Oh, Mika

Mika, Mika, Mika.

You couldn’t just leave last week’s Huffington Post column be, could you?

The first post, while semi-controversial I suppose, was actually thoughtful, and probably mostly well received … and, then you really did it.  You had to push it, and in so doing managed to insult feminists – yourself included.  I hate to break it to you, but you are pretty much a feminist.  I only say ‘pretty much’ because you do your DAMNEDEST to try and convince yourself that you are not.

You may very well be correct, that women steadfastly pursuing perfection in their career path should not forget to have kids … really, that’s just biology.  And, not every woman can afford to freeze her eggs … so, in that case you are correct – we shouldn’t forget.  If we want them, that is.  I thought you were pretty clear in conveying that message, and I don’t think there were as many women disagreeing with you as you think.  It may have been that they were disagreeing with you for a few more reasons than you may be willing to admit.

Reason #1 – You are an intelligent woman who – to the absolute frustration of feminists everywhere – continue to allow yourself to be Joe’s doormat.  Scarborough is also an intelligent person, but you do not agree with him A LOT … and, rather than speak your mind, you hide your face in embarrassment and don’t call him out on ONE IOTA OF ANYTHING EVER. That’s irritating, Mika.  We feel badly when you let him do this, and lose respect for you each time you do.

Reason #2 – See what great advice this is Mika? “… you have to be fearless and force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone.” How wonderful, and true.  Great advice from a successful woman, I’d say.  Or how about this wonderful thing? “Don’t make your journey through life harder by placing rules on yourself like, ‘I can’t get married till I get promoted to your dream job.'” See, that’s pretty okay advice, and very soundly feminist … why should women place rules on themselves?  Answer – they shouldn’t.  They can have it all, and they oftentimes do.  This is why it’s so uncomfortable for us to watch you squirm and whisper your opinion rather than shout it!

Reason #3 Today’s near retraction of all of the encouraging words you give to women who wish to have it all … Mika, it’s very disappointing.  First: “… since diapers, bras and babies have been seen as symbols of oppression from the Old World run by the likes of Don Draper … “ Oh, Mika.  That’s not what feminism is all about … this makes me sad.  I recently worked on a story myself that was about a seminar especially designed for women.  The first thing the women – strangely – felt the need to do was disqualify it as ‘feminist.’  “We aren’t about man-hating or male-bashing,” they said.   As if this sums up the feminist experience any more than your assertion that it’s all about babies and bras.  Well, these ladies were about the same age as you, so maybe I can only assume that you aren’t old enough to have been faced with a woman’s experience of having only recently been given the right to vote, nor young enough to have little girls dressed up as nymphettes or Lolita’s thrust in your face in advertising through your teen years … maybe, but that might be ageist of me to assume.

Oh Mika, you couldn’t stop there.  No, you continued:  “For those who still want to take off their bras and burn them, so be it. But I’d rather find one to wear that is pretty. And when it comes off, its not because it’s being thrown into the fireplace.” Of course, Mika, because no feminist would be caught dead wearing pretty shoes or a bustier?  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Mika, don’t let Joe or the rest of the team rub off on you – Joe may think that all feminists are butch, but you know that’s not true.

On behalf of all feminists, we wish the following Mika would come back:

 

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ACORN Worker From Pimp Video Reported Incident to Police?

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Someone tweeted the link to this AP story this morning (I don’t remember who), and wondered if Fox News would be reporting this.  The headline is “Police: ACORN worker in video reported couple.”

With a hed like that, I wouldn’t expect Fox News to report that story, but if they actually read the story, I’m thinking they would.  As a defense of ACORN, this story is a miserable failure.  Here’s the meat:

National City police said Monday that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to with information on possible human smuggling.

Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

So, he didn’t actually “contact authorities” as much as he called up his cousin for advice.  And, he waited 2 days to do it.  Not exactly a slate-wiper.

No, the real defense of ACORN is that this story isn’t what the right is saying it is, and that its trajectory is a dangerous one for anyone the right doesn’t like.

ACORN isn’t perfect, that much is clear, and they’ve done a poor job of fending off this attack.  However, the willingness of the media, and the US Senate, to accept the findings of a partisan activist and his sponsor is truly frightening.  That willingness, according to a just-released study, extends back as far as the eye can see on the ACORN story.

Rachel Sklar posted a good summary of that report yesterday, which brings into stark relief that which most reasonable people who followed the 2008 campaign already know: coverage of the ACORN story has been uniformly unfair.  This report just gives us the numbers to prove it.

The shame of the current iteration of the ACORN smear is that the media, and the US Senate, have allowed ACORN’s enemies to be both prosecutor and judge, letting James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart decide which evidence can be seen, and how to interpret it.

