Part 2—We’re all the Fox News Channel now: “Where’s the outrage?” William Bennett once asked. He wanted to know why regular folk weren’t more upset about Bill Clinton’s sexual conduct.
Last night, he wouldn’t have needed to ask. Last night, the outrage was all over MSNBC as a stream of hypocrites, frauds and pseudo-progressives paraded across our TV machine, complaining about Rush Limbaugh’s latest transgression.
For our money, Karen Finney was the worst offender, followed closely by Connie Schultz. But the biggest fraud of them all, Chris Matthews, was posing as Woman’s Best Friend once again. And the rest of the scripted were there to support him, including Walsh, Corn and Wolff.
How gross was this parade of the frauds? Over the first dozen years of its life, MSNBC was, without any question, Misogyny Central in the world of cable “news.” The various frauds who paraded last evening managed to spend that decade averting their gaze from this fact.
Last night, though, they were very upset because the offender was Limbaugh! Last week, it was Limbaugh who behaved in the way they accepted in those earlier years. And so, they staged their parade—letting us see that MSNBC has finally caught up to Fox.
Fox has been a clown show for years, following formats which were largely invented by Limbaugh himself. Last night, it was hard to deny it:
We’re all the Fox News Channel now!
What was so grotesque about last evening’s parade? For starters, let’s turn to this post by Digby, who seconded our emotion from yesterday’s HOWLER. “Listening to Chris Matthews criticize Limbaugh for his sexist commentary is rich. Really rich,” Digby wrote. She linked to this report by David Brock from January 2008.
Remember early 2008? At that time, by some unexplained miracle, the “liberal” world finally managed to notice Matthews’ raging misogyny, a trait he had put on vivid display over the previous decade. Go ahead! Read Brock’s full report! As he started, he focused on the ways Matthews typically spoke about Hillary Clinton.
“Take a look at this sampling,” Brock wrote in 2008. His lengthy sampling included these examples of ChrisMatthewsSpeak:
Remarks by Matthews concerning Hillary Clinton:Brock went on from there, listing some of Matthews’ remarks about other women. But no one could capture the sweep of Matthews’ decade of misogyny in just one report.
"I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for."
"Look at those eyes. Look at the cold eyes that she's giving him. Look at that cold look."
"[She’s] like a strip-teaser saying she's flattered by the all the attention"
"Is she a convincing mom?"
On Sen. Clinton’s endorsers: "Castratos in the eunuch chorus"
On Sen. Clinton’s laugh: "What do you make of the cackle?"
"She was giving a campaign barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman. It can grate on some men when they listen to it. Fingernails on a blackboard, perhaps."
"Is she hemmed in by the fact that she's a woman and can't admit a mistake, or else the Republicans will say, ‘Oh, that's a woman's prerogative to change her mind,’ or ‘another fickle woman’? Is her gender a problem in her ability to change her mind?"
"She may have gotten The Des Moines Register's endorsement the other day, thanks to her husband's lobbying with its female editors and publisher."
For us, this topic dates to Matthews’ rude treatment of Elizabeth Holtzman in early 1999. But he had many other targets in the bad old days of his wars against the Clintons and Gore. Example: To review the savage trashing Matthews dished to Naomi Wolf during the press corps’ war against Gore, please read Chapter 5 at our companion site, How He Got There.
The “progressive” world kept its traps shut as Wolf absorbed a long gender-trashing from the pundit world. We know of two major pundits who complained about this gender-trashing: William Kristol and William Safire.
The “liberal” world simply accepted all this. To cite one prominent example, Joan Walsh kept licking Matthews’ keister as his decade of misogyny unfolded. Last night, Joan was on The One True Channel, helping us see the sweep of her outrage now that it was Limbaugh who was behaving this way.
