Hillary's righteous anger, Bill's obliviousness – UPDATED

Hillary Clinton has every right to be seriously teed off at MSNBC and David Shuster:

In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson Friday excoriated MSNBC’s David Shuster for suggesting the Clinton campaign had “pimped out” 27-year old Chelsea by having her place phone calls to Democratic Party superdelegates on her mother’s behalf. Wolfson called the comment “beneath contempt” and disgusting.

Well, that’s absolutely right, and the decline in professionalism within the mainstream media continues. Shuster’s comment was tasteless and classless. It’s not how you refer to the daughter of an ex-president and sitting senator. It’s not how you talk about anyone’s daughter.

President Harry Truman threatened to punch a reporter in the nose for much less.

I expect Shuster has just helped Hillary’s coffers get filled with the donations of outraged parents. His gaffe was inexcusable and Mrs. Clinton will use it to her advantage, which is not a bad thing when you’re ringing up $500,000 in parking bills. She does not reassure about managing our money, does she?

Bill Clinton, however, will likely overdo – somehow – and end up making the net effect a wash. He is running around saying he has learned his lesson from his excesses in Nevada and S. Carolina:

Clinton also said that everything he said in South Carolina about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was “factually accurate,” but a lot that has been said about what he said is “factually inaccurate.”

“I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate,” Clinton said, referring to his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is waging a hard-fought contest with Obama for the Democratic nomination.

He’s still splitting hairs and language, which shows he hasn’t learned much, but yes, it is good that he figured out at as a former president he is not like any other spouse. Nice to see him tuned in.

UPDATED: Ann Althouse says Shuster should be fired for saying “all Americans should be proud of Chelsea Clinton.” I agree that that was just gag-inducing obsequience.

And so is this. MSNBC cancelled programming to air a 1 hour Hillary bio? Too much. Way over the line. A typically overplayed hand.

Wow, a lot of people disagree with me about Shuster’s comment being tasteless and classless. It seems to me that adult children of candidates should be able to campaign for their parents without hearing that they’ve been “pimped out.” As I said elsewhere, if – when the Bush twins did their little skit at the RNC convention Shuster had said they were being “pimped out” what would your reaction have been?

IMHO dislike of the Clintons should not color a matter of basic civility. Shuster was rude. He apologized. The network suspended him to cover their rear ends. That should be the end of it. If Hillary “punishes” MSNBC by not debating she’ll look like she is afraid to debate and looking for an excuse.

Captain Ed: As for David Shuster, he deserves a short time in the penalty box for using a prostitution term to describe anyone on a news show. It’s not just offensive — which it is — but it’s intellectually lazy and a lame attempt to sound “down wit’ it”, something of which we don’t need any more from television.

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  • Terrye

    Yes, they have turned on the Clintons. But they love Obama. In fact I think there is something strange about the whole Obama thing. I saw something on Best of the Web about the creepy quality of the Obama adoration and I have to admit I agreed. Some of his followers are just that, followers…rapt and adoring and almost like a cult following sort of thing. Needless to say the Obama as antiChrist stuff just makes it all that much weirder. I never thought anyone could make Hillary look normal, but I have to admit that she does not seem so uppity right now.

    But I still won’t vote for her.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Impolite? perhaps. Erroneous? hardly, the Clintons have pimped out countless folks on their behalf over the years.

    Even so, let’s take it for granted that it was unprofessional, tasteless, and wrong to say something rude about a politician’s family. Is that something for which the speaker should be silenced and thrown off the air?

    A network caving in to pressure from governmental candidates or officeholders for the speech someone engages in is fare more egregious. I was wrong, she is not Hillary Peron, she is Hillary Stalin, she is Fidel Clinton, she is Hillary Chavez.

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  • TheAnchoress

    Shuster was suspended, not silenced. He was suspended because he made the network look bad and that deserved a discipline – just from a BUSINESS standpoint, he needed to be suspended to reassure advertisers etc that the network is not going to get them boycotted.

    Sometimes a suspension is just a suspension.

  • http://AmusedCynic.com driver

    Oh, I absolutely agree that MSNBC’s action was completely self-serving. It’s just interesting that the nasty stunt he pulled with Rep. Blackburn using the name of deceased Pvt. Jeremy Bohannon didn’t get them concerned enough to discipline him.

