Huffington Post's Sam Stein reports (emphasis added):
The New York Post editor fired after speaking out against a cartoon depicting the author of the president's stimulus package as a dead chimpanzee has sued the paper. And as part of her complaint, Sandra Guzman levels some remarkable, embarrassing, and potentially damaging allegations.
Guzman has filed a complaint against News Corporation, the New York Post and the paper's editor in chief Col Allan in the Southern District Court of New York, alleging harassment as well as "unlawful employment practices and retaliation."
As part of the 38-page complaint, Guzman paints the Post newsroom as a male-dominated frat house and Allan in particular as sexist, offensive and domineering. Guzman alleges that she and others were routinely subjugated to misogynistic behavior. She says that hiring practices at the paper -- as well as her firing -- were driven by racial prejudices rather than merit.
And she recounts the paper's D.C. bureau chief stating that the publication's goal was to "destroy [President] Barack Obama."
The most outrageous charges, however, involve Allan. According to the complaint:
"On one occasion when Ms. Guzman and three female employees of the Post were sharing drinks at an after-work function. Defendant Allan approached the group of women, pulled out his blackberry and asked them 'What do you think of this?' On his blackberry was a picture of a naked man lewdly and openly displaying his penis. When Ms. Guzman and the other female employees expressed their shock and disgust at being made to view the picture, Defendant Allan just smirked... [N]o investigation was ever conducted and the Company failed to take any steps to address her complaints."
Guzman's complaint goes on:
"On another occasion, upon information and belief, Defendant Allan approached a female employee during a party at the Post, rubbed his penis up against her and made sexually suggestive comments about her body, including her breasts, causing that female employee to feel extremely uncomfortable and fearing to be alone with him."
And finally: "... [W]hile serving as the top editor at the Post, Defendant Allan took two Australian political leaders to the strip club Scores in Manhattan..."
Guzman alleges that while at the paper, misogynistic and racist behavior was directed at her specifically. According to the complaint, she was called "sexy" and "beautiful" and referred to as "Cha Cha #1" by Les Goodstein, the senior vice president of NewsCorp. After doing an interview with Major League Baseball star Pedro Martinez, she says Allan asked her whether the pitcher "had been carrying a gun or a machete during the interview" -- a line Guzman said was racist and offensive.
When she would walk by certain offices at the paper, Guzman alleges, editors would routinely sing songs from West Side Story -- a nod to her Hispanic heritage -- including the tune: "I want to live in America."
Guzman also makes the following allegations to supplement her case that the Post harbored an environment that was offensive to women and minority employees.
"A White male senior editor sexually propositioned a young female Copy Assistant, telling her that 'If you give me a blowjob, I will give you a permanent reporter job.'"
"The last five employees who were recently terminated by Paul Carlucci, the Publisher of the Post.... Have all been black and/or women of color."
Read Stein's entire piece and the compliant in full here.
Politico's Ben Smith picks up an interesting angle to the story:
The New York Post and New York Daily News, for a time, complemented their fierce competition for circulation with bitter attacks on each other's staff and on their owners, Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman.
But Murdoch and Zuckerman, as has been reported, reached a truce of sorts, and they've been reported to be in sporadic talks about some sort of merger of -- at least -- the paper's back ends. And the clearest signal I've seen in a while of that rapprochement came this week, when a fired Post employee, Sandra Guzman, filed suit against the paper and its brawling Australian editor, Col Allan.
The Daily News offered a sanitized version of the story: "A New York Post editor sacked after complaining that a cartoon likened President Obama to a monkey sued the paper on Monday, claiming rampant racism and sexism in the newsroom," but detailed none of the actual allegations.
So now know that the CEO of News Corp thinks President Obama is racist. The rather shocking revelation came from a recent interview, where Murdoch was asked specifically about Fox News' Glenn Beck, who famously called Obama (or, "this guy") a "racist."
This was Murdoch's response [emphasis added]:
On the racist thing, that caused a grilling. But he [Obama] 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 [Beck] was talking about, he was right.
Beck's "racist" attack was made in the wake of the Prof. Gates/Sgt. Crowley controversy in Cambridge, MA., in July. After Obama addressed the issue and made news with his comments during a July 22, press conference, Beck then called Obama a "racist." And today Murdoch claims that in that context, Obama made "a very racist comment."
I'll put this bluntly: What the hell is Rupert Murdoch talking about?
Because these were Obama's remarks, in full, from his July 22, press conference. Good luck finding the "very racist comment":
Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house, there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place -- so far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now so -- (laughter) -- it probably wouldn't happen. But let's say my old house in Chicago -- (laughter) -- here I'd get shot. (Laughter.)
But so far, so good. They're reporting -- the police are doing what they should. There's a call, they go investigate what happens. My understanding is at that point Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in, I'm sure there's some exchange of words, but my understanding is, is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house. And at that point, he gets arrested for disorderly conduct -- charges which are later dropped.
Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.
As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in this society. That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made.
And yet the fact of the matter is, is that this still haunts us. And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and oftentime for no cause casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody is going to be.
The Washington Post reports today that "White House communications director Anita Dunn will step down from her post at the end of the month and Dan Pfeiffer, her deputy, will take over, according to sources familiar with the move." Dunn, as you may recall, found herself to be the subject of Glenn Beck's considerable ire, following her apt description of Fox News as an "opinion journalism masquerading as news." Beck repeatedly smeared Dunn and grossly distorted her words to claim, among other things, that she "worships" and "idolizes" "her hero" Mao Zedong. In smearing Dunn, Beck overlooked that numerous conservatives -- including Barry Goldwater's "alter ego" Stephen C. Shadegg, Newt Gingrich, and GOP strategist Ralph Reed -- have approvingly cited the tactics of Mao, Vladimir Lenin, and the Viet Cong, stated that they had used those tactics in their political work or have otherwise highlighted their philosophies.
But before Beck declares victory in purging the White House of a "radical" "revolutionary," he should probably be aware that Dunn's position as the White House communications director was always meant to be temporary. As the Politico reported on April 30, after Ellen Moran stepped down as White House Communications Director, Dunn agreed to take over on an interim basis. Politico reported: "Dunn will start working next week in an interim capacity until the president settles on a permanent replacement for Moran. Dunn had initially avoided entering the administration with her fellow campaign veterans. But she has continued to serve as a key outside adviser, regularly joining strategy sessions with other members of Obama's inner circle, and was an obvious choice for members of the close-knit West Wing." Also, I hate to break it to Beck, but Dunn's not going to be going far. According to the Washington Post, Dunn "will return to Squier Knapp Dunn, the consulting firm where she is a partner, but will remain as a consultant to the White House on the communications and strategic matters."
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.