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Campbell Brown: No Bias. No Bull.

December 2, 2008 | Campbell Brown,Family,Journalism,Media,MSM,Politics,Television

I’ve seen Campbell Brown on television for years. I watched her (on and off) do election coverage during the campaign, and I saw her “free Sarah Palin” opinion piece.

Then I caught one of her first No Bias. No Bull. shows, where she said she planned to hold President-elect Barack Obama accountable for all the promises he made during the campaign. I thought, yeah, OK, we’ll see. Then I never watched again. Oh, I planned to watch and even programmed the show into my DVR. But I never got around to watching.

Then I caught about three minutes of tonight’s show, where she takes on Gov. Edward G. Rendell, D-Pa., for perpetuating stereotypes about women. He said that Gov. Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz., would be perfect for the job of Secretary of Homeland Security (she’s Obama’s nominee for the job) because she “has no life” and “has no family.”

Hmm. I might have to check out the ones left on my machine.

Posted by Becky @ 11:28 pm | 3 Comments  

I just realized where “Yes We Can” comes from

November 12, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Barack Obama,PR,Television

“Can we fix it?”

Yes, we can!

(Hmm. Think someone fell asleep while the kids watched Bob the Builder … and a new slogan was stolen born?)

So … who will make up the new cabinet? Shall we start with Scoop, Muck and Dizzy?

Posted by Becky @ 6:16 pm | 3 Comments  

‘Becky, I don’t need your vote’

October 29, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Advertising,Barack Obama,Economics,Media,Politics,PR,Television

Ding, ding, ding, ding!

Oh, wait. That didn’t happen, did it?

Posted by Becky @ 8:35 pm | 2 Comments  

I agree with something Alec Baldwin said?

October 22, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Alec Baldwin,Media,Politics,Sarah Palin,SNL,Television

Wow. These are End Times.

In case you missed it, Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, appeared on last weekend’s Saturday Night Live.

My only criticism for Alec Baldwin is, hey, we know she’s not Tina. Quit calling her Tina. As if we didn’t hear you the first three times. Oh, and, “Everything WE stand for,” you said to Lorne Michaels? Even though you’ve given twice as much money to political candidates, Michaels has supported John McCain for years. Just sayin’.

Other than that, I don’t know what kind of heat Baldwin is getting about the whole thing or to whom he’s responding, but he had this to say yesterday.

Saturday Night Live is a comedy show. It’s not Meet the Press. It doesn’t “ask the tough questions” or “set the agenda.” It attempts, with varying degrees of success, to make people laugh. That’s it.

Exactly.

Same thing for Comedy Central and others, no matter how much someone might want to convince me of the political relevance and deep meaning of comedy shows. Their job is to make people laugh. That’s it. If they get politicians they skewer to “be good sports” and participate, that’s gravy.

Posted by Becky @ 5:46 pm | Comments  

Devra: I said, “Mark my words,” didn’t I?

October 17, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Barack Obama,Ethics,John McCain,Lorne Michaels,Politics,SNL,Television

It’s official: Sarah Palin will appear on Saturday Night Live.

As an elected official — still in office — she will be in good company.

Sigh.

Posted by Becky @ 7:51 pm | 2 Comments  

Project Runway is entertaining?

September 9, 2008 | Television

Who knew?

Sarah kept talking about Project Runway. I’d groan and think, “Are you kidding me?” But I’ve got all these channels now, so I recorded the show. Watched my first one tonight. One of my daughters kept saying, “Oh, they’re so pretty!” (It was the drag-queen episode.) Yeah. I might have to watch it again.

Go figure.

Posted by Becky @ 10:38 pm | 4 Comments  

Books: Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated by Carolyn B. Maloney

August 7, 2008 | Advertising,Books,Breast cancer,Colbert Report,Colin Powell,Economics,Ethics,Family,Health,Media,Movies,MSM,Music,Parenting,Pink,Politics,PR,Race,Research,SLBTM,Statistics,Television,U.S. government,Verizon,Work,Working Mother

I just finished reading Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting any Easier and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. I received a review copy from the publisher, Modern Times, an imprint of Rodale, Inc.

As I was getting ready to write something about the book, I ran across Maloney’s July 29, 2008, appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. At first, I thought I would just include it with other links, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – New York’s 14th – Carolyn Maloney
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

Is it really funny that women get fired for lactating?

Here’s a quote from Maloney’s book.

I also heard numerous stories about difficulties in the workplace, including one woman whose male colleagues mooed outside the door as she expressed milk to take home and another woman being banished to do so in her car across the street from her office.

I didn’t laugh once while reading her book, but maybe I missed something. Exactly which issue that she wrote about was funny? Rape? Domestic violence? Burkas? Breast cancer? Or maybe prostitution? That link goes to a 2007 feature in Prism magazine, which Maloney reprinted on page 246 of her book and said it made the strongest case against sex trafficking she had ever seen.

