What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Did Someone on MSNBC Defend Michele Bachmann?

Cynthia Ruccia

OMG!!! Will wonders never cease? This one goes under the category of "even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every once in awhile!!" I must confess to those of you who know me that, OK----true confessions here (I am SO embarrassed!!!)----------I WATCH MSNBC IN THE MORNING (Morning Joe) while I'm working out!! There, I've said it!! And please don't love or hate me for it.

MSNBC and Fox and I have a special relationship. When I was your run-of-the-mill Democrat of 40 years standing, I really loved MSNBC. I felt it was like home base. They said everything I wanted to hear, and I thought it was high time that there was a lefty opinion station for people like me. I'd work out and watch---perfect combination. But as we were leading up to the 2008 presidential race, I underwent my metamorphosis (see the details of that metamorphosis here), and the more that station revealed how sexist it was (see youtubes to the right of the columns for proof of that statement), the more I was too enraged to watch MSNBC anymore. It was too much adrenaline to get a decent workout---I was just furious all of the time. MSNBC was (and still is in my book) one of the biggest purveyors of misogyny around. I just can't stand it!!!

So while I was so furious with MSNBC, I turned my attention to Fox. I wanted the news, and MSNBC and CNN were so tilted in the direction of Obama that I just couldn't watch them. But MSNBC was the worst. Anyways, Fox was my archenemy. I was a good little lefty and we lefties thought Fox was the very devil incarnate. But what choice did I have? So I watched Fox----all of it. I watched Fox and Friends in the morning (LOVE LOVE LOVE Gretchen Carlson), Megyn Kelly (my absolute favorite), Hannity, O'Reilly, and my second fav, Greta Van Susteren. As some of you may know, Greta's husband, John Coale (a wealthy trial lawyer), was another one of us--------------a staunch Hillary supporter who left the Democrats over the sexist, outrageous treatment of Hillary Clinton by Democrats. In fact, although I never met Greta, I spent my fair share of time with her husband at the various events we Hillary/McCain people went to. And then there is Neil----Neil Cavuto, that wonderful wonderful man whose show I've been on 5 times. My friend Thia and I have a longstanding crush on Neil. In my ethnic Jewish dialect, Yiddish, Cavuto is just one fabulous mensch!!!! I ended in fact also being on O'Reilly, Shepherd Smith twice, Fox and Friends three times.

I noticed that first of all that Fox was actually treating Hillary fairly. Go figure!! In my snarky lefty bad old days, I figured that they'd have made mincemeat of her since they'd spent so much time when she and Bill were in the White House demonizing her. HOWEVER, for whatever reason, and I could offer up a few, Fox decided not to rip Hillary to shreds. SO----I found some comfort going to Fox and getting a more accurate read on Hillary. While I was visiting Fox, I discovered a few things-----first, when they were just doing hard news, they were great. I got a very high quality of straight news stories when I watched. Secondly, although I didn't agree with some of their slant, they weren't really slanted hard right. That particular bogeyman is an obsession that the left has with Fox, but it really isn't true. Hannity isn't any further to the right than Ed Schultz is to the left, and I believe that Hannity is the most right of the regular nightly shows. The rest of them are fairly moderate.

But what I really noticed is that Fox had more women in front of the camera. And these women were given free reign to blast sexism wherever they saw it. People like to criticize the women at Fox because they like to call them just a bunch of sexy babes (how sexist is that!!). The women in front of the camera on Fox look terrific. Fox spares little expense to make the women look their absolute best. When I was on camera with them, they always had a fabulous makeup artist team charged with making all of us present our best foot forward. And even when I'd be on from a studio here in Columbus, OH, they'd hire a makeup artist who'd be with me to make me look as good as I could look on camera. ABC didn't do that for me nor did most of the other networks. So what's wrong with being easy on the eyes?

But these women at Fox weren't just hired for their good looks-----they were smart!! Lots of lawyers like Megyn Kelly and even a Miss America with BRAINS, Gretchen Carlson, a summa cum laude graduate of Stanford. But what I have loved about these women is they just BLAST AWAY at any sexism that comes up. They call it out, define it, and chew the comments and their purveyors to shreds. People who don't like Fox like to be cynical and say that it's only done because it's just good TV or "everyone knows the right is the most sexist of all," or give other reasons. Fill in the blanks. But it doesn't matter why they do it------THEY'RE DOING IT!!!! And that is good news for all of us.

