Saturday, July 19, 2008


It's fitting that this appears on the 160th anniversary commemoration in Seneca Falls of the First Woman's Rights conference in 1848 because one of the truisms expressed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton was "Women will always be dependent until she holds a purse of her own".

Most women now have that purse. Or they share it. Or they have both. And having that power is important because sometimes its the only power that makes people listen. And when women choose to use it things happen.

It may be time to use it now over what happened early in the primary campaign. Clinton supporters had not yet seen the extent of the sexist, underhanded bullying treatment of Clinton by Obama and his supporters, the DNC and the news media or what was to come. But it was a watershed moment in the campaign (one of two) and it changed the nature and tone of the primary season from that moment on. It was David Shuster's on air remarks where he referred to Senator Clinton and President Clinton as "pimping out their daughter" because Chelsea Clinton was making phone calls to super delegates on her mother's behalf.

The degree of outrage expressed at the time by the news media and Howard Dean and the DNC was nowhere to be found and the punishment meted out by MSNBC added insult to injury. We all remember Don Imus being fired for his tasteless remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Shuster's remarks about Clinton were no less tasteless and just as offensive and came in the heat of a Presidential primary and were directed at the first woman candidate for President in history.

At the time Senator Clinton essentially had to come to her own defense, threatening MSNBC with pulling out of a debate if something wasn't done. The something that was done was tepid. The network's response to Shuster's' comment about the first woman candidate for President and her husband, a former President as "pimping out their daughter" was a two week suspension. It was almost reminiscent of that scene in the Godfather where the undertaker comes to Don Corelone complaining that two men who beat his daughter received nothing more than a suspended sentence. "They went free that very day. And those two bastards looked at me and smiled at me."

There was probably a lot of smiling going on in the ranks of the anti Clinton news media ( though I think Obama wiped that smile off their faces by now) and in the Obama campaign (though I think the smiles are gone there too and they are now scared to death of an open convention with Clinton's name in nomination). There were probably some smiles at the DNC also who, in their infinite stupidity thought they were going to "re-brand" the Democratic Party with Obama and that has backfired also now that Obama has been exposed for what more than half the party saw from the first. But at the time they probably thought Shuster was making their job easier.

Referring to Senator Clinton as "pimping out her daughter" also reduced Chelsea Clinton to some kind of political prostitute simply because she was helping out her mother, and there was also the inherent implication that they were abusing or even exploiting their daughter.

The way that moment was treated let Clinton's adversaries know early in the campaign that it was open season on Hillary Clinton. And there would be no public price to pay. Those remarks opened the door for the news media, Howard Dean and the DNC and Barack Obama to pile on knowing they could get away with it and for most the part they did -- but only so far -- because its not too late. The statute of limitations hasn't run out and with the kind of economic power women alone now have ( they make up about 60% of Clinton supporters) if they use that power they can get David Shuster fired.

This may be water under the bridge to some, or maybe to even more than some, but if there had been more outrage at the time and had there been some organized demand that Shuster be fired, MSNBC would have had no choice. And it would have changed the tone of the entire campaign.

The meager punishment handed down to Shuster trivialized what he said and created an atmosphere where bullying, condescension and a lot more would become par for the course. It was open season on Clinton. Nothing to worry about. Say what you want. There will be no consequences.

Had Shuster made the same comment about Obama and his wife, the uproar and demands that he be fired would have been so great that Shuster not only would have been fired within 24 hours, they wouldn't have so much as let him back into the building to get his belongings. And when Imus' suspension wasn't considered harsh enough, ironically it was Obama who was the first elected official to demand that Imus be fired.

All Shuster received, like the two men who "ruined" the undertakers daughter, was a two week suspension -- a leave of absence that allowed MSNBC and Shuster to save face and that shouldnt be good enough. Nothing short of firing him should have been acceptable. But that doesn't mean it's over.

GE is the parent of NBC. And GE and Microsoft are the parent of MSNBC. All it would take would be a boycott of Microsoft and GE products by Clinton supporters offended by Shuster's remarks and Shuster would be gone after some feeble attempts at face saving. And there is no reason why Clinton's supporters shouldn't demand the action now that should have been taken then.