Depictions of prostitution in the media and popular culture (including the movie Pretty Woman) can be grossly misleading, even glamorous. In fact, street prostitutes are typically trafficked, exploited, battered, and often force-fed drugs by slavemaster pimps. This series of mugshots of street prostitutes, which documents their first arrest to their eighth, illustrates the reality of life on the street, which more closely resembles a descent into hell than a Hollywood movie.

Is that funny? If not, I’m confused about why one of the first places she went to discuss her book was Comedy Central.

The blurbs on the back of her book are written by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Pat Schroeder, Ellie Smeal and Arianna Huffington. (Geraldine Ferraro was also included in the online “praise” section for the book.) Were they slapping their knees and giggling at the sight of Colbert using a breast pump while Maloney smiled and kept her cool? If not, does that mean they just can’t take a joke?

I’ve written about the blurred lines between celebrity and politics. It’s as if something has shifted. Instead of looking back as former government officials (elected or not), they now have to prove they don’t take themselves too seriously while they’re in office, no matter how “serious” the positions they hold. They have to prove that they get the joke. Hey, they’re even in on the joke because so many things that happen in Washington are, well, a joke. Is that it?

Maybe I just don’t get the whole Inside the Beltway atmosphere. Is it really just a non-stop college kegger where everyone has to hit the beer bong and slam shots until they puke their guts out to prove they can keep up?

Sigh.

Maloney’s book is a fairly comprehensive list of women’s issues — what’s been done, what’s been undone and what still needs to be done. For those who regularly keep up on these issues, not much of the information is new, but it’s interesting to read about the issues from Maloney’s perspective as a policymaker.

She put a “take-action guide” at the end of each chapter, providing contact information for some of the groups and organizations working on specific issues. Her goal is to convince readers to do something, anything: “I hope to persuade you that any action in support of your beliefs matters, whether it is large or small, brief or time-consuming, successful or unsuccessful.”

She included women’s personal stories as well as her own story and a wealth of information from other sources.

She draws upon the work of Martha Burk (Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It), Ann Crittenden (The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued), Jody Heymann (The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?), MomsRising (The Motherhood Manifesto: What America’s Moms Want – and What To Do About It), Evelyn Murphy and E.J. Graff (Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men–And What to Do About It), Joan Williams (Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It), Marie Wilson (Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything), among many others.

She also included some of her own research and highlighted inconsistencies between cultural myth and everyday reality.

Maloney mentioned Morgan Stanley, which settled a class-action sex-discrimination case for $54 million and then another one for $46 million, yet it consistently appears on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, a topic I have written about many times.

You might think that Morgan Stanley would work especially hard to eradicate sex discrimination after so costly [$54 million] an episode. But the firm settled another class action sex discrimination suit in 2007 for $46 million — bringing its overall sex discrimination price tag to an even $100 million. That sounds like a lot, but it only amounts to a few good days of trading.

Despite these incidents, Morgan Stanley has been cited numerous times by Working Mother magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. That makes me wonder how bad things are at other companies.

While she pointed out the inconsistency of the companies that appear in Working Mother with their employment track record, she listed in the take-action guide the National Association for Female Executives, which might be a perfectly fine organization. But it falls under the umbrella of Working Mother Media, which publishes Working Mother magazine, whose 100 Best list is — well, let’s just say I’m highly skeptical of the whole thing.

She also gave this example.

If you drive your Mitsubishi to the airport after filling its tank at Sunoco, board a Boeing-built plane for a United Airlines flight, use your Verizon cell phone service to call your spouse before you take off, and then bite into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you’ve just enriched six household-name companies that have settled or lost sex discrimination cases and lawsuits in recent years.

Right. At least one of those companies — Verizon — makes Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list year after year.

In the take-action guide at the end of the “Health Care That’s Always There” chapter, she recommended (among others) Dove’s Campain for Real Beauty as a way to “start health education early by teaching our young and teenaged girls about issues that affect them.” If you scratch the surface of Dove, you’ll find a wee bit of image manipulation of its own.

Unilever is the maker of Dove products (and major “research” funder), which are the basis for the Campaign for Real Beauty and its self-esteem education for young girls. Unilever also makes and markets Axe products, which exist in a parallel universe where the V.I.X.E.N.S. (Very Interactive Xtremely Entertaining Naughty Supermodels) and Bom Chicka Wah Wahs don’t have “real beauty” or self-esteem issues.