Then too, there was Keith Olbermann. In some ways, this part of the story is worse. Let’s quote a second post by Digby:
DIGBY (3/5/12): A lot of men hate women in a serious, fundamental way. (And they aren't all old guys.) Rush Limbaugh is clearly one of them. He's demonstrated it over and over again for more than two decades, and has been feted as a hugely powerful media and political celebrity that entire time. I think the problem is that this is still such an accepted part of male culture that even decent enlightened men (and women) often don't recognize the milder version when they see it for what it actually is.We agree with those highlighted statements—but Olbermann “is clearly one of them” too. But how strange! When Olbermann acted out this hatred, last night’s parade of outraged “liberals” averted their gaze!
Here at THE HOWLER, we were puzzled for several years. Was it possible that we were the only ones offended by Olbermann’s conduct? Was it possible that no other liberals and progressives owned a TV set? Olbermann reached the zenith of his misogyny with his endless, profane attacks on Carrie Prejean, the 21-year-old woman who dared to voice the same view about marriage equality that President Obama held. (And Hillary Clinton. And Bill Clinton. And Al Gore and John Kerry!)
Prejean had to be slimed for this—and Olbermann slimed her, night after night, in the most repulsive ways. Often, he threw directly to Maddow, who acted like she hadn’t noticed. (Maddow was one of the grand marshals in last night’s parade.)
Below, you get a taste of the fare this slime-ball served to us liberals during those years. Like most men of his very low type, Olbermann loved discussing Prejean’s breasts. As usual, his guest on this particular evening was the repulsive misogynist, Michael Musto.
Prejean was a boob, a Barbie doll, dumb, a ding-dong—and of course, she was "a girl." But note the greatness of Musto’s statement at the end of this chunk:
OLBERMANN (4/30/09): There it is here, Miss California is opposed to same-sex marriage, which is at least marriage between two human beings, but she has fully endorsed now marriage between a man and a woman who is partially made out of plastic.Did we mention the fact that Prejean’s position on same-sex marriage was the same as President Obama’s? Did we mention the fact that Prejean didn’t raise the issue? That she only discussed same-sex marriage when she was forced to do so as part of the Miss USA competition? That said:
MUSTO: Well, she’s dumb and twisted. She’s sort of like a human Klaus Barbie Doll. I mean, you tell Perez Hilton you’re against gay marriage? That’s like telling Simon Cowell you’re against screeching a show tune. This is the kind of girl who sits on the TV and watches the sofa. You know, she thinks innuendo is an Italian suppository.
Can I keep going? On the pageants now, they really should have easier questions, like what’s your middle name or what show was Seinfeld on. I mean, this girl’s a ding-dong. I didn’t even like her earrings.
OLBERMANN: The cruelest cut of all. The outcomes here, too. Perez Hilton looks like an intellectual titan and some sort of civil rights leader. And the new poster girl against same-sex marriage is not just a boob, but a fake boob. This is a real win for this cause, is it not?
MUSTO: Well, Perez is the new me, let’s leave him alone. And using the C word is something I wouldn’t do. But yes, Carrie Prejean, however you say it, she’s getting something off her chest. But what she really needs to get off is the price tag there.
Musto said he wouldn’t call Prejean a cunt! This was now the reigning standard of American liberalism on matters of gender!
Olbermann behaved this way for years. As far as we know, all the frauds who paraded last night pretended they didn’t see this. Finally, we learned that many “progressives” actually had. Here's how:
We learned this when the Daily Caller did its otherwise foolish report about the Journolist group. In that instance, it was the Daily Caller's turn to to gin up the phony outrage. But as part of the Daily Caller’s report, Jonathan Strong reported the following statements by major progressives after one of Olbermann’s rants about Prejean. As far as we know, no one has ever said that these comments were misquoted or taken out of context:
STRONG (7/23/10): Following the segment, the subject on Journolist was “I hate Keith Olbermann again,” and the members of the list let it rip.Finally, we had our answer! These ranking “progressives” were quite aware of Olbermann’s misogyny. Indeed, they were happy to identify it as such—as long as they believed they were speaking in private!
The Nation’s Katha Pollitt began the group’s rant. “He and Michael Musto did this whole long riff about beauty contestant Carrie ‘opposite marriage’ Prejean’s breast implants, stupidity, breast implants, tacky clothes, earrings, breast implants. They went on and on about how she was ‘part plastic’ and pathetic. You’d think they were celibate vegans who spent their lives zen meditating. It was just a whole TV humiliation of her, and it made me feel sorry for her, which wasn’t easy,” Pollitt said.