If Clinton's supporters, especially women, let it go without taking specific action against Shuster, its going to be harder to get those kinds of complaints taken seriously the next time a woman gets steam rolled in the political arena. In fact its been almost impossible to get the media to admit to the sexism even now. A massive boycott of the products of the parent companies unless Shuster is fired would be a step towards making sure something like that never happens again. And it will let those in power know that the next time something like that happens, there are going to be a lot of Godmothers out there to contend with.


untilthelastdogdies said...

Damn Marc! I've so much enjoyed your essays that I am convinced you run them by Gore Vidal. ;)

You richly deserve all the accolades coming your way. I do hope you are submitting each and every one of them as op-ed pieces to all major-market newspapers and periodicals.

What a pleasure...TIP is the best!

Anonymous said...

Shuster's comment was indeed an outrage and MSNBC's punishment was a joke. Don't forget that MSNBC's parent company is GE and GE is a major contributor to Obama. No wonder he gets such good press from MSNBC and NBC. I tuned out their networks way back in March because of their slanted coverage and sexist treatment of Senator Clinton. We're 18 million strong and we need to use our political/financial strength to boycott the network and their sponsors. I agree that Shuster needs to go, but so does Matthews and Oberman.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, Marc. I have lived most of my life in Washington state and have boybotted Microsoft products and anything even remotely related to microsoft for the last 7 years - I am very happy to boycott GE as well. Shuster needs to go and GE/microsoft need to get a clue! If money is what they understand, then they will hear it loud and clear from me.

Anonymous said...


You must really have it out for that guy Shuster. How sad.

What he said was true, even if he used coarse language to make his point.

You should spend a little more time thinking about real problems of gender bias in the workplace... and less time being so jealous of Mr. Shuster's broadcasting success.

Shuster is a solid journalist who has done great work over the years. Find somebody else to pick on.

democraticjack said...

Right on target as usual, Marc. Personally, I have a much longer list of those who deserve their license to spiel crap pulled. Schuster was trying to appeal to his "base" and that would be Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman. The lack of response from those you mentioned and the "it's just modern slang" defense mad my blood boil.

Anonymous said...

marc, great work, yea you are right had the same thing been said about barack pimping his wife, all hell would of broke loose, thats for sure. where the hell was rev. al not so sharpton? i guess he had better things to do. i read your blog every two days or so , first time commenting. keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

About time outrage - over unfair "reporting, commenting" and skewered political analysis -is expressed and condemned in the most effective way - Boycott. I've done that in my own solitary way of protesting what I felt was horrid journalism practiced by some incredibly irresponsible "journalists". Have suspended subscription to Newsweek and Time and no longer watch CNN. Have for a very long time NOT purchased, patronized, used etc. any product or services advertised in media I find offensive.

There should be some kind of a clearing house website where a list of products to boycott can be read. Do not exclude foreign products since many of these offensive media have worldwide reach.

Crickie said...

If Shuster, Olbermann, and Matthews had spoken even one tenth the insults about Obama as they did about Hillary, they would have been fired the first week and HRC would be the nominee. It is so unbelievable that after 160 years of seeking to confirm that women are fully as worthy as men in all respects that this self evident truth still is sneered at by many in public office and all over the media. We need to reconvene the Senaca Falls group.

sandy said...

The whole contest with ALL the pundits was a joke. we have to be united and hit them where it hurts, the pocket book.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft and GE 50-50 for website

Microsoft 18 GE 82 ownership on the cable channel.

Shuster was bad, but wouldn't KO be a better target. Shuster slipped up BADLY, but KO has been worse in my opinion. Or even KM.

Anonymous said...

Shuster was trying to be hip and cool, using the language of the younger generation. (Sort of like that fool Shepard Smith on Fox)I really wasn't that offended by it, personally.
I am, however, offended by his biased "reporting", lies of ommission,and generally dishonest coverage-- all while disguising himself as a reporter.
Plenty of reasons to fire this clown, but you missed them.

Anonymous said...

Great post...

