Rachel Maddow on bloggers

// 16 November 2008

Via Feministing

Comments From You

polly styrene // Posted 16 November 2008 at 9:53 am

Well actually, it has now turned out that all the stories about Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent and going on rampaging shopping sprees weren’t true after all.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/nov/13/sarahpalin-blogging

The attacks on Palin were both misogynist and classist. While I don’t necessarily agree with her stance on defence for instance, it is inescapable that there was a lot of stuff simply made up about her. Particularly in the UK media.

Where we didn’t get to hear nearly so much about, for instance Barack Obama’s personal opposition to gay marriage, association with homophobic figures (Donnie McClurkin), and own aggressive foreign policy (saying he would kill Bin Laden and increase troop numbers in Afghanistan). Oh and he thought there were 57 states.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws

Renee // Posted 16 November 2008 at 3:44 pm

Gotta say I thought this was all kinds of awesome. I especially loved the slippers

Zenobia // Posted 16 November 2008 at 8:11 pm

Well actually, it has now turned out that all the stories about Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent and going on rampaging shopping sprees weren’t true after all.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/nov/13/sarahpalin-blogging

The attacks on Palin were both misogynist and classist. While I don’t necessarily agree with her stance on defence for instance, it is inescapable that there was a lot of stuff simply made up about her. Particularly in the UK media.

This doesn’t happen too often, but I agree with you.

Altogether the wrong things were attacked about Palin. Not that there isn’t plenty there to attack, but I thought a lot of the attacks were misogynist, and her daughter shouldn’t have been brought into it. Classist, I don’t know, quite likely. Certainly, a lot of attacks on the right-wing can be very classist, which is doubly annoying because calling right-wing people ‘rednecks’ isn’t really the best way to attract people to the left, and implying that working-class people vote right-wing because they’re comically stupid isn’t very socialist.

Then again, let’s not pretend that there weren’t plenty of caricatures of Obama variously eating watermelon or getting lynched.

RosietheRiveter // Posted 16 November 2008 at 9:05 pm

In what MSM venue were there any cariactures of Obama being lynched? What stories reported in the MSM referred to Obama as a gangsta? Salon.com had a photoshopped pic of Palin in dominatrix gear and the “Wasilla hillbilly” smear has appeared in Newsweek and on Fox.

Excusing the sexist or classist attacks on Palin by saying, even incorrecty, that equally offensive attacks were made against Obama, is the kind of ne-ne-boo-boo behavior that my mother insisted that I give up when I was six.

Jess McCabe // Posted 16 November 2008 at 9:22 pm

I think Rachel Maddow’s point wasn’t ‘there’ve been no problematic attacks on Sarah Palin’ – it was about the specific comments about bloggers.

The fact is that – at least from the coverage I saw, incidentally mainly though the US feminist blogs critiquing it – those attacks were coming from ‘old media’ as much as bloggers.

The stuff about not knowing Africa was a continent wasn’t, as I understand it, even started by a blogger – it was a well-known prankster – the New York Times has a story about what happened.

Actually it was shoddy reporting and a lack of fact-checking that seems to have been responsible for this one – it had nothing to do with “bloggers in PJs”.

Anne Onne // Posted 16 November 2008 at 10:32 pm

The problem with the media is firstly, lack fo fact-checking. We saw some really lazy journalism during the run up to the election, when what people most needed were facts.

There was plenty of racism, and plenty of sexism, and I don’t think one was less prevalent than the other.

I don’t believe her daughter should have been brought into it, but in one way, I think questions were right: that Palin emphasises that her daughter had excersised her CHOICE, and that they had done what was best for their family. Given Palin’s policy where she wishes to deny other girls to make this choice, and wanted to deny women the support to raise children did they choose to have them, this is absolutely relevant, because she chose to emphasise that her daughter had been allowed the ‘choice’ whilst wanting to remove choice from the menu for everyone else. I don’t think it right to focus on the children of politicians, and that they should be kept out of the media,and that the media should respect their privacy.

But for that hypocrisy, Palin deserves to be spotlighted, absolutely. Not her daughter, but Palin, for how her personal decisions and wording don’t match her manifesto. Though I do think ALL of the candidates deserved to be grilled on their abortion/women’s health credentials, because the slippery suckers avoided answering questions on this like the plague. Somebody shoulda lent Paxman or something. He doesn’t know a thing about gender, but at least he doesn’t spend more time flattering politicians’ egos than grilling them…

I don’t think that a male policitcian would have gotten the same amount of attention for this (or if their son had gotten a woman pregnant), and I do think the focus on her wardrobe/looks was sexist, obviously.

She got a LOT of flack specifically because she was female, and this meant that she was judged more harshly for any mistakes than the golden McCain (and Obama was judged just as harshly in other ways, by being implied to be unpatriotic, socialist, muslim, foreign all the time),so the entire coverage was sickening.

It makes me sad to realise that had the state of the US not been so bad, Obama would not have won. It makes me sadder to realise that Palin being a woman probably made Obama’s victory a little easier, whilst giving the Republicans a convenient scape-goat.

But, the blogosphere has played a big role in pointing out genuine sexism as well as pointing out when the cries of ‘sexism’ coming from the right were just covers to get the media to leave Palin alone. Considering the same people who spent the whole time being misogynists towards Hilary Clinton suddenly realised sexism exists when Palin was running, and have now promptly forgotten and started smearing Palin, I think the blogosphere is actually more constant than the US media in a sense.

The same people who were pointing out true sexism during the campaign have not stopped now.

Besides, I suspect Palin’s worst enemy (apart from herself) has been her party (for babying her and crying sexism to keep her out of the discussion) and the US media, which recognises sexism when a conventionally attractive republican woman is concerned, but only so long as she’s running. As soon as the race was over, the media and her party have made her a scape goat, which is more worrying than what any individual blogger has been saying.

Genevieve // Posted 16 November 2008 at 10:49 pm

I think Sarah Palin’s a very confused person. She claimed to stand for all the hockey moms and plumbers out there, but many of her most famous comments were mocking the ‘little guys’–community organizers and now bloggers. She opposes universal healthcare, which would be ultimately beneficial towards less-wealthy people.

Basically, she’s a typical Republican who’s angry that in this age of new media, more people have a voice than just the paid TV, magazine, and newspaper writers from before.

Zenobia // Posted 17 November 2008 at 9:32 am

I think Rachel Maddow’s point wasn’t ‘there’ve been no problematic attacks on Sarah Palin’ – it was about the specific comments about bloggers.

The fact is that – at least from the coverage I saw, incidentally mainly though the US feminist blogs critiquing it – those attacks were coming from ‘old media’ as much as bloggers.

Fair enough, although I think there is less pressure to work to a high standard when blogging, I mean it’s easier to have a post proving conclusively that Sarah Palin is a werewolf or something (“Consider the evidence! She never comes out during the full moon!”), and perhaps too much of a tendency from news outlets to be a little naive about the internet.

Although you’re right in general, I don’t think the distinction’s quite that clear, because for a lot of bloggers it’s worth producing high-quality content for its own sake.

Plus I like Rachel Maddow generally. I was just a bit horrified that as soon as Sarah Palin came along with anti-abortion views lots of bloggers (very few of them feminist, it’s true) suddenly delved into her and her daughter’s ovaries to see what they could dredge up.

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