In “The Pretty Woman Myth” chapter, Maloney wrote about misleading portrayals of prostitution in popular culture and mentioned that the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006 went to ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'” whose lyrics include:

Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah

I remember when that happened, thinking, what?!? There was George Clooney, smugly patting himself on the back for Hollywood being “out of touch” for “giving Hattie McDaniel an Oscar when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters.” That was in 1939. Just how long was it, dear George, until the next black person was so honored? That would be 1948, then 1964, then 1982, then 2002. And just how far has Hollywood come, George, by glorifying “the black man” … as a pimp, not to mention portraying women of all colors as simply a venue for making money? Hollywood’s out of touch, George. Ya think?

Which brings me back around to the Comedy Central appearance.

If it’s a matter of reaching a younger audience? C’mon, they deserve more credit than that. It’s not only “the kids” watching Comedy Central, and “the younger audience” is watching much more than just Comedy Central. And there are tons of young, vibrant, intelligent voices on the Internet. Dust off the mouse and start clicking.

Besides, there’s not a damn thing that’s funny about this book. Just like the issues Maloney discusses in the book — the media and popular-culture myths that harm the efforts to improve the lives of real people — Maloney’s Comedy Central appearance did nothing but belittle and mock some very serious societal issues. The people behind the stories about sex discrimination, prostitution and unacceptably high infant-mortality rates (to name just a few) deserve much more than to become the butt of a comedian’s joke.

Related posts
Politics: All the world’s a stage
Colin Powell goes from class act to class clown
Rumors of housekeeping have been greatly exaggerated*
Categories: Working Mother
Know your Working Mother press releases
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you, part 1
Will you let Working Mother magazine speak for you?
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you: Abbott
Psst! Scientists prove girls prefer pink! Pass it on!
SLBTM: Unilever/Dove’s ‘real beauty’***

Posted by Becky @ 4:10 pm | 18 Comments  

Why ‘American Idol Gives Back’ is creepy

April 10, 2008 | American Idol,Economics,Fundraising,Health,Heart,Matt Damon,Music,PR,Television

1) Why can’t viewers just call in and vote to end the war?

2) Oh, wait. Major Sponsor Exxon Mobil wouldn’t be thrilled. It also wouldn’t be able to “give back” so generously if not for the googillions it’s made on the war. Maybe that’s where Ben Stiller got the term — from checking EM’s financials.

3) By sponsoring images of African and American babies, it can say, “War? What war? I don’t know nothin’ about no war.”

4) So can Major Sponsor News Corp.

5) And Ford Motor Co.

6) Don’t forget Coca-Cola. “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” And a bunch of peace and stuff.

Right. (Got $45?)

7) And AT&T.

8) Robin Williams. What … is it 1985?

9) Toothless grandmothers and dilapidated shacks juxtaposed with painted, airbrushed celebs, who packed their camera crews and left. Because they could.

10) Those painful fake smiles on the Appalachian children’s faces.

11) The politician who appeared on American Idol? British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

12) Paula Abdul, who’s had an eating disorder, stood next to Randy Jackson, who’s had stomach-stapling surgery, and talked about obesity in American children.

13) How many others — besides Miley Cyrus — had stuff to plug?

14) Did anyone else who saw Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman keep thinking, “Where is Matt Damon?”

Just me, then?

Updated: Deus Ex Malcontent posted random comments from watching the show.

Posted by Becky @ 3:12 pm | 9 Comments  

Because this will help make an informed decision

February 11, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Hillary Clinton,Journalism,Katie Couric,Media,Politics,Television

katiecouric.jpg

CBS anchor Katie Couric interviewed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., on Feb. 10, 2008, for 60 Minutes.

“What were you like in high school? Were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand?” Couric asked.

“Not always raising my hand,” the senator replied, laughing.

“Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?” Couric asked.

“Only with some boys,” Clinton said, laughing.

“I don’t know if I want to hear the back story on that!” Couric said.[*]

“Well, you wouldn’t want to know the boys either,” Clinton said, laughing.[**]

Hat tip: NewsBusters

*Oh, Katie. You know you do.

**Inappropriately?

Posted by Becky @ 10:20 am | 3 Comments  

The ’80s hurt my eyes

November 27, 2007 | 1980s,Music,Television

hart.jpg

Someone tell me again … exactly why did Corey Hart wear his sunglasses at night?

I caught a rerun of A Different World the other night. Why? I don’t have real cable. It was late. I wasn’t asleep. Anyway. It took me a while to figure out what it was. I kept thinking … The Cosby Show? No, can’t be. But why do these people all look familiar? And … hey! Didn’t I just see Dwayne Wayne in that show on the other channel?

Click.

Well, dang. Sure enough. There he was with Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro in Showtime.

Click.

Back to DW. Wow. What an ’80s overload. That hair! Those colors! I need sunglasses!

adifferentworld.jpg

Enter Corey Hart. That song popped into my head, and I can’t get it out. I’m just trying to keep Timbuk3 at bay … or this madness will never end.

Posted by Becky @ 1:04 am | 3 Comments  


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