SILLY SEASON: Who gets attacked!

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Part 4—Miss Utah yes, Maddow no: First, they came for Miss South Carolina Teen. That was 2007.

Two years later, they came for Miss California. On the One True Liberal Channel, Keith Olbermann and his smutty pal mauled the offending pageant contestant in ways which were plainly misogynistic.

Everybody knew not to say so. At least, not to say so out loud!

In these ways, a new type of seasonal shark attack was born—and this week, they came for Miss Utah. At one point, they begged Miss Utah to take their advice, and to take the advice of NeNe Leakes, a person who is now a bit better known for having been somewhat well known:
CARMON (6/17/13): There is definitely legislation that could help with the wage gap. I mean, not only those numbers that you show. Even like for like, when women have the same education as men, when they graduate with the same qualifications, from the year they graduate there is still a five percent gap and it widens. It widens when they get married, and then it widens when they have children yet again. Even when you factor out career interruptions, the wage gap is there.

So yes, women are seeking more education. They’re filling the ranks of the educated people. It’s not actually making a difference for the wage gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which has gone in and out of Congress, has been blocked by Republicans. Sometimes women who are making less money don’t even know.

So wage transparency, you know, there’s a lot of measures we could do to help when it comes to this.

WAGNER: That is how to turn a negative into a positive, which is what our, what NeNe Leakes suggested Marissa Powell do. We hope she takes our advice and NeNe’s advice.

Irin Carmon, a new member of the MSNBC family, welcome! We are so happy to have you. Congratulations and thank you for your time tonight.
In an excess of caution, we watched the tape of this exchange. Was Wagner perhaps being ironic, mocking herself, in the highlighted statement?

Alas! Quite plainly, she was not. With the certainty of the failed and the worthless, she begged the gods to help Miss Utah learn to take her and Carmon’s advice—and the advice of NeNe Leakes, who had asked the jumbled question Miss Utah didn’t know how to answer.

Has there ever been a more pompous statement on a cable news channel? Right from the start of Monday night’s segment, Wagner seemed to raise a question, more in snark than in anger: Why can’t a woman in a pageant be more like one of us?

Her pomposity broke all records. This is the way this world-class buffoon began her sad discussion:
WAGNER: What if you were competing in a pageant on national television and you were asked this question?

LEAKES (videotape): A recent report shows that, in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?

WAGNER: What would your answer be? Might it include something about how our country still has a long way to go in terms of gender and pay equity? Would you invoke women leaders in business like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, or female politicians Hillary Clinton, who have continued to break glass ceilings?
Given a day to prepare with the help of a staff, Wagner knew what Miss Utah should have said in response to that jumbled question.

To watch the most pompous six minutes in history, go ahead—just click here.

Wagner was almost impossibly pompous as she chastised poor stupid Miss Utah. Wagner prayed that Miss Utah would take her advice—although we can’t exactly find Wagner or Carmon offering “advice” in that six-minute segment.

Whatever! But how strange! One year before, Wagner had kept her pompous trap shut when an older, much more significant person bungled this very same topic, then pretended that she hadn’t made a mistake.

Plainly, this person had made a mistake, as we humans sometimes do. But since the person in question was Rachel Maddow, Wagner kept her big trap shut, just as everyone knew not to speak when Olbermann slimed Miss California in ways they described, when speaking in private, as misogynistic.

This is the way our heroes behave, our corporate-fueled pseudo-progressives.

People do make mistakes! And on April 29 of last year, Maddow made a mistake on Meet the Press. Again and again, she said that “women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make”—and she implied, again and again, that women face this wage gap “for doing the same work,” for “doing equal work.”

That isn’t what the statistics say, as Alex Castellanos kept trying to tell Maddow that day. But you don’t have to listen to Castellanos. You can consider what Carmon said this Monday night:
CARMON: Even like for like, when women have the same education as men, when they graduate with the same qualifications, from the year they graduate, there’s still a five percent gap and it widens. It widens when they get married, and then it widens when they have children yet again. Even when you factor out career interruptions, the wage gap is there.
Carmon seems to be better informed on this topic than Maddow was last year. When she appeared on Meet the Press, Maddow kept saying the wage gap “for equal work” (“for the same work”) stood at 23 percent.