Michael O’Hare, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the segment was “about as funny as a rubber crutch. Odd when a reasonable person’s internal alarm doesn’t go off in a situation like that...‘I’m going to ridicule a girl who’s obviously at her personal limits just trying to look conventionally pretty on national TV? What does that make me’?”
O’Hare even suggested friends stage an intervention for Olbermann. “If anyone on the list is a friend of Olbermann, friendship demands that you give him a head-up about this lapse,” he said.
Julian Zelizer, a Princeton professor and CNN contributor, said Olbermann’s root problem is his misogyny. “I can’t take him anytime. I think to write off his misogyny as limited to Musto is just not accurate. That very much defined much of how he talked about Clinton as well as others.”
Zelizer was referring to a series of instances during the primary campaign between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama when critics from both sides of the aisle criticized Olbermann for allegedly sexist treatment towards Hillary. Olbermann was forced to apologize.
Salon’s Rebecca Traister agreed Olbermann regularly displayed his contempt for women. “Olbermann has a terrible record of going out of his way to talk about young, attractive women he believes to be stupid in grotesquely dismissive and oversexualized terms.”
Traister had written the same thing in her columns for Salon, for instance calling Olbermann out when he “felt free to call [Paris] Hilton a slut on air and speculate about whether anyone had ever ejaculated in her face.”
Blogger Lindsay Beyerstein said maybe the time was now to take down Olbermann. “When we liberals were fighting for political survival after 9/11, it was important to be disciplined and to pick our internal battles very carefully. Now that the Democrats are in charge and progressivism is ascendant, we can afford to demand more from our leaders.
“We can certainly afford to smack down Keith Olbermann when he spouts misogynist garbage,” she said.
Beyerstein suggested the time had come to challenge Olbermann in public. As far as we know, that never happened. And don’t be fooled by what Strong wrote. Though Traister had fleetingly mentioned the fact that Olbermann “felt free to call Paris Hilton a slut on air and speculate about whether anyone had ever ejaculated in her face,” she had hardly “called him out” for this conduct. For our fuller report, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/28/11.
Last night, a collection of phonies, fakes and frauds staged a five-hour “liberal” parade, expressing their outrage at Limbaugh’s conduct. These same people had averted their gaze from a decade of similar conduct by Matthews and Olbermann, with very small bouts of supporting misconduct by David Shuster and Ed Schultz.
People like Walsh lick Matthews’ hind-quarters, giving him cover on these issues. (So did Maddow in 2008 when liberals began to complain.) Walsh was editor of Salon during some of these very bad years. She never assigned a writer to report on Matthews’ decade of gruesome misconduct.
For our money, Karen Finney was the worst of the frauds last night. Disgracefully, she posed herself on the bridge to Selma as she feigned outrage about Limbaugh’s misogyny. But where was she all those previous years? And is there nothing these people respect as they stage their parades of hypocrisy?
For our money, Connie Schultz was close behind Finney, for reasons we will explore as our report continues. But all the fakes and phonies and frauds were marching in last night’s parade.
In our view, there’s a great deal more to say about this most recent Limbaugh episode. Tomorrow, we’ll move on to other aspects of last week’s events. But the rancid hypocrisy of last night’s marchers truly set a new “liberal” standard.
Fox has always treated its viewers with this degree of contempt; they built on a culture which had been pioneered by Limbaugh itself. After last night, is there any reason to say that our tribe is different or better?
Really? Is there any way to make that claim at this point?
Read about KO and Musto: Olbermann kept bringing the slimy Musto back to entertain us “progressives” with his rank misogyny.
To read our reports from 2009, click here, then enter “Musto.” To see Keith tease Musto's appearance all through the hour, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/12/09.
Musto was going to massacre Prejean again! Olbermann promised us this entertainment all through that evening’s program. All the fakes who paraded last night thought this conduct was fine.
Truly, we’re all the Fox News Channel now. Go ahead! Just explain how we’re different!