  • LtRasczak

    One has to wonder how Monica Lewiniski’s father feels about this whole discussion.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Sometimes a suspension is just a suspension, but a suspension is always punitive, and it is always meant to have a chilling effect and act as a prior restraint. How many more people are going to get slapped down and punished merely because of the content of their speech, especially when they are merely passing remarks? It doesn’t matter even if it is a biased liberal like Shuster or a biased liberal like Chris Matthews or the moronic liberal Don Imus or the naive Tiger Woods fan Kelly Tilghman. How many more people are going to be hounded and forced to bend and scrape the ground in fealty?

    And here I was foolish enough to think that the Sedition Act had expired and that seditious libel was no longer an offense in the United States. John Peter Zenger is turning over in his grave.

  • http://manolaw.blogspot.com skatz51

    Unfortunately, Shuster, I am afraid, has given some more life to Hillary’s campaign where she can once again play the “victim”. Now she can once again cry, this time as a mother whose daughter was maligned by the MSM and, of course, men.

    She and her campaign will love the bounce she’ll get from this tactic.

  • TheAnchoress

    When the Bush twins did their little schtick for Dad at the last convention, had someone said they’d been “pimped out to help dad” I think most of us would have been pretty offended. Is the rule going to be, now, that if a kid helps a candidate’s campaign, anything may be said about them?

    Let me see…Giuliani’s kids didn’t campaign for him, and that was ‘bad’. A kid campaigns for a parent and that is “being pimped out.”

    Please.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    As for the accuracy of the statement, or lack thereof, whether one uses the phrase “pimped out” or not, if the Clintons were not using and exploiting Chelsea before, it is pretty clear that they are using and exploiting her NOW to create a bunch of sympathetic outrage, as well as to intimidate other media from saying “unacceptable” things about the Clintons. Yes, once again, the Clintons are manufacturing the outrage of the day, they are resorting to the old tactic of crying about being picked on, to create sympathy for Hillary, as well as distract everyone from other aspects of the campaign.

    If MSNBC really cared about avoiding “inexcusable” discourse on its network, it might start by cancelling its “Worst Person in the World” segment that they show EVERY NIGHT, intentionally and purposely insulting all sorts of people, each of whom is somebody’s son or daughter.

  • Terrye

    Yes, this is tacky. Discourse continues the nose dive.

  • ebayenigma

    I agree with the Anchoress on this one. There are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and that is one of them. Just an observation: I think that the best thing Bill Clinton could do for his wife’s campaign is to get a good case of laryngitis.

  • TheAnchoress

    Bender, I am not going to spend the day arguing with you today; it’s too much rage, too much unending anger – I can’t and won’t get trapped inside it, so this is my last comment on it.

    Yes, yes, yes, the press has been unfair to Bush’s (who do not return in kind or ever try to suppress speech because they have class and a dedication to American values) – yes, there is a lot of back-up resentment about all of that. All those wrongs.

    But two wrongs don’t make a right. What would be objectionable were it said about the Bush twins is objectionable when it’s said about the Clinton girl.

    The press does not have to be consistent; we know they are incapable of constancy. But WE must be consistent. Sitting around finding ways to rationalize why it’s okay to say the Clintons are “pimping out” their daughter is like being Bill Clinton and trying split hairs. People who mocked “what the meaning of “is” is” are now trying to say “it all depends on what the meaning of “pimp” is.

    I’ve gotten 5 emails from people telling me that “pimped out” is okay because it is “urbanese.”

    Garbage. So I would accept it more because hiphoppers and drug dealers use it? This is a problem…we’re looking at the lowest common denominators and saying, “that’s acceptable.” We’re accepting the lowest acceptable behavior and saying, “yes, we may apply it to presidents and their families.”

    This all sounds like rationalizing to me. “It’s okay because it doesn’t mean what it seems to mean…” That’s not good enough. There have to be some standards and not MINIMAL standards.

    This isn’t about what the meaning of is, is, or the meaning of pimp is…it’s about old fashioned common courtesy, which goes missing more and more.

    I don’t care what Keith Olbermann does. I don’t care about what the press does. Sitting there saying, “yeah but these people do this and those people do that” never impressed me when my kids tried it.

    Ask yourself: if Bush was asked about this incident, do you think he would say, ‘well, it’s okay because the press was rude to my daughters,” or “it’s okay because the Clintons are cruddy people.” etc, etc.

    But then I forgot – Bush was always “too nice.” :-)

    Oh, and John McCain is “too nasty and rude.”

    We are a very difficult people to satisfy.

    I hate coffee without sugar.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    WE must be consistent.

    You are right. And the consistency is that any idiot should be able to say any idiotic thing that he wants to. If someone wants to attack Barbara and Jenna, fine. If someone wants to attack Chelsea, fine. If someone wants to attack my mama, fine.