Carmon seems to know that isn’t the case. She seems to know that this wage gap seems to be in the mid-single digits.

“Like for like,” Carmon put the gap at five percent when people emerge from college. “Even when you factor out career interruptions,” there is still a wage gap, she said, suggesting that she understands this topic in a way Maddow did not.

(Women interrupt their careers more often than men. This affects their future earning.)

On Meet the Press, it was different. Maddow cited a statistic we liberals love to cite but tend to misdescribe. If we are recalling correctly, that figure represents the income gap between men and women who are employed full-time. But that isn’t the figure for men and women who are “doing the same (or equal) work.”

If memory serves, the experts find a gap of about seven percent between men and women who are doing the same work—and it may not all represent discrimination. On Monday night, Carmon seemed to be aware of this general state of affairs. Last year, Maddow was not.

Everybody makes mistakes! Also, everybody has topics they aren’t prepared to discuss; this is especially true the younger a person may be. Last April, Maddow, who was 38, made a mistake about the size and nature of the wage gap. This Sunday, Miss Utah, who was 21, was flummoxed by a somewhat jumbled question about this same general topic.

Everybody can make a mistake, or get stumped by a topic. To some extent, the difference lies in the way the person responds to this state of affairs. This week, Miss Utah went on several TV shows and laughed at herself for Sunday night’s admitted mess. She then issued a well-prepared statement about the need for “equal pay for equal work.”

(Is that what Leakes was talking about? her question does not make this clear.)

Last April, Maddow took a different route. Thirty-six hours after her error, she went on her eponymous TV show and insisted, at ridiculous length, that she hadn’t made a mistake. She kept repeating her bogus statistic, saying she had been trying all day to determine why Castellanos would have challenged her statement.

She even brought an “expert” on to help wish away her error! It’s very, very hard to believe that Maddow wasn’t lying that night, though everything is possible.

Here’s where this story gets good:

Wagner, the world’s most pompous human, kept her big trap shut last year when Maddow engaged in this conduct! This Monday night, Wagner snarkily rolled her eyes at the foolishness of poor stupid Miss Utah. She helped us see how great it would be if people like these could just learn to be a bit more like Wagner herself.

She prayed that Miss Utah would take her advice. And that of the genius Leakes!

But how strange! Last year, Wagner didn’t say a word when Maddow erred and then seemed to lie. When it was Maddow who bungled this topic, bungling was A-OK!

There is a teachable moment here. Another such teachable moment was lost this week, as usual.

For all of us, there is a teachable moment here about horrible people like Wagner. Just as our fiery progressives refused to challenge Olbermann’s misogyny (and that is precisely how they described it, so long as they were speaking in private), so too Wagner looked away from Maddow’s error last year.

This week, she landed on Miss Utah, thus providing entertainment to us gullible liberals. Sharks attack the weak and the young, not the rich/famous/powerful.

A second teachable moment was lost this week. This concerns the jumbled question which was posed to Miss Utah:

“A recent report shows that, in forty percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

That wasn’t the world’s sharpest question. That one statistic, forty percent, served as a bit of a distractor. However one may understand the problems posed by the fact that women “continue to earn less than men,” those problems would be the same if that percentage were somewhat different.

By the way: In more than a third of the families in question, women are the primary earners because they earn more than their husbands. What exactly did Leakes have in mind by building her jumbled question around that statistic?

The larger problem with the question involves the various forms of the income or wage gap. What did Leakes mean when she said that women “continue to earn less than men?”

Did she mean that women seem to earn somewhat less for doing the same or equal work? Or did she mean that women who are employed full-time earn substantially less than men, partly because they aren’t qualified, by education and/or length of time in the work force, to do “the same work?” (This is where those “career interruptions” come in.)

Each of these matters can be seen as a problem—but they aren’t the same problem. Which problem did Leakes have in mind?

As this week had proceeded, have you seen a single person use this as a teachable moment about the complexities of this matter? Last year, these complexities bollixed even Maddow! How many people have tried to clarify these matters this week? Or has this really, in the main, just been a shark attack?