Anyways, I left MSNBC for awhile (and I refused to make any appearances on it either) and licked my wounds watching Fox gaining a new appreciation for it. After the election, even though I was no longer a Democrat, I decided that while I worked out in the morning, I should probably check out what MSNBC was up to. I work out alot. I'm a senior jock and I do triathlons. I even won 6th place at the 2007 National Senior Olympics in the triathlon. I wasn't able to participate in the past 2 National Games because of a bad sprain in 2009 and my breast cancer for the 2011 games. But my goal is to win a gold medal in the 2013 National Games in Cleveland, so I work out alot. I'm about to turn 59, and you can lose your conditioning very fast at this age and it can be harder to get back. So like I said, my mornings are devoted to my training. Which means lots of TV!!

I go back and forth between Fox and Friends and MSNBC's Morning Joe. I am constantly struck by the fact that MSNBC is STILL purveying its brand of sexism-----even now. The praise for Obama has surely died down, but not the sexism. And the sexism comes from the women as well as the men. Usually on Morning Joe, the talkers around the table are mostly men most of the time. Not ALL of the time. I mean, in the course of the three-hour show you will have segments with two women, occasionally three women. But mostly it is men. I couldn't accurately give you a percentage, but I'd guess that it is at minimum 3 to 1 men to women, and that's probably optimistic.

Yesterday, on August, 29, 2011, I about fell off my elliptical when I heard MIKA BRZEZINSKI defend Michele Bachmann!!! Imagine that!!!!Many of us Hillary supporters have felt very negatively toward Mika because we felt she just let all of the sexism going on on her show just slide by without saying anything. People wonder why women in her position, who have the power and the microphone to change things for women, don't use their opportunities for the good of all of us. But after watching her on August 29th, I can begin to understand why. And I can begin to understand why women who DO make it to the top find it so hard to lift up the rest of us when the number of the women at the top is so small. This situation on August 29 was a metaphor for all of our efforts wherever we find ourselves. Here we go.....

Joe Scarborough and the men on the panel were snarking about Michele Bachmann. They were saying that she was just acting like a diva not wanting to greet the public because her makeup just wasn't right and making everyone wait. Well, MIKA speaks up and says to these men that although Mika doesn't agree with most of Bachmann's positions, these men were going way over the line in going after her that way!!! I couldn't believe it!!! YES-----Mika defended Michele!!!! Will wonders never cease???? But the problem was that Mika by her lonesome against these 6 or so men just got drowned out by the men lead by Scarborough deriding her for even bringing it up and drowning her out and that was the end of that.

Its funny, my real reasons for writing this piece were that whenever we speak out against sexism, we always have to preface our remarks with "well even though I don't agree with much of what she stands for" in order to deal with some of the blowback, just like Brzezinski did. And often even when we DO bring it up, people just talk us down like what happened to Mika. I think you can all agree that it isn't easy speaking up against sexism. It requires some intestinal fortitude------lots of it in fact. But there are some great people out there doing it very publicly-------Megyn Kelly, Kristen Powers, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson. And now we can add Mika Brzezinski to that list. She's not as practiced as the other women, but she's trying. And at a sexist place like MSNBC, it is courageous of her to even try to speak up occasionally. Ironic isn't it how it is the evil right-wing Fox who has all of the fierce lionesses fighting the sexist evil every single day with great fortitude, and it is the "good for women" lefty station that ignores, diminishes, and roadblocks women who speak up. Hmmmm. didn't mean to write the piece this way, but there you have it.

All of us need to speak up every day against the endemic sexism in our culture whenever it rears its ugly head. We need to become expert at doing it, even if it means standing alone sometimes. Cause if we don't do it, no one will.  To paraphrase Moses Maimonides, if not us, who? If not now, when? Go for it ladies and gentlemen------we can make a huge difference!!!!


  1. Correction: It's MNDNC

  2. Cynthia----You are so funny---and have a wonderful sense of humor. What a breath of fresh air!
    My hubby and I have taken the same path as you re: cable news. We, too, have noticed how intelligent the Fox women are---and almost all have law degrees.
    My husband grew up with and is old friends with one of the female anchor's father. He is so proud of her.
    Thank you for being brave enough to watch MSNBC and actually witness Mika defending Michele Bachmann! Hooray for every little baby step.
    And hooray for you, Cynthia! We're all so grateful for your vigilance, humor, and intellect.