    That something is “offensive” is not reason to jump all over the person who said it. Offensiveness is purely subjective. Personally, with all due respect, I’m offended by the idea that only “acceptable” remarks may be permitted in social discourse. Indeed, I’m offended each and everyday by most of the stuff that is in the MSM. But that doesn’t mean that they should have to all go sit in the corner and have a “timeout.” They are free to say whatever obnoxious things they want to without fear of being beaten down and oppressed.

    If, instead of being merely offensive, some remark is false or contemptuous or lacking in charity, so as to be morally wrong, then the proper response is for the wrongdoer to say with sincere contrition, “I’m sorry,” and for the person wronged to say “I accept your apology and forgive you.” And perhaps the wrongdoer should go to Confession and obtain forgiveness there as well. And then it is dropped.

    That is the consistency that is called for (you know, forgiveness and turn the other cheek and all that), and not having political campaign machines, and their front-groups like Media Matters, manufacture outrage and play the gender victim card and create a firestorm to gin up sympathy for their candidate, rejecting any and all apologies and using the occasion to advance a political agenda, all the while exploiting and using the person who was wronged as if she were a political prop.

    The Clinton machine could have ignored this and no one would have ever known it was said (except for the 22 people who watch MSNBC). Or they could have quietly and privately asked Shuster to not make such comments again, and then dropped it. Or, better yet, they could have let Chelsea handle it herself.

    They didn’t do those things. Instead, they brought out the Clinton thugs. And they, the Clintons, made a big deal out of this. They, the Clintons, made a bid noise and publicized for all the world to hear, this “slander” against Chelsea. Shuster didn’t make a big deal out of it. He made a passing remark and that was it. It was the Clintons who chose to use this incident, chose to put Chelsea in the middle. It was the Clintons who made sure that the entire world heard the remark that Chelsea had been pimped out, and it was they who use and exploit her for their own political ends.

    If anyone must do so, it is the Clintons who owe her and everyone else an apology; it is the Clintons who need to be suspended.

    As for the fool who said the remark — a fool because he is actually sympathetic to the Clintons, or, at least he was — he should have been ignored, or forgiven after he apologized. That is the consistent thing to do, regardless of who is offended.

  • PABill

    Compared to Keith Olberman’s nightly contumely about George Bush, Shuster’s remark would be something heard in Sunday School. Anyway, “pimping out” is a common slang term among the hoi polloi.

  • roro

    this is funny in a synchronicitous sort of way. I felt bad for not having had a chance to thank Bender for the attempt to answer my question on killing in the now closed thread, especially because my second appeal appeared after the explanation, which somehow wasn’t there when I posted. And now the ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ mention here. Bender explained that one takes no action that is a compromise with evil, that actions must always be good. Therefore we are left to discover how an apparent evil(killing) can be an untarnished good. And in the same way, you could refuse to characterize this nasty name-calling as ill intended. Is this why sins are listed, in order to prevent justification of questionable acts by appealing to some higher motivation? This is hurting my head,..

  • TheAnchoress

    Roro, I’m not even sure what you mean! :-)

    Your stuff appeared out of order because sometimes comments get trapped in the spam filter and found and released later!

  • TheAnchoress

    Personally, with all due respect, I’m offended by the idea that only “acceptable” remarks may be permitted in social discourse.

    And THIS is why you did not get invited to my Super Bowl party! :-)

  • Jean

    You know, there’s something called “professionalism”. When Bill Clinton was asked, “Boxers or briefs?” it was by an MTV audience, not an adult. A professional could have talked about Mrs. Clinton getting her daughter to help her campaign without implying she was a piece of chattel or worse.

    Bender, your comment to Anchoress about “with all due respect” cracked me up. The kids told me about a character in some flick that believed he could say ANYTHING as long as he prefaced it with the phrase, “With all due respect”. So when I read that in your sentence, I thought you’d say something really bad! lol

  • ferrous

    There should be greater civility in politics in general! I never liked it when people made fun of Chelsea (I mean, who does look all that great during the clunky adolescent stage?) and I hate how some still continue to try to indict Bush because his daughters aren’t serving in the military in the war. What’s truly despicable is when Carter and Clinton do everything to bad mouth the current President too. We just grew into a very rude culture it seems.

    Incidentally, that’s part of the reason I don’t like John McCain. He’s been extremely rude to Bush and the GOP at large, it’s no surprise that some of the GOP can’t stand it anymore and want to smack back. Doesn’t make it right, it’s just no surprise.

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