Sure, O’Keefe’s tapes are damning, but he and Breitbart have refused to answer legitimate questions about O’Keefe’s “investigation.”  While ACORN has been defensive and evasive, O’Keefe and Breitbart have been given a pass for stonewalling, and even for apparent lying.  They went on record as saying that O’Keefe wasn’t turned away at any ACORN offices, a claim contradicted by police.  While Breitbart is happy to comment on self-serving aspects of this story, he refused to respond to questions raised about O’Keefe’s selective editing of transcripts, or O’Keefe’s funding.

The point is, O’Keefe’s reporting, as it has been presented, wouldn’t have gotten past any news editor in the country.  Breitbart is well aware of this.  He told me in a phone interview that his “strategy” of tightly controlling information about O’Keefe’s investigation, and rolling them out on a careful timetable, was specifically designed to force the mainstream media to cover this story.  In his view, he’s getting around some kind of bias.  In mine, he’s circumnavigating the editorial process, and doing it beautifully.

What’s more incredible is the contrast between the media’s response to O’Keefe’s tightly-controlled, factually light videos, and the work of Michael Moore, an activist filmmaker who is much more transparent about his methods.

Even more disturbing than that is the contrast between the Senate’s response to the decades-old health care crisis, versus the days-old ACORN crisis.

The problems at ACORN may, indeed, run deep, but we’ll probably never know, since they’ve been prematurely convicted in the public eye.  What we do know is that the Democrats in the Senate and the mainstream media have set a course for our country to be led around by the nose by the likes of James O’Keefe.  I guess the pimp costume really worked on them.

Keith Olbermann Brags About Getting Scooped

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On last night’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann named two of my colleagues, Colby Hall and Robert Quigley, in his Worst Persons segment.  The reason for his bestowal of this honor (which, on the heels of a Bill O’Reilly shout-out, ought to have conservatives clamoring for cool Mediaite gear) was this piece of commentary by Quigley, and this followup.  I’ll let Keith explain it to you:

Now, I’m sure Colby and Quig will have their own response to this, but I just wanted to point a few things out.  First of all, Olbermann ends the segment by smugly waiting for an explanation as to how he could have put the kibosh on the ad, since he only heard about this unauthorized ad from that same Mediaite story.  You know what Mediaite’s response should be?  “You’re welcome, Keith!”  Whether you liked Quigley’s commentary or not, he scooped Olbermann about his-own-self fair and square.  (So did the Rachel Maddow Show, apparently.)

Secondly, remember that rule Keith cited about reaching out for comment before you write?  Does he mean like this, when he accused Dan Cooper of conspiring with Fox News to set up a fraudulent Twitter account in Olbermann’s name?  A Twitter account that turned out to be a legit one run by MSNBC?  Olbermann didn’t seek out fact one in this case, an example I bring up only because of my familiarity with it.

So, how did Olbermann set the record straight, several weeks after I, among others, advised his producers of the error?  By issuing the following non-apology pseudo-correction, which was stricken from MSNBC’s archived version of the segment:

Finally, I would point out that none of this changes the substance of what Keith Olbermann was saying in that Special Comment.  It was a fine piece of commentary that I praised when I first saw it.  My question, sir, then, is this, sir: If that Special Comment was worth the paper it was printed on, why on Earth would you deny Change Congress permission to use it?

Thin-Skinned Olbermann Gets Torpedoed by LA Times

Steve Krakauer wondered, Friday, if the LA Times would make Countdown’s “Worst Persons” list for mixing Keith Olbermann’s newscast up with MTV’s “Jackass” in its TV listings.  Sure enough, it did.  In the number 3 spot, Olbermann went off on a long, mean-spirited rant to counter what he imagined to be an insult to his audience size.  Here’s the clip, followed by the Times’ hilariously brief, devastating rejoinder:

Read the rest at Mediaite!

Busted! MSNBC Caught Dishonestly Editing Town Hall Gun Footage

Newsbusters has Newsbusted MSNBC for applying some pretty clumsy edits to some news footage in order to conceal the racial identity of a black man who brought an AR-15 rifle to a Presidential town hall in Phoenix.  The segment was a discussion about a possible racial component to the recent rash of gun-toting town hall attendees.

Here’s the MSNBC clip:

Here’s a CNN clip that shows the same angle from which the MSNBC shot is cropped.

There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of sloppy work.  While a talking heads segment might not seem like the fulcrum upon which journalism rests, this is exactly the kind of manipulation that destroys the credibility of all journalists.

Which brings me to my busting of Newsbusters and Hot Air.  If you are going to excoriate someone for leaving out important information, then you ought to be including all of the pertinent information, too.

