Saturday, June 13, 2009

NOW and David Letterman

From Xrlq, wonder of wonders, NOW is actually criticizing someone for making sexually degrading remarks about a conservative woman and her daughter. Patterico and Allah also noted it. But I doubt that NOW has actually grown a spine as Xrlq suggests. I looked through their archives and there was nothing at all about the weeks of sexually degrading leftist hate visited upon on Carrie Prejean. That alone shows how politically biased this list is. They do criticize a few political personalities on the left for insensitivity on women's issues and they do criticize entertainers for sexually degrading remarks aimed at Governor Palin, but no political personality (I include commentators and reporters in that) on the left is criticized for making sexual attacks on women of the right. The two entertainers criticized for their attacks on Palin are David Letterman and Eminem. Frankly, David Letterman seems a lot less leftist than most in the New York entertainment business, and Eminem is grotesquely gynophobic, so I don't think you can give NOW too much credit on either of those.

By contrast, three conservative commentators are criticized for taking shots at women of the left: G. Gordon Liddy, Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly. The criticism of Liddy is a good one --he was acting like a pig-- but the criticisms of Beck and O'Reilly are partisan (I first wrote "embarrassingly partisan", but after NOW's reaction to Clinton and to O.J., they obviously cannot be embarrassed). Beck was criticized for criticizing Obama for his affirmative-action stance in picking Supreme Court nominees. O'Reilly was criticized twice, once for comparing a woman to the Wicked Witch of the West and once for doing a Michael-Moore ambush on a leftist woman blogger.

When O'Reilly (actually a female producer) did the ambush, they called it "stalking" to make it sound like sexually violent behavior but I didn't see any criticisms of Michael Moore himself. If they really think that camera ambushes are bad, this would have been a good time to criticize Micheal Moore, just like they took the criticism of David Letterman as a good opportunity to remind everyone how mean some conservatives were to Chelsea Clinton (if Rush really called a 13-year-old girl a dog on the air then he should be ashamed of himself, but I doubt that NOW is reporting his remarks accurately). As to O'Reilly's allusion to "The Wizard of Oz", it was not very nice, but the woman it was directed at, Helen Thomas can throw around insults with the best of them and I don't see how calling a woman the Wicked Witch of the West is sexist since men are often compared to unflattering male fictional characters.

So, although NOW should be congratulated for being able to suppress their partisanship long enough to criticize a relatively conservative entertainer for making a statutory-rape joke about a fourteen-year-old daughter of a Republican, let's not get too carried away congratulating them their new-found integrity until they show that it can actually apply in more politically-charged circumstances.

UPDATE: foxfire in the comments has unearthed a link that discusses the alleged case where Rush Limbaugh called Chelsea Clinton a dog. What actually happened: Rush (or his camera crew) showed a picture of a dog when Rush wanted a picture of Chelsea. Rush claimed immediately that it was an error and apologized immediately and then apologized again a few days later, again claiming that it was an error. Furthermore, if it was a joke, it's hard to see how it was aimed at Chelsea since they hadn't said her name yet. As a joke it would be the joke of referring to the Bush's dog as a child --it would be a joke aimed at the Bushes. Even better, Al Franken who started this story about Rush was a producer of Saturday Night Live at a time when they did a skit that very definitely make fun of Chelsea's looks in a very mean way --and Rush criticized them for it.

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