Double Standards

Critics of Rush Limbaugh Ignore Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi Misogyny

Kirsten Powers asks: If misogyny is such an outrage, why is Obama’s super PAC taking Bill Maher’s money?

The truth hurts.

Members of the professional left reacted with outrage to my column this week calling them out for their fake war against media misogyny. Instead of addressing the encyclopedia of left-wing misogyny I raised, many liberals chose instead to start a ferocious battle with all manner of straw men.

“It’s not true that liberals never call out people for misogyny!” is the refrain. Of course it’s not true, and I never said it was. Many of the professional left seem incapable of distinguishing between a few blog posts and comments condemning left-wing misogyny and a full-scale war to remove someone from their job. This really shouldn’t be so hard to grasp: If you hate misogyny and sexism in the media, then react to the consistent and repeated misogyny of men on the left with the same fervor that you have reacted to Rush Limbaugh’s sickening outbursts.

President Obama has seen fit to wade into the Limbaugh kerfuffle, even telling reporters Tuesday that Limbaugh’s behavior was an attack on everyone’s daughter and “I do not want them attacked or called horrible names.” Speaking of daughters, do you remember when Bill Maher said that the real name of then-20-year-old Bristol Palin’s book should be “Whoops, There’s a Dick in Me?”

“But Maher doesn’t have sponsors like Limbaugh does!” cry the left-wing Maher enablers. Yes, but he does have an endless stream of high-profile liberals parading through his studio. In fact, it was reported that none other than David Axelrod, who on Wednesday attacked Mitt Romney for his insufficient outrage over Limbaugh’s sexist rant, is set to visit the Maher show to kiss the ring of the Misogynist One. Also, I’m no genius, but doesn’t HBO run his show? Couldn’t liberals boycott HBO?

Rush Limbaugh is justifiably boycotted for calling a woman a “slut” and a “prostitute,” but the man who used the c-word, twat and boobs to refer to Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann is getting a visit from a top Democratic strategist. Liberals have demanded that GOP leaders denounce Limbaugh, but President Obama, who has opined repeatedly on the Limbaugh controversy, refuses to denounce Maher. This despite the fact that Maher has made a high-profile $1 million donation to Obama’s super PAC, which is run by longtime Obama aide Bill Burton.

But remember: liberals care deeply about misogyny.

“But Palin and Bachmann are public figures! It’s different than attacking a private citizen like Sandra Fluke!” the chorus of apologists chime. What principles they have. Misogyny is so terrible, but it’s fine if it’s directed at a public woman. Remember that when a conservative host calls Nancy Pelosi the c-word.

The most desperate attempt to avoid the reality of liberal misogyny was spearheaded by Keith Olbermann, who crawled out of his cave to accuse me of “defending Rush Limbaugh” because I pointed out liberal piggishness. On his Current TV show last night, the former sportscaster informed his viewer to ignore me because I was just a “house-tamed Fox News liberal.” After he also tweeted his attacks—which were echoed by other liberals trying to distort what I said—his (presumably “progressive”) followers let me know that I was a “wind-up toy” and a “bobblehead” and “just another brainless plastic doll Fox puts on camera to appease the horned up 60-year-old white dudes at home.” All the typical insults that male political analysts and columnists get, I’m sure.

Don’t forget: liberals are the feminists; it’s the GOP who hates women.

Liberal men marginalizing women in the media with name-calling is actually more common that you would think, and it isn’t reserved just for conservative women. Veteran political reporter Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post wrote this week about the time Matt Taibbi—who incidentally blurbed Rachel Maddow’s new book—described Tumulty variously as “mannish,” a “female impersonator,” a “pre-op version of Dave Barry,” and “ugly.” She says that he also “wrote at length about the size of one female reporter’s rear end, and called another one ‘squirrely bitch.’”

If the left reacted with the same furor to liberal misogyny as they have reacted to Limbaugh, misogynist cracks would go the way of racist and anti-gay “jokes.” Let’s just call a spade a spade: the uproar over Limbaugh is only because it fits into the Democratic narrative that the GOP is “anti-woman.” It’s Democratic Party activism dressed up as feminism.

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In an painful-to-watch video posted to YouTube today, Democratic congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee and Jan Schakowsky—who both blasted Limbaugh for his behavior—repeatedly refuse to condemn Bill Maher calling Gov. Sarah Palin a “c--t” and a “dumb twat.” Why is this so difficult?

Jehmu Greene, a Democratic strategist who is the former president of the Women’s Media Center, told me: “There are countless fair-weather feminists in the progressive community. Caring about sexism is important when it suits their political goal. Because the most important voting bloc for President Obama is women, as we head closer to November you will see these fair-weather feminists start burning their bras for political expediency.”

Regarding liberals going on Bill Maher’s show instead of protesting him, Greene says: “They care more about their friendship with him and their personal visibility than about how offensive he is. A lot of liberals wear getting booked on his show as a badge of honor when they should be repulsed by him. ”

Says Greene: “It’s imperative liberals have this conversation [about left-wing media misogyny], no matter how uncomfortable it makes them. If liberals address our own culpability when it comes to sexism and misogyny, more women will dare to compete [in the public arena], which will dramatically increase victories on the issues we care most about.”

Indeed. Are you listening David Axelrod?