Thursday, November 10, 2011

War Against Women

New York Times columnist Gail Collins has a running shtick of always including the story about how Mitt Romney once strapped his dog to the roof of his car during a family vacation. Today was no exception, as she lambasted the freak show that purported to be the umpteenth Republican presidential debate.

And here is part of what The Times moderators saw fit to publish from reader-commenter Richard Luettgen of New Jersey:
But you continue to misinform the public about Seamus, the dog that has achieved immortality by allegedly being strapped to the roof of Mitt's car during a family jaunt to Canada. The only dogs that Mitt ever strapped to the roof of a car were Herman Cain's old girlfriends.
It's posted at Number 15 and as of this writing has six reader recommendations, probably from six conservative men (including its own author).* It's just one small ugly part of the backlash against the victims of Herman Cain's predatory paws. And it's not just coming from men. New York Daily News columnist Andrea Tantoros says that women are hurting "the sisterhood" by coming forward to complain. In an article headlined Ladies: Time to Man Up!, she writes:

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Cain isn’t guilty of sexual misconduct that took place when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s. But this scandal should have every woman asking: At what point do women need to take some responsibility?.... Whining that an off-color comment or a clumsy attempt at a date is abuse undermines real charges of assault, not to mention real issues that this country should be focused on during an election season, like a nuclear Iran, our toxic debt and a sputtering domestic economy.
Tantoros even manages to get a dig in at the OWS Zuccotti Park women. "Rather than go to the authorities," she sniffs, "women have reportedly been told to not take complaints to the police so that the incidents can be handled 'internally,' whatever that means. But the National Organization for Women doesn’t seem to be making a big stink about that."

Even female reporters confronting Cain on his behavior are getting abused. CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo was booed by the audience at last night's Republican debate when she questioned him. (and she's not exactly an anti-greed liberal). And this morning, the right-wing American Thinker crowed: "Weak Field Spanks CNBC Liberals."  

Even worse: in the corporate journalistic spirit of telling both sides of a story, Cain's criminal defense attorney was given a platform in the New York Times to warn women to "think twice" before coming forward. "I'm not here to scare anyone off," Lin Wood smarmily told The Times. "I've been brought in to bring an element of fairness to the accusations being brought." 

In the spirit of independent blogging, I will add that to its credit, The Times also rehashed all the conservative slime from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and even included a few quotes from the victims.  All in the spirit of fairness and accuracy, of course.

* Update: Enough readers have flagged and/or complained about this offensive remark to have it removed from the comments thread. Trust the readers to do the right thing. Hurray for the spirit of interactive journalistic democracy! One small step against misogyny -- one giant leap for human decency.


Marie Burns said...

Okay. So grabbing a woman "underneath her skirt" and forcing her head into fellatio position is "a clumsy attempt at asking for a date." I guess that makes rape a clumsy manner of scoring.

These deniers, jokers, misogynists and proponents of violence against women make me physically ill.

And the threat by Cain's attorney wasn't idle; it was thuggery in the rawest form, given free advertisement in the paper of record.

Conservative women need to get a grip and call out sexual assault and threats of character assassination for what they are.

Valerie said...

Boy, they are really attacking from all sides aren't they? These allegations are so CLEARLY shocking that they should have been enough to knock Cain right out of the race. It really is a sign of the times that people are defending him and attacking anyone who is pursuing this matter.

As for OWS wanting to handle its own security - With the police telling drunks and miscreants to "Take it over to Zuccotti Park" it is pretty clear that this is the kind of thing – the harassment or rape of women is just what they are hoping for so they can discredit the movement. I give the protesters credit for getting out ahead of it. And if I was a female protester and was harassed (or worse), I know who I would trust to handle the situation respectfully and quickly - and it wouldn't be the NY police force.

James Singer said...

I wouldn't be too quick to think Richard Luettgen's remark was taken down because of readers' complaints. It could have been because Mitten's campaign complained.

Kate Madison said...

Let us tell it like it is! The right wing nuts HATE women, as well as disrespect and demean them. And I include wing nut women here. They are the sorriest of all. Republicans all--unless they call themselves "Libertarians" - HA!

I expect right-wing men to be misogynistic pigs, but I am still shocked when I hear women speak up to defend the abuser, when another woman (or women) has been sexually harassed, abused or otherwise disrespected. Gotta be Stockholm Syndrome. Can't think of another reason--other than pure stupidity.

Rachel Maddow is right. Herman Cain is not running for president. He is practicing "performance art" and selling lots of his silly ghost-written book. And laughing all the way to the 9-9-9 bank. Whatta scumbag.

James F Traynor said...


Kat said...

It is particularly sickening that Cain's donations shot up after the latest allegations.
Those uppity women! Put 'em in their place.

Denis Neville said...

Quote of the Day

“I might add that using the term "impropriety" to describe what was at issue in legal settlements regarding Herman Cain is also a cop-out. He is charged with sexual abuse of power and sexual assault. And his indifference to these charges springs from the same sense of privileged entitlement that marks the despicable leadership of Penn State's football team.” – Andrew Sullivan