Rush, Women and Civility

When Rush Limbaugh called the Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and “prostitute,” he gave pajama-clad citizen journalists everywhere a content gift that keeps on giving. He also sparked an important debate that has now been joined by conservative women and other commentators. Why do we view it as acceptable when liberal pundits and so-called humorists attack and degrade conservative women?

I stepped in this intellectual doo-doo a year ago while attending a dinner Inside the Beltway. I had the temerity to ask why liberals — especially liberal women — believe that all conservative women are stupid. Unfortunately, almost everyone attending was a liberal women — so the spirit of the ensuing conversation and comments had for me the appeal of undergoing an impromptu colonoscopy.

So I’m delighted now that a number of prominent conservatives — and conservative women — are rallying to put the spotlight on this double standard.

Here’s Michele Bachmann (Mediaite: “Overkill Reaction To Limbaugh’s Remarks, But Zero Outrage When I Was Attacked“):

Following the media outrage over Rush Limbaugh‘s provocative remarks, Michele Bachmanntook to CNN make an argument we’ve heard from some others already: that the media doesn’t express the same disgust when the woman being attacked is conservative. When violent statements were made about her, she said, there was no response.

On a Starting Point segment, Soledad O’Brien brought up Bachmann’s comment to Piers Morgan about the lack of reaction to threats made against her. Bachmann, recounting her “personal experience,” said: “I couldn’t repeat on television what has been said about me. A judge recently ordered Twitter to identify a man who called for me to be not only raped and sodomized but also killed.”

It’s a serious matter, she added, but there “was zero outrage about the statements on the left, absolutely zero.” Highlighting the contrast, Bachmann said it’s just wrong to “see the overkill that’s being done against Rush Limbaugh” when her attacks went unnoticed. She emphatically stated: “To me, it doesn’t matter whether a woman is a Republican or Democrat, or whether she’s liberal or conservative. This sort of violent talk should not be acceptable for anyone.”

From Michelle Malkin (“New Video: She PAC strikes back at misogynist Bill Maher“):

A little scene-setting for you before I bring you this brand spanking — emphasis on the spanking — new video from my friends at ShePAC.

As I noted earlier this morning, I discussed the miscreant Bill Maher and called him what he was: An invertebrate (and yes, I meant “invertebrate,” not “inveterate” — though both would do) coward.

I also said that countless conservative women out there are fed up and pushing back.

ShePAC, which supports principled conservative women in public office, has just released a video exposing the depths of Maher’s misogyny. The ladies’ hands are probably red from the beatdown they’ve just administered.

I call this damning clip “Speaking Truth to Coward.”

And Greta Van Susteren (Mediaite: “Van Susteren Calls For Radio & TV Correspondents Dinner Boycott, Dubs Headliner Louis C.K. A ‘Pig‘”:

On the heels of this morning’s blog post taking Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod to task for promoting a double standard by visiting “serial pig” Bill Maher’s show, On The Record anchor Greta Van Susteren is calling on her colleagues to boycott the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner because of the event’s headliner, comedian Louis C.K.

In a Greta Wire post posted this evening, Van Susteren explains why she’s refusing to attend this year’s dinner — and why she believes others should follow her example:

The headliner of this year’s Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner is “comedian” Louis C.K. Comedian? I don’t think so. Pig? yes.

He uses filthy language about women…..yes, the C word…and yes, even to describe a woman candidate for Vice President of the United States. It isn’t just Governor Palin he denigrates. He denigrates all women and looks to the crowd to laugh.

I refuse to show any support for this guy or for the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Committee who hired him. I think the organization that hired him is just as bad as he is. It is no secret that he denigrates women.

She offers examples of C.K.’s rants against former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, including jokes at the expense of her special-needs child, Trig. You may recall that, in her earlier post, Van Susteren directly addressed the argument that comedians should be held to a different level of accountability based on the nature of their profession by noting that “being a comedian is not license to be a bigot or degrade women.”

C.K., like Maher, has an extremely loyal (and, if my Facebook friends are any indication, very vocal) fanbase, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of response and discussion Van Susteren’s post inspires, both in terms of the ongoing debate about how men in the media can or should talk about women, as well as about the nature of comedy and role played by comedians in our national discourse.

“I hope all the other women and men in the media join me in not going,” Van Susteren concludes. “I also hope everyone has the courage to stand up to this.”

OK. What we need is a return to civility — and respect for women (and men, too) in public and private life regardless of their views on issues. To paraphrase Van Susteren, you would think that everyone would have the courage to stand up and support that.

 

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One response to “Rush, Women and Civility

  1. There is only one “value” in TV or radio: how much air time is involved. For For Ed Schultz to call Laura Ingraham a slut is wrong, and should be condemned. But such a passing reference is by no means in the same league with Limbaugh’s sustained attack, something like eight or ten minutes worth. Reflexively referring to liberal misdeeds turns out to be the way to avoid being forced to criticize Limbaugh, something no Republican politician dare do if he/she wants to remain in politics.

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