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Pimped Out for Hillary

By Wendy Kaminer,

        Ellen Malcolm, president of Emily’s List, the formidable PAC for democratic women, seems confident that she speaks for me, or, at least, millions of women like me, in her letter lambasting MSBNC for demeaning women.  “I know I speak for millions across this country,” Malcolm wrote, “when I demand that you take immediate steps and publicly tell us what you will do to eliminate this sexist and demeaning culture that has become so pervasive in your network.”   


        I know I speak for myself when I say that I found Malcolm’s letter a bit theatrical, as well as presumptuous.  What was MSNBC’s offense? Correspondent David Shuster remarked that Chelsea Clinton has been “pimped out in some weird way” by her mother on the campaign trail.  Yes, it was a stupid and at least arguably sexist comment:  Has Shuster ever said, or would he ever say, that Mitt Romney “pimped out” his five telegenic sons?  

        Still, I’ve heard much worse, and I bet that Malcolm has too, although she does make a point of sounding shocked and appalled: "I'm sending this letter today to let you know that the misogynistic pattern in the reporting by your network must come to an end," Malcolm thundered, in her letter to MSBNC Vice President Phil Griffin.
  "Your tolerance for this behavior speaks volumes about the corporate culture of MSNBC.  If you refuse to take action, women across the country, viewers, sponsors, and consumers can only assume your implicit endorsement of this type of sexist commentary on women and repugnant treatment of our children."

        I don't want to be unfair to Ellen Malcolm.  I understand she has a job to do, pimping for Hillary Clinton; but I don’t think she's doing a good job for feminism by threatening to boycott the network for insulting the former first daughter  -- an obviously intelligent adult who should be capable of defending herself.  Of course, mine may be a minority feminist view.  Over at the Huffington Post, Taylor Marsh shares Malcom’s outrage over Shuster’s remark, which she takes personally, along with “all women,” she implies: “By attacking Chelsea Clinton in this way they are attacking all women,” Marsh declares. “In what world do we allow political pundits to attack a young woman proudly campaigning for her mother, a woman who is running for president, then let them get away with calling her mother a pimp and the daughter a hooker?"


        In my world, Taylor, we allow political pundits to say whatever stupid little things come into their handsome little heads; at least we don’t try to get them fired for offending us.  But again, I speak for myself.  Shuster was temporarily suspended for his remark, and he is reportedly about to issue an on air apology.  I bet he won't be speaking for himself. 


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