February 09, 2008

Big Pimpin'

Are you kidding me? I won't be at all surprised if some of the rest of you disagree with this, but I find the Clinton campaign's outrage over David Schuster's "pimped out" comment to be something between weird, absurd and self-serving. It's the latter of course because if Clinton gets to appear the victim and the underdog it's likely to help her in the polls and at the polls (or that's certainly how everyone seems to have interpreted the aftermath of the pre-New Hampshire debate and her "crying"). But I also think it's bizarre because 1) Schuster's comment was basically incomprehensible (literally, it made no sense, and I have to think most viewers saw it that way) and 2) so many news anchors and reporters have said things that sound so much worse (to my ears, at least). I mean if the Clinton campaign is going to harp on an MSNBC voice, why aren't they calling for the head of Chris Matthews since Matthews has a long history of demeaning and inflammatory comments about Sen. Clinton? Or why isn't Clinton calling for the head of one or more of the Fox News set that's said far worse?

Posted by armand at February 9, 2008 05:53 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics


There's already been a significant amount of discussion in the left/feminist blogsphere about this incident. It feels to me like the straw that broke the camel's back. Hillary has been on the receiving end of a ton of this stuff, and one of the interesting things that has come out of it is rallying people behind her that might not have before.


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Posted by: binky at February 9, 2008 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

There's been plenty of deserved complaining about various slights clearly gendered in undertone, but this, if anything, is more like an adult trying to talk like the kids and falling flat in the effort. If the HRC camp needed a rallying cry, they chose an odd one.

Posted by: moon at February 9, 2008 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, just to be clear, what I don't get is the target. The Clinton campaign has been on the receiving end of lots of awful stuff - so why, when they finally call for someone to get fired over this, single out Schuster? His was not (I don't think) the most offensive statement, and he doesn't have the kind of pattern of such statements that other pundits and tv personalities do. Unless they think that by taking on a less than famous personality they are more likely to be successful in getting the guy fired and dominating the news cycle that way ... well he seems a really weird choice to go after. I mean if they were really serious about demanding that the public discourse needs to be cleaned up, Schuster's not who you'd go after.

Posted by: Armand at February 9, 2008 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

This interpretation makes some sense.

On the other hand, many have rightly criticized Chris Matthews for his repeatedly degrading, often sexist and consistently clownish comments about Hillary Clinton. The most logical way for me to understand this development is that MSNBC is under a lot of fire for Matthews -- but Matthews is untouchable -- and Shuster's easier to can or suspend.

Posted by: binky at February 10, 2008 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well yes and no. It makes sense if you are trying to control a news cycle and get a head that you can use to proclaim a victory.

But if you are really bothered by the tone and content of a lot of the remarks, and really want to work to change, you'd go after the supposed untouchable who's a much bigger offender. That's how you'd really get a debate over the issue joined.

Posted by: Armand at February 10, 2008 02:01 PM | PERMALINK

Could be "low hanging fruit" - take the easiest one, but let it serve as an example overall, and hope that one example influences the behavior of the entire group.

Posted by: baltar at February 10, 2008 02:07 PM | PERMALINK

I know there is some debate about this and that TPM comes down on the side of "she asked for Shuster to be fired," but looking at the letter, I see significant attention to the bigger picture:

Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.

I would urge you to look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language.

To me that sounds like, fine, you suspend him and make him apologize, but the problem is not him but the poisonous climate. Meaning, I think Baltar is accurate.

Posted by: binky at February 10, 2008 02:19 PM | PERMALINK

But if it's the poisonous climate you want changed getting rid of Schuster isn't going to fix that. It won't even fix that on his own network. Nothing short of firing Matthews will get him to stop his ridiculous comments on MSNBC. They seem to come from the core of him. Firing Schuster would if anything (I think) make Matthews more likely to make such comments in the future, as his resentment swells.

Posted by: Armand at February 10, 2008 03:00 PM | PERMALINK

That's why I think that disciplining (or firing) Shuster isn't the central point. Sure, use him as the bad example, but the real target is the pattern.

UPDATE: A post from Pandagon

Posted by: binky at February 10, 2008 03:04 PM | PERMALINK

How Obama lost one.

Posted by: binky at February 11, 2008 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well a lot of that's just silly. I very much doubt he goes over the song lists played at his campaign events, of course he's going to have pro-coal votes on his record since (for now) he's representing Illinois, he wouldn't be faced with the problems of there being no good options on Iraq if the Clinton's hadn't helped get us into that war, the "present" business is just plain stupid and show's you're not really paying attention to the details of Illinois politics, etc etc etc.

But is he Russ Feingold? No, of course he's not. But neither is Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Armand at February 12, 2008 10:02 AM | PERMALINK
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