Neither Newsbusters, nor Hot Air, pointed out that the man with the AR-15 was actually put up to it by a conservative radio host.  They also each failed to mention that he was only one of twelve people who carried weapons to that event.

On the other hand, both Newsbusters and Hot Air are openly partisan websites, which, I imagine they’d say, is their entire point about MSNBC.

Hey, Folks, it’s the House Healthcare Bill By Request! Section 312 Subsections B and C

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(in radio-guy voice) Welcome to Tommy eh-eh-eh-X’s House Healthcare Morning Zoo! (funny sound effect)  This next request comes from the poster with the most-er, the tweep who will make you weep, Kimberly HANEYYYYY! (cue sexy sax music)

Kimberly writes in “Dear Tommy EH-EH-EH-X!!! (explosion sound effect), please decipher Pg 145 Line 15-17 – in your words, please.”

Happy to do it, Kimmie, so buckle the (BLEEEP) up, baby, ‘cus here..it..COMES! Continue reading

Pelosi and Hoyer Undercut Message With ‘Un-American’ Rhetoric

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote an op-ed piece for USA Today that makes a lot of excellent points about the current healthcare debate.  Unfortunately, they lead with the kind of loaded statement that plays into the right’s “stifling dissent” meme.  The title of the piece is ‘Un-American’ attacks can’t derail health care debate.

Forget, for a moment, whether Pelosi and Hoyer actually make an effective case for the Un-Americaninity of the town hall protesters.  For the top two members of the House of Representatives to use the phrase “Un-American” bespeaks a tone-deafness beyond belief, evoking echoes of McCarthyism.  It also represents a hypocritical brandishing of the patriotism cudgel that the Democrats have just spent 8 years decrying.

The shame of it all is that the loaded phrase only appears once in the body of the article, and doesn’t really add much to the proceedings:

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.

The fact is, there are many things you can call the protesters, but “Un-American” isn’t one of them, especially not from a liberal standpoint.  Are they rude?  Misinformed?  In some cases, delusional?  All of these are expressions of freedom that are as American as an apple pie baked by a bald eagle at a baseball game.

While they are correct in denouncing things like effigies of specific members of congress, they are clearly referring to the disruptive protesters as a whole, and the language of McCarthy is inappropriate and unhelpful.

The American response to these protesters is not to call them “Un-American,” but to shine the light of truth on them.  When they chant, invite them up on stage and see what facts they’ve brought with them.  The balance of Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s piece contain some facts that are pretty tough to argue with:

The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice. It will allow every American who likes his or her current plan to keep it. And it will free doctors and patients to make the health decisions that make the most sense, not the most profits for insurance companies.

Reform will mean stability and peace of mind for the middle class. Never again will medical bills drive Americans into bankruptcy; never again will Americans be in danger of losing coverage if they lose their jobs or if they become sick; never again will insurance companies be allowed to deny patients coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Lower costs, better care

Reform will mean affordable coverage for all Americans. Our plan’s cost-lowering measures include a public health insurance option to bring competitive pressure to bear on rapidly consolidating private insurers, research on health outcomes to better inform the decisions of patients and doctors, and electronic medical records to help doctors save money by working together. For seniors, the plan closes the notorious Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” that denies drug coverage to those with between $2,700 and $6,100 per year in prescriptions.

Reform will also mean higher-quality care by promoting preventive care so health problems can be addressed before they become crises. This, too, will save money. We’ll be a much healthier country if all patients can receive regular checkups and tests, such as mammograms and diabetes exams, without paying a dime out-of-pocket.

Scary Obama OFA Edict:”Visit Rep. Adler’s office in Toms River”

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What kind of sorcery is this?  Organizing for America sent me an email (a technology that I’m still not convinced won’t at least “borrow without asking” my soul) urging me to visit my local Democratic congressman.  Eerily so: (via email)

According to our records, you live near Rep. John Adler’s office in Toms River, NJ.

We’re through the looking glass, here, people. They know where I live! Continue reading

Is Keith Olbermann Finished?

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Ordinarily, a story at Redstate with the title “How Does Keith Olbermann Have A Job?” would be about as noteworthy as a Megan Fox story at Asylum.  There’s a little twist to this one, though, as conservative gadabout Caleb Howe had an unexpected tag-team partner on this one.  Perhaps this is a sign of the Apocalypse, but the Redstate mainstay sourced HuffPo’s Jason Linkins, and the two teamed up for a convincing trouncing of Olbermann.

