Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin's Tough Row, Media Amnesia

For the last two weeks, we've all watched the "coverage" of Sarah Palin. Rich Noyes at Newsbusters sums it up (literally):

[NBC's David] Gregory argued on Today: "Rudy Giuliani said questions have been asked about whether she can balance this with her kids. That question has not been brought up by the media."

Gregory was wrong — that precise question was posed repeatedly on ABC, CBS and NBC as the networks invaded every nook and cranny of Palin's family life. From August 29 through September 4, the Big Three network morning and evening shows ran a total of 59 stories mentioning Palin's family, or about eight per day. Nearly two-thirds of those (37) brought up the pregnancy of Palin's teen aged daughter; another ten questioned whether she could balance her family obligations with a campaign — the exact suggestion Gregory claimed was never "brought up by the media."
I've mentioned the old-school sexism in a previous post, but collective amnesia is a new twist, as are the flagrantly sexist attacks made by professional women:
Wednesday's Today, NBC's Amy Robach wondered of Palin: "Will she be shortchanging her kids, or will she be shortchanging the country?"

Washington Post's Sally Quinn scolded that "a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities."
(Both of the above are from Rich Noyes article.) If you put these words of these women in John Hagee's mouth, feminists (and the media, probably) would be apoplectic. But evidently, what from our point of view is an exhibition of staggering hypocrisy, simply never happened from theirs.
. . . NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted: "There is one important thing to point out. The media is not attacking Sarah Palin. The media has done investigative pieces, in their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen."
One explanation is that Carl Rove has managed to hypnotize the entire media establishment - perhaps through their ear buds - and caused them to say abhorrent things in order to create a backlash, and then to immediately forget them. Or maybe it's some sort of aphasia - some portion of brain tissue atrophied from exclusive meditation on teleprompters full of It's-All-Bush's-Fault talking points. Then again, "no attacks" may mean that viciousness against someone with whom you politically disagree simply doesn't count.

Whatever the reason, all of this is instructive, especially for women too young to remember that marriage and family was once - and evidently still is - seen as the great opportunity killer. If the protection of women's rights (meaning the right to work, the right to excel, the right to truly compete on "male turf", or choose not to) is important to you, from these things you can understand that you will not get that protection from liberal democrats. I am speaking of a concept of protection that is based on the inherent principle of equality (not sameness) for its own sake, for all people; not protection in return for slavish adherence to a particular political philosophy. As history has already taught us, in a system that demands adherence to the ideas of the "elite", one is never free to choose. And "liberal" leadership has a questionable record in terms of real results on a wide range of issues, including those that relate to women.

In a recent WSJ article on the gender wage gap, Casey B. Mulligan took a look at the performance of the last seven administrations' progress on women's annual wage growth relative to the wage growth of men:
Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have proclaimed that they favor equal pay for women, and have alleged that Republicans do not. Sen. Biden has also insisted that Republicans, including vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, represent a step backwards for women. The economic record says exactly the opposite. . .

. . . for all of the administrations since Lyndon Johnson (I pool Richard Nixon and Ford). Johnson, Carter and Bill Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor market progress for women during their administrations. Essentially all of the labor-market progress for women occurred during Republican administrations: eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush (I do not yet have the data for the last two years of the current administration).
This is only one of many issues, and probably not the most important one. But it does point to the need to look to the record, not the slippery verbiage of politicians, and certainly not to the inanity of talking heads.

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