One poster thinks Shuster is a successful journalist. I guess if you use foul, vulgar accusations at a former President's daughter and her mother who is a respectable Senator. Some people have such low expectations of others. A good journalist wouldn't have needed to say such a low, crass thing about another person.

You all are right, if something like that would have been said about MEEchelle Obama, all hell would have broke loose. These men make me sick.

glennmcgahee said...

Remember all the hip pundits being appalled when the BBC reporter actually reported that Samantha Powers had told her that Hillary Clinton was a "monster". The MSNBC and the CNN hosts all were atwitter that she told the public something that was actually said by team Obama. Tucker Carlson even said that if he were to do that he would have trouble getting the politicians and surrogates to come on his show. It was very telling and something I will never forget. I specically remember the hatred directed from Nora O'Donnel on MSNBC when she had to report the story and her condemnation of the reporter. The BBC reporter was shocked at the attitude of American media toward her. I hope we get a few of these foriegn reporters willing to ask some hard questions to Obama while he is over there.

jbjd said...

If not for these and other vile misogynistic missives aimed at Senator Clinton by the press, we might not have fully grasped the moral bankruptcy of Senator Obama and the DNC, complicit in their silence. And if Senator Obama hadn't called for the firing of Don Imus for his on-air characterization of the Rutger's girls' basketball team, citing his concerns for his daughters' sensibilities; we might not have fully grasped this man is a moral hypocrite, silent on Mr. Shuster and, flipping off the former First Lady.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Shuster got a 2 week suspension is because thousands of Hillary's supporters sent emails and phoned GE's executive offices. Pressure was applied, and then Hillary sent them the letter. MSNBC pundits misread the letter for days, claiming Hillary was demanding that Shuster be fired. They called her all sorts of names. The MSM has lost all credibility.

waiting4hrc said...

Marc, Thank you for telling us about the statute of limitations. I'm on board for the boycott. Can you create an online petition??

I'd like to add that the comment was also demeaning to the Chelsea, as if she had no mind of her own in choosing to help campaign.

Hillary for President. Marc Rubin for VP.

Anonymous said...

people should start campains to boycutt GE and who ever owns msnbc nbc and cnn. what they did and still doing is a violation of every journalistic code known. the only way they will respond if their bottom line is affected, unless pres. obama promised them something more profitable.

Anonymous said...

It is more important to boycott all of NBC and msnbc with their advertisers.The bottom line is all they care about and understand.When no one buys ads they are off the air.There are so many (all) of the host especially the women,Nora,Andrea,Mika along with Mathews,Shuster,Tucker,Obermann so close the shop!!

Anonymous said...

Please check this out:

Obama's arrogance astounds me. That he is so blatant about it is the most astounding of all. You would think that he would try and hide it behind some sort of "blush."

This guy gets scarier every day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder. I was one of those who emailed and called GE and MSNBC about the Schuster "incident". I told them then that I was planning a kitchen remodel and would absolutely not use GE products,even though I had several now and really was pleased with them. I will be sending them a letter with the bills of sale for all those appliances that do not say GE on them and letting them see how I keep my word.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

waiting4hrc said...

I like the comment by ANONYMOUS who is showing GE the bill for nonGE purchases. Good strategy!

Marc, why don't each of us sign a boycott 'pledge' and send it to GE and MS?

grather said...

Check out Bonnie Erbe's article on "Obama's Fundraising Hypocrisy"

Ms Bluegrass said...

Marc, As always, I agree with your article. I started my boycott about four months ago. I used to be a "news junkie." I had the television news on 24/7. When I began to see how the MSM specifically, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, were so blatant in their bias and sexism against Senator Clinton and in the tank for Obama, I just turned it off..including my CNN news page on my computer...I have BBC now.

The DNC in collusion with the MSM and the Obama campaign may have thought they could cheat their way through this campaign and steal this election. They are finding that there is a price to pay for disenfranchising their base. Hillary has the power now and so do we, her tenacious supporters! Be careful what you cheat for Dean, Pelosi, Brazile etc, You may just find yourself handing a surefire Democratic victory to the GOP.iwci