  3. ClearSkies ain't so clear today.
    Correction: It's MSDNC.

  4. Clear Skies,
    LOL---That's a good 'un.

  5. Glad to know women are speaking up. Hope it becomes contagious!

  6. Mika's comments start at about 5:25 in if you can't watch the whole thing. The fella's "Diva" comment is earlier so watch the whole thing if you can stomach it. Good for you Mika! Now if we could just get you to stop the snarky not that I like her or anything disclaimer before you call out the sexism. Baby steps.

    I love all the great women on FOX! Megyn Kelly is my favorite - wow is she smart and tough!

    And I admit I do have a huge crush on Cavuto. In my not really ethnic Texan dialect, Redneck, I'd make Cavuto scratch biscuits for breakfast any day of the week ;)

  7. Thia, what are "scratch biscuits?" Are those "baking powder biscuits?" in Minnesota dialect? (And here are the girls, talking about recipes.)

  8. P.S. to all. I didn't invent "MSDNC." Must have read it in a blog comment somewhere, but it sure fits. CountDown still on, but it's a countdown to tanking for that network.

  9. @ ClearSkies

    Nothing wrong with talking about recipes - which leads to talking about food - which leads to eating food... One of my favorite hobbies!

    Scratch biscuits are basically Buttermilk baking powder biscuits. Below is my favorite recipe.

    If I make them to go with dinner I cut the shortening in half, the buttermilk down to one cup, and add a cup and a half of extra sharp shredded cheddar. (you may have to adjust the recipe a little because different cheeses melt differently) Then you glaze them with melted butter and garlic before you pop them in the oven.

    2 cups all purpose flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda (leave out if using regular milk)
    3/4 teaspoons salt
    1/2 cup Crisco shortening
    1 1/2 cups buttermilk

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your fingers), gently cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like "meal" (a very course powder)
    3. Add the buttermilk a little at a time, stirring GENTLY until a dough starts to form. You may need more or less than the 1 1/2 cups milk.
    4. When you get a "sticky" dough ball, turn out on a floured surface and form a flat mass with your hands.
    5. Roll out the dough to 1/2 - 1 inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter.
    6. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
    7. Place biscuits into the preheated oven. Bake until tops are a golden brown (about 10-12 minutes). Serve with sorghum molasses and butter. (Combine equal parts soft butter and molasses in a small plate and mix with a fork into a paste.)

  10. Okay, I read the two posts on sexism on the left and sexism on the right. I think you make a lot of valid points, and I get your sense of frustration. Part of the problem here, as I see it, is that the country has been dragged so far to the right that the Democrats have been pulled along as well, turning the mass of them into neoliberal corporatists, and bringing out the worst (and often regressive and, yes, sexist) traits in their characters. I am still a registered Democrat because the Independents strike me as fodder for the Tea Party, with precious little energy left over for Green Party types. I remain a committed leftist who will always judge politicians by their policies, beliefs, and positions. It isn't who a person is (whether classified by sex, race, cultural background, religion, or anything else) that matters to me. What matters is what their actions will do to this world. I cannot speak for my fellow men on my side of the fence, but I suspect most of them are like me--I believe all people are equal as human beings, but that not all beliefs are equally valid. I think there is a great deal of validity to your strategy of throwing as many women into the government as we can, but I cannot agree that the political stripes of those women don't matter. By all means, let us elect Elizabeth Warren to the Senate--and beyond!--but by all equal means, let us send Michelle Bachmann packing. Not that I'm eager to vote for Obama a second time--the man has been a near-total disaster, and I'd be more than happy to see a real leftist challenge him to help draw him away from the dread "center" (which is really the right in today's America)--but there is no way I will vote for anyone further right than him, and that includes all of the Republicans currently in the running. As long as absolute equality between the sexes is the only goal of feminism--and I can't say whether or not it is--then we might as well give three cheers for the Republicans for embracing so many women in their ranks. But I will not cheer, for equality between the sexes is only a part of my goal, and I do not think it will ever ultimately be achieved by keeping in power a political philosophy (increasingly embraced by both major parties) that denies reproductive rights, equal pay legislation, and social inequity, and that consistently promotes religious fundamentalism and an economic system that is little better than slavery.