Wagner and Carmon certainly didn’t clarify matters much. Although they did join in the attack, with Wagner even making a point of kissing Leakes right on the keister!

This week, we saw a shark attack, the latest iteration of a new summer entertainment. In some cases, horrible people staged this attack.

These players are eager to state their own greatness. As they serve their corporate agendas, they claim to be on your side.

A few things we think would be great: As Wagner launched the most pompous six minutes in human history, she listed a few of the things she thinks would be great.

Beyond that, she helped us see that the new Miss USA landed some swag Sunday night:
WAGNER: So Marissa Powell did not win the competition last night. Erin Brady from Connecticut won. And we were looking into the duties of a Miss USA. And as Miss USA, Erin Brady will get posh digs in New York City and an opportunity to travel the world while promoting the organization and acting as a spokeswoman for breast and ovarian cancer awareness.

Now, I think it’s really important and good to raise awareness about breast and ovarian cancer. But I also think if you’re going to raise questions like the ones that were raised last night about gender equity and pay equity it would be great if Miss USA and the contestants in the Miss USA pageant could talk about the issue of pay equity and gender equity and the way society treats men and women and perhaps talk about the Pew Research analysis from 2011 showing there is a massive income gap among breadwinner families, single moms, married moms, and a whole host of other issues pertain to women shattering the quote unquote "glass ceiling."
Just to be clear, that “Pew Research analysis” was released last week. It uses data from 2011.

Did the new analysis “show a massive income gap among breadwinner families, single moms, married moms?” Though Wagner had all day to prepare her remarks, this statement was basically incoherent, although it wasn’t false.

Whatever! Wagner listed various things she thinks would be great. For example, she thinks it would be great if people like Miss Utah “could talk about the issue of pay equity and gender equity and the way society treats men and women and perhaps talk about the Pew Research analysis from 2011 showing there is a massive income gap among breadwinner families, single moms, married moms, and a whole host of other issues pertain to women shattering the quote unquote ‘glass ceiling.’”

To Wagner, it would be great if dummies like Miss Utah could do these things on the spot. As she dreamed this impossible dream, she gave a rather jumbled account of what the Pew report—from 2013—actually said.

We also think some things would be great:

Since we are talking so much about “wage transparency,” it would be great if we were told how much Wagner is paid by MSNBC. How about Maddow? Why can’t we progressives enjoy this kind of transparency about our corporate stars?

(Will Miss USA “get posh digs in New York City?” What kind of digs does Wagner enjoy in Gotham? Why can't progressives be told?)

We think it would be great to know what Carmon is now being paid to be “a member of the MSNBC family.” Wagner congratulated Carmon on this score. So how much is Carmon paid?

(We think it would be great to know such facts for an obvious reason. People will cut a lot of corners to hang onto very large pay, with the chance to move on to more. How much money does it take to make someone like Wagner land on Miss Utah but look away when Maddow errs?)

Here’s one last thing we think would be great:

We think it would be great if script-reading hacks like Alex Wagner were escorted out of our TV studios and never allowed to return. If MSNBC was a news organization, its directors would cringe when they watched the tape of Monday night’s discussion.

They’d see a guild-hog kicking down hard. If they had a progressive bone in their bodies, they’d want her to leave, to go home.

MSNBC isn’t a news organization, of course, and its directors aren’t progressives. With Lawrence on vacation, Wagner’s servicing of us rubes has continued all week.

3 comments:

  1. In one of the Presidential debates, Romney was asked about the misleading 23% wage gap. He was evidently unprepared, because he didn't clarify the nature of the gap, as Bob properly did in his post above.

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  2. My nieces used to tell me one of their favorites things to do as teenagers was to watch any beauty pageant on TV so they could hiss and mew at the contestants they found particular fault with.

    Maybe this great American blood sport is more widely enjoyed than some of us men suspect. Maybe young Alex was one of those teens who enjoyed a fun TV night of hissing and mewing at various contestants for Miss This or Miss That. Maybe Alex and Co. are just reliving a hallowed piece of their lost youth whenever the chance arises. And isn't it great that their fancy media jobs allow them to continue the same fun on a seemingly higher plane?

    Girls will be girls.

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