The host of Countdown has had a very bad week.  Caleb and Jason lay out the case against Olbermann with lots of tasty sauces and seasonings which I recommend you sample, but it boils down to this: Olbermann got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and now he’s trying to put the cookies back in the jar.  The problem is, they’re all chewed-up and spit-covered.  GE and Rupert Murdoch made a deal to silence the feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly, said deal to commence on June 1.  Now that the deal has become public, Olbermann is trying to erase the cowardly way in which he complied with the deal.

On June 1, Olbermann delivered an emotionally impassioned speech about how he was going to retire his Billo feud, impressions and all, in order to make the world safe from O’Reilly’s murderous talk show.  At the time, it struck me as the oddest, most overwrought thing I had seen Olbermann do.

The fact that he allowed his corporate masters to rape whatever journalistic integrity he had was bad enough, but to cover it up with an announcement from atop such an altitudinous mare turns walking this back into a journalistic Bridge to Nowhere.

That’s not the least of Olbermann’s problems, though.  His whole “I’m shocked, shocked to find that there are lobbyists hosing my show!” act when banishing Richard Wolffe from the show holds about as much water as a paper shot glass.  Again with the mushy, partially digested cookies.

While Caleb wonders how Olbermann still has a job, Linkins thinks he will pull through this episode.  I agree with Linkins that this incident won’t end Countdown, but it hurts, and there are other not-so-good signs.  Rachel Maddow bested her Countdown lead-in for the first time this week, perhaps a signal that the angry liberal niche is being overtaken by the chilled-out one.

I hope that Olbermann does adapt and survive.  Despite his flaws, I remain a fan.  I’ll take Howard Beale over Ted Baxter any day.

Going forward, he ought to stick to what he does best, which is everything but delivering  journalism lectures (how stoked do you think Dana Milbank is about this?).  When you’re serving up (admittedly tasty) Hot Pockets, you shouldn’t act like you’re Jaques Pepin.

To the liberals who are skipping Keith to watch cool-kid Rachel Maddow at 9, I suggest making room for both.  Sure, everything looks great now, but if the GOP makes a comeback in 2010, we’re going to need Keith around to spit a little fire.

DNC “Angry Mob” Ad Spurs Online Uproar, Questions About Accuracy

The Democratic National Committee released a web ad Tuesday that seems to have hit a “Marathon Man”-style nerve town_hall_birtherwith conservatives online.  Entitled “Enough of the Mob,” the ad features clips of recent disruptions at health care town hall meetings, including a “Birther” with what looks like a large wonton wrapper in a Ziploc bag.

The ad has sparked a wave of anger and defiance from conservatives online, who collected their grievances under the hashtag “I am the mob.” The common refrain is that the ad amounts to demonization of dissent, similar to 2007’s “Moveon.org Resolution”, and fearmongering, similar to conservative attempts to convince people that the reform bill mandates euthanasia.

The media, meanwhile, continues to debate the authenticity of these protests as grassroots movement vs. special interest-funded astroturf.

Mary Katherine Ham, however, has broken one of the spokes in the DNC’s ad.  She reports at The Weekly Standard that the Right Principlesplaybook” featured in the ad doesn’t actually spring from “high-level Republican political operatives” at all:

Right Principles has a Facebook group with 23 members and a Twitter account with five followers. MacGuffie describes himself as an “opponent of leftist thinking in America,” and told me he’s “never pulled a lever” for a Republican or Democrat on a federal level. Yet this Connecticut libertarian’s influence over a national, orchestrated Republican health-care push-back is strong, indeed, if you listen to liberal pundits and the Democratic National Committee, who have crafted a nefarious web out of refutable evidence.

It would be hard to characterize these folks as high-level, even in today’s Republican Party.

Ham goes on to deconstruct the route between Think Progress’ story, MSNBC’s reporting of it, and the DNC ad.

This is a great example of the pitfalls of taking shortcuts.  The DNC would have been better served by laying out the funding sources of healthcare reform opposition, a difficult concept to fit into a 2-second graphic.

As for attacking the protesters themselves, the wisdom is questionable.  The White House has avoided this so far, drawing a line between the protesters and the special interests behind them.  The risk is that ordinary Americans will identify with the protesters, and see this as bullying.

On the other hand, the anger of the right at this ad might play right into the DNC’s hands, making opposition to healthcare reform seem unattractive.

A less risky, but tough to fit into 60 seconds, strategy might be to engage the protesters.  Keith Olbermann reported last night on just such an example, a town hall meeting by Texas Democrat Gene Green that seemed to go pretty well.  Given a fair hearing, it’s tough to relate to the fact that almost all of them have adequate healthcare, yet they oppose extending it to those who don’t.

In any case, it’s obvious that what the healthcare debate needs is less fearmongering, and more factmongering.