    NOTE: I post this comment in the current blog because I figured if I posted it in the earlier articles in question you might never read it. I wrote it before I read the current blog. I am beginning to understand that you and I are further apart politically than I had originally guessed. (And I won't even start about FOX News, except to say that none of the cable news channels appeal to me.) That's fine; I'll keep reading your blog, and I wish you well. I don't really understand the tendency of some liberal folk to turn conservative with the passing of the years--if anything I am growing more leftist as I journey through my 40s, and I was never remotely conservative to begin with. I don't mean to criticize; I just don't get it. (I suppose I will have to read your article about your transformation!) But it seems clear to me that you are a feminist of the type who believes that women must win regardless of what they stand for, and as my writings make clear, I am not. Let us agree to disagree, and I look forward to reading more of your stuff and seeing where it takes me.

  11. Cindy----you are too kind. Thanks for the encouragement and the uplift!!!

    ClearSkies and Thia----all of my hired guns on my campaigns said that in order to get people to remember you, you should always put a recipe on your material because people wouldn't throw it away.Too bad I didn't have scratch biscuits on my lit---I'd have won in a landslide!!!!

    Joshua----you are a hard ideologue. And I appreciate you trying to grow. I had assumed that I would be a lefty all of my life and I was wring. I did NOT grow more conservative as I've gotten older. You have made a phony assumption. I grew disillusioned. I will never hew a party line again. You might want to go back into my writing to try to understand that the main point is that until people get used to seeing a proportional number of women, we will never be able to advance. Your liberal recipe for life is a recipe for disaster for all women. The liberal philosophy has stalled women's progress. That doesn't mean that the conservative philosophy is any better. It means that we need a whole new paradigm. And clearly you aren't too interested in women gaining parity if you choose to hang onto a political ideology that has utterly failed women while trying to convince them otherwise. Well, we women aren't going to put up with that any longer.

  12. Okay, Cynthia, I can see that I mistook eschewing party line for becoming conservative. It was the wrong conclusion (not a "phony assumption," but either way, my bad). I still don't see how the liberal recipe is a recipe for disaster for all women; I am sure your articles will elucidate this point, and I'm happy to hear you out. And yes, we need a new paradigm. You've been around a generation longer than I, and you've seen older paradigms shift as well as I have. I haven't been impressed with liberalism's course during my lifetime, and I am eager to see things change for the better. Perhaps we will disagree on that course, and perhaps not. But please, please, please don't presume that I am not interested in women gaining parity! As a child of the great feminist wave of the 1970s, I grew up taking the equality of the sexes for granted, unlike previous generations, but I recognize the struggle for parity as perhaps the crucial issue in feminism.

  13. Here is the deal, since I am an Independent and believe both political parties are corrupt and only work to advance the goals of Corporations who own them I have no problem voting for Michelle Bachmann. Parity in political representation is my most important issue by far. So if the Democrats want to run women for office I will vote for them also or even instead of Republicans. But as of 2008 all the Dems were willing to do is heap loads of sexism on first Hillary and then Palin and then throw out the votes of millions who voted for Hillary so they could install Obama as their nominee. Not only will the Dems not run women for office they will corrupt democratic elections to keep women out. And Dems primary way of addressing women is to threaten their reproductive freedom. Well the Dems held the Presidency, House and Senate and they wrote the Hyde amendment into law so clearly neither party is willing to stand up for women's reproductive rights. And keep in mind reproductive rights are only relevant to women between the ages of 12-45 who are sexually active with men. So is that even 50% of women? Also check out "Americans Elect" They are running an online convention and plan to put their nominee for President and VP on the ballot in 2012 in all 50 states. So if you won't vote for Obama and can't vote for a Republican man, vote for Americans Elect.

  14. I've heard that that Mika gets talking points directly from the white house - that she gets them on air on her blackberry. She'll read a text, and then start talking - presumably what was on the text. I don't know myself if that's true, but if it is, her defense of Bachman could be a ploy to build up the republican candidates they most think they can beat.

    I hope your interpretation is correct, though.

  15. Anonymous-----the idea that Mika takes talking points directly from the White House is creepy. It's the liberal version of a Stepford wife!! LOL!! However, I suppose it doesn't matter where she gets her antisexism points as long as she speaks up against sexism. I can't believe that speaking up against sexism is anywhere on this White House's list!!!! LOL!!