, technology, and innovation policy) Susan Crawford was the latest "body tossed under the insatiable Obama bus."
So according to the active imaginations of right-wing bloggers, the announcement that Crawford will leave the White House (sometime in January) is their latest victory in the Fox-led witch hunt against supposed "czars." The only problem with that theory is that there isn't any evidence that it's true, and there is significant evidence that it's not.
The Washington Post first reported Crawford's planned departure in an October 27 piece that undermines the right-wing media's narrative of a "czar" forced to resign amidst growing public outcry. According to the Post, "Crawford will leave her position in January to return to the University of Michigan Law School where she is a tenured professor, according to the Obama administration." The Post reported that Crawford "has been on temporary leave from the university to serve in the White House" but that her "sabbatical, which began two months after she received tenure at the University of Michigan, will end in January." The Post quoted an Obama spokesperson saying:
Susan has done an outstanding job coordinating technology policy at the National Economic Council where her expertise on issues from intellectual property to the Internet has been invaluable. ... We understand that she needs to return to her responsibilities in Ann Arbor, but we will miss having her wise counsel in the White House.
So what evidence do right-wing media have that the Post report is wrong or that the Obama administration is lying about why Crawford is leaving? Well, the Red State post that Fox Nation highlights cites two sources: a November 2 "Washington Prowler" column in The American Spectator and a November 5 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog, which in turn cites only the Spectator column. And here's what the Spectator claims:
Crawford resigned, citing the need to return to her tenured position at the University of Michigan law school, but White House sources say that when Crawford signed on to the administration, she told them the university had given her a two-year waiver before requiring a return. "There may have been miscommunication there, but we thought it was two years," says the White House source. Similar waivers -- usually two or three years -- were given to a number of academics who joined the Bush Administration in various positions back in 2001.
Crawford's exit comes at a time when some Obama Administration aides, after seeing the fallout from the resignation of Van Jones and the spotlight placed on leftists inside the administration, like Anita Dunn, wonder if it is too late to pull back many of the more radical aides now placed in a number of different cabinet level departments, including the Department of Justice, and the Energy and Education departments, and federal agencies. "They haven't done us any good on any level," says the White House aide. "And now they are just a bunch of targets on our back that we can't shake."
So that's it. A right-wing gossip column claims to have somehow obtained a statement from an anonymous "White House source" saying something that appears to contradict what the White House is telling actual journalists.
As any regular reader of the Spectator knows, however, highly improbable anonymous quotes are a staple of the Washington Prowler column. For example, "Allahpundit," a conservative writer for Michelle Malkin's Hot Air blog, has made the following observations about the reliability of the Prowler's reporting:
There's another apparent problem with Fox Nation's latest tale. The Washington Post first reported Crawford's planned departure the evening of Tuesday, October 27. But Glenn Beck -- who had criticized Crawford a couple times in the past, and who was on the air that entire week -- never declared victory. He never even mentioned on Fox News that she planned to step down. In fact, a Nexis search reveals no examples of anyone on Fox News discussing Crawford's departure.
If this really was the great right-wing victory Fox Nation now wants us to believe it was, wouldn't Fox News hosts have mentioned it two weeks ago?
Back in July, after Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist, NBC News' First Read blog stated:
What's most amazing about this episode is that what Beck said isn't a fireable or even a SUSPENDABLE offense by his bosses. There was a time when outrageous rants like this would actually cost the ranters their jobs. But not anymore; if anything, it's now encouraged
Today, we found out why there were no repercussions whatsoever for Beck's comment - his boss agrees with him. As Think Progress noted, in an interview with Sky News Australia, Rupert Murdoch said of the comment:
On the racist thing, that caused a grilling. But he did make a very racist comment. Ahhh...about, you know, blacks and whites and so on, and which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And um, that was something which perhaps shouldn't have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right.
So there you have it. Fox News' host calls the president of the United States a racist, Fox News' owner agrees with him, and Fox News' president has a long history of appealing to racial fears and biases for political gain as a Republican strategist. But of course, Fox News is a legitimate news organization.
From Pamela Geller's November 9 Atlas Shrugs post: