Epilogue—The silence of Romney, ourselves: At long last, Gail Collins is upset with something else about Candidate Romney.
Today, she’s upset because he didn’t criticize Rush Limbaugh strongly enough.
We’ll admit it. Reading Collins’ most recent columns has almost made us ill. That’s because we’re blessed with the vision fearless Cassandra once had:
COLLINS (3/10/12): If Romney couldn’t take a clear stand on Rush Limbaugh’s Slutgate, why would he say anything that forthright unless it was a total error? This is why we can’t get the dog-on-the-car-roof story straightened out. The reporters have their hands full just figuring out Mitt’s position on the biggest controversy of the last month.It isn’t just the dog on the roof of the car! Romney wouldn’t even take a clear stand on Slutgate. (Good God.) He wasn’t even forthright about that!
This complaint about Romney’s conduct has been widespread this week on MSNBC, The One True Liberal Channel. Before we offer a reaction, we want to review Scott Lemieux’s reaction to something we wrote on Wednesday—in particular, concerning some things he says we said or implied.
On Thursday, Scott commented on Michael Kinsley’s column about the Limbaugh matter. He added these points about the conduct of the wider liberal world:
LEMIEUX (3/8/12): Relatedly, I would also recommend Irin Carmon, who notes that feminists have in fact frequently criticized the more progressive misogynists now being cited as tu quoques. And while Bob Somerby is right about MSNBC’s sexism issues, he’s wrong to nobody else in the “liberal world” is willing to discuss this in public. If you’re going to imply, for example, that Rebecca Traister is a hypocrite and sellout only willing to criticize MSNBC hosts on listervs, you might want to spend a minute or two looking into whether she’s, say, written an (excellent) book that extensively discusses the sexist treatment Hillary Clinton received at the hands of Olberman et al.For the record, there’s a typo in Scott’s piece. Did we say that nobody else in the “liberal world” is willing to discuss this in public? Did we merely imply that claim? The verb is missing from Scott’s sentence.
On to a direct statement:
Did we imply that Rebecca Traister is a hypocrite and sellout only willing to criticize MSNBC hosts on listervs? We’re fairly sure we didn’t say that, though you can judge these points for yourselves. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/12. (Be careful when people report what someone implied without presenting what they said. We tend to present long clunky block-quotes to obviate this problem.)
That said, we were struck by Scott’s remarks on the wider behavior of the liberal world regarding “MSNBC’s sexism,” about which he says we are right.
If we’re right, MSNBC has a lot of explaining to do! We wrote this week that MSNBC has been Misogyny Central in cable news over the past dozen years. But then, we’ve been writing about this channel’s bad conduct in this area since 1999.
Regarding Traister, we haven’t read her book, which may be superb, although its first few pages turned us off with all the indecision and crying on the part of the feminist protagonist. But in the part of our post to which Scott is reacting, we were discussing liberal reaction to one particular episode in which Olbermann’s conduct was especially egregious—his sliming of Carrie Prejean in 2009.
As we noted, some liberals and progressives apparently viewed this conduct the same way we did. Speaking in private on Journolist, they discussed this episode in terms of Olbermann’s “misogyny” and “contempt for women.” But as we noted, these people only stated these views in private. We have never been able to find any evidence that any of these people voiced such views about this conduct in public.
For what it’s worth, Traister didn’t publish any such views at Salon. (Who knows? Maybe she tried to do so, and her editors nixed it.) As best we can tell, no one criticized Olbermann for this episode at Salon—although there was a great deal of uproar at Open Salon concerning the laughable young woman who came from the other tribe, the worthless girl Olbermann slimed. The professional staff at Salon can’t exactly be blamed for the ratty outlook of Salon readers. But here are some of the headlines one quickly encounters if one searches “Carrie Prejean” at Salon:
Headlines from Open Salon, not from Salon itself:Oops. There’s that S-word again! And just for the record, Prejean’s “melons” turn out to be her breasts! In fairness, Michael Musto did tell KO, on liberal air, that he wouldn’t call Prejean a cunt. So it’s not like our tribe had no standards!
Carrie Prejean Goes Down. Literally!
Tim Tebow, the male Carrie Prejean
Trump to Carrie Prejean: Try Porn
Carrie Prejean Owes Pageant $5200 for Her Melons
Carrie Prejean: Self-Bangin’ Porn Queen
BREAKING: Porn Slut Carrie Prejean Has 8 Sex Videos
Our lizard brains will quickly explain why all that crap was perfectly justified—and again, these headlines come from Open Salon, not from Salon itself. That said, our point remains: For whatever reason, a group of progressives expressed their strong distaste for what Olbermann was doing with Michael Musto in the early days of the Prejean pseudo-scandal. But as far as we have been able to tell, they only said these things in private.
Out in the public square, no one challenged the tribe.
Did Traister criticize Olbermann in her subsequent book, which appeared in 2011? We’ll take Scott’s word for that. But according to Scott, she criticized Olbermann for his ratty conduct toward Hillary Clinton. As everyone surely understands, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
Do we still refuse to see the way the tribe has always functioned? In his conduct toward Hillary Clinton, Olbermann was trashing one of our own. In his conduct toward Carrie Prejean, he was trashing one of theirs. And down through the annals of time, reaching back to prehistory, the tribe has always permitted attacks on the others, the smuttier the better.
It has always been the way of the tribe: You can slime the others as much as you like, in any manner you please. You can smut them up real good; you can unloose your Inner Misogynist. You just can’t do that to the tribe’s own—although the liberal world Lemieux defends endlessly permitted even that conduct over the past twenty years.
In his post, Scott suggests that the liberal world has been doing a pretty good job policing the misconduct of its own. This is a gob-smacking fantasy—but this is the way the tribe always reasons. To the tribe, the tribe is always right, and the corollary is clear:
To the tribe, the tribe always has been right. In the current instance, a gullible person might get that impression about our own tribe from reading what Scott wrote.
Such a person would be badly wrong.
Scott cites a recent piece by Irin Carmon, in which she notes actions some feminists have taken in recent years in response to Bill Maher and Michael Moore. We think Carmon has been a strong addition to the staff at Salon, although we think the piece in question is far from her finest work. Carmon was pounding Kirsten Powers for writing a piece at the Daily Beast—a piece which claims that liberals have often failed to police their own in the areas of sexism and misogyny. At one point, Carmon cites a piece by Traister herself, showing how wrong Powers is:
CARMON (3/7/12): Back to the male offenders on the left. Powers claims in one breath that they’re allowed to go on insulting women but then says that Erica Jong got rudely mocked by Matt Taibbi for ... calling him out for sexism. She fails to mention how Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore were targeted by a feminist campaign demanding an apology for their dismissal of the women who accused Julian Assange of rape. Or how much fire Chris Matthews took from feminists—including in this space—for how he talked about Hillary Clinton.For now, let’s forget about KO. Did Matthews really “take fire from feminists for how he talked about Hillary Clinton?” As evidence, Carmon links to this lengthy piece by Traister—a piece which appeared in Salon in January 2008.
We don’t mean this as a criticism of Carmon. And there was nothing gigantically wrong with that piece by Traister—except for the fact that it arrived on the scene about ten years too late! Through some unexplained miracle, the liberal world finally noticed, in early 2008, that Matthews was a disgraceful, unrestrained Hillary-hater. At the time, of course, he had behaved this way for a decade, with barely a peep of protest from within the liberal world.
We’ll assume that Carmon may not understand this history. If so, she has a good excuse—she may have been reading Salon all those years! As we have noted again and again, Salon never commissioned a report about the disgraceful behavior of Matthews, disgraceful behavior that extended back to at least 1999.
Matthews slimed Hillary Clinton for years. He also slimed Naomi Wolf in the most repellent manner. No one worked harder, in 1999 and 2000, to send George W. Bush to the White House—and no one was more gender-obsessed in this crackpot conduct, except perhaps for his friend, Maureen Dowd. But during that pivotal time and in the years which followed, Salon never offered a profile of this vile man’s endless misconduct. And as it kept its big trap shut, Salon worked to forge a business tie with this truly horrible person.
That tie exists to this very day, as Joan Walsh goes on MSNBC and kisses Matthews' runny keister, helping him reinvent himself as a noble friend of the left. We hope Salon’s money is spending real good, because the ignorance Salon has helped create is very widespread at this point.
In this area, Salon’s own history is a disgrace. But Salon was hardly alone; virtually no one ever spoke up about Matthews' relentless misconduct toward Clinton, Clinton and Gore. We’ll take this chance to remind Lemieux that the so-called liberal world has been disgracefully wrong in these areas—silent, dishonest, self-dealing, corrupt. Empty to the bone.
Scott stands to defend the tribe today, misleading us in the process. But then, how powerfully will the tribe work to keep you clueless about the tribe? Consider the caterwauling which prevailed on MSNBC this week.
As with Collins, so with the chimps! All week long, programmed members of the tribe have criticized Romney for not speaking strongly enough about the things Limbaugh said.
Meanwhile, all the chimps kept their own traps shut, in real time and this week, about what their own colleagues did through the years. Just to save a bit of time, let’s single out Rachel Maddow.
On Monday night, Connie Schultz joined Maddow to talk about Limbaugh’s behavior. Maddow was quite upset with Romney’s cowardice, just as Collins is.
But then again, Maddow was worried about her own judgments! Was she perhaps being unfair?
MADDOW (3/5/12): Joining us now is Connie Schultz. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. Connie Schultz, it’s great to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.As usual, Rachel was pretending to be deeply honest—perhaps a bit more honest than you are. She worried that she was being unfair to Candidate Romney. After all, it wasn’t Romney who trashed Sandra Fluke; it was the idiot Limbaugh who did that. Was she possibly being too harsh as she battered Romney around for failing to denounce Limbaugh more forcefully?
SCHULTZ: It’s wonderful to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: Am I being too harsh on Mr. Romney, along with those conservative and independent pundits, that you saw there? These weren’t his comments in the first place. They were Rush Limbaugh’s comments. But did Mr. Romney have to be more forceful here than saying that Rush Limbaugh used words he wouldn’t have used?
Connie Schultz spoke up for the tribe. As you know, within the tribe, the tribe can never be wrong:
SCHULTZ (continuing directly): Let me rescue you from this worry you’re being too harsh. I am— You know, when I watched Ms. Fluke’s testimony live. And we have—our oldest daughter is exactly her age, just almost exactly, and she is in law school. And we have three other young women, two daughters and a daughter-in-law, mother of our only grandchild, all of reproductive age.There was much more; to watch it, click here. But since Schultz instantly raised the question of age, we’ll note that Sandra Fluke is thirty years old; Prejean was 21 in 2009.
Rush Limbaugh does not understand what he unleashed when he said those words because you know what? He went after my girls. He went after the girls of mothers all across this country regardless of their politics. And that is what he has completely underestimated—as have these candidates.
What is the downside to saying you don’t ask women, young women to post video, he asked for video, Rachel, of this young woman. He called her a slut because she wanted to be responsible about birth control. They have no idea yet it seems to me, what’s been unleashed but they are about to find out. There is no going back on this one.
That said, Prejean wasn’t part of the tribe! She wasn’t one of our daughters or daughters-in-law. She wasn’t one of "the girls of mothers all across this country regardless of their politics."
In fairness to Schultz, she may not have known about Olbermann’s sliming of Prejean. She may not have known about the conduct those progressives denounced so strongly, though only in private. And who knows? Maybe President Obama didn’t know either! Maybe that’s why he phoned Fluke this week but didn’t phone Prejean back then.
After all, Prejean had voiced Obama’s own view regarding same-sex marriage! Why wouldn’t he want to defend her? Especially since, as Schultz quickly said, politics has nothing to do with this! All our daughters deserve respect! Even if they have the wrong politics!
Maybe Schultz and Obama didn’t know about Olbermann’s conduct. But Maddow knew all about it! It wasn’t her fault, of course; she didn’t say the repellent things Olbermnan said, any more than Romney said those things about Sandra Fluke. But Maddow had to sit there and watch it each night as KO and Musto tugged on their dicks and staged their misogynist wildings.
Why did Maddow have to watch? In a final bit of contempt for women, KO would save these treats for the very end of his program. He would then throw directly to Maddow. She had to sit there and take it.
Sit there are take it she did!
We’re not even saying she shouldn’t have done that, although she authored no profile in courage—at least, not in public. But everyone knows why Maddow didn’t complain about Olbermann’s conduct. Maddow had millions of dollars at stake. Like Romney, she might have paid a very large price for talking back to the tribe.
Maddow kept her trap shut tight. Now, she has spent a week criticizing Romney for not saying more about Limbaugh's behavior—even though Romney said more about Rush than Maddow said about KO!
As we've often noted, Rachel loves to challenge hypocrisy—but only that in their tribe.
Might we make the world’s most obvious point? It’s easy to tell the other guy that he should challenge his own tribal member. On MSNBC, the chimps have been doing this all week while refusing to talk about the gross misconduct of their own. As we noted, MSNBC has been Misogyny Central over the course of the past dozen years. But no one made you ponder such facts as you got tribal pleasure this week. On The last word, O'Donnell and Harris-Perry even pretended that they can't even think of the names of liberals who have misbehaved.
Our advice to Lemieux, whose work we've admired over the years: Turn your back on the tribe! Light out for the territories! The liberal world has failed grotesquely in the past twenty years.
People deserve to be told.
By the way: What did Gail Collins ever say about Matthews or KO? If we're so right about MSNBC, when did Collins challenge this misogyny?
Rubes! We're embarrassed for you! Please!
Do you have to ask?