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Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham Do the Dance of the Double Standard About Palin And Letterman

Reported by Ellen - June 12, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

If you're Bill O'Reilly, and your guest is someone like, say, Ellis Hennican, who basically kicked your little fanny in a debate on the media coverage of Dr. George Tiller v. Private William Long (see my post here), what would you do to make yourself feel big and bad again? Yup, I'd do that too – have lapdog Laura Ingraham on to smooth ruffled feathers, agree with everything I say, and massage that massive ego back into shape. Last night (6/11/09), on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly introduced his “yes (wo)man,” Ingraham. With video.

Okay, but first, let's do a little hypothetical. Say you've got a very powerful woman, upper-echelon politician, and she's very vocal, preaching about abstinence only education, always preaching about the evils of abortion – even in the case of rape or incest – and she's all about those right-wing “family values” (which Dr. Laura Schlesinger, of all people, even criticizes). Now, suppose this woman has a 17-year-old daughter who gets knocked up, who supposedly even had sex right there in this woman's own house. And yet, to my knowledge, Sarah Palin has never, to my knowledge, publicly backed down on her abstinence-only stance. Here's a little food for thought: First, does this woman sound like she needs any “empowering” from the feminists? Second, is this a woman anyone should take seriously in terms of setting sexual education policy in the country – or on the planet, for that matter? Third, isn't this a woman who would naturally, in the marketplace, be the butt of jokes, ridiculed, mocked as a hypocritical, talking-out-of-both-sides-of-her-mouth, double-standard-pushing family values failure? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sarah Palin.

O'Reilly, predictably, was outraged at a joke told recently by David Letterman about Palin's daughter (and it seemed fairly obvious to most of us – as Letterman later clarified – which daughter he was referring to (hint, it wasn't Piper or Willow).

“Now,” O'Reilly intoned, “David Letterman last night had to address the Palin controversy – before I play you the clip, though, Laura, I want to just read you the newspapers that did not cover . . . huge story, huge story . . . .” O'Reilly read a laundry list of news outlets that “didn't mention it.”

Hmmm . . . choosing not to cover stories that are contrary to agenda. Sounds familiar. In fact, a search of Fox News' website on “Todd Palin sister's arrest” pulled up a bunch of Letterman-slamming-Palin articles, oh, something about Sarah Palin's memoirs – nope, nothing on Todd Palin's sister's arrest. I actually posted a while back on that very thing, here. Similarly, a search of Sarah Palin's umpteen ethics violation complaints (okay, I left out the word “umpteen,” and searched “Sarah Palin ethics violations”) pulled up something about her being a rising star in the GOP, her victories over a couple of the ethics violations, and more about her memoirs. Must have missed O'Reilly or Hannity's segments about all those ethics violations. (But, in the interest of “Fair and Balanced,” Sean Hannity and Greta van Susteren of Fox News did do some fawning, suck-up interviews with Palin, both during and after the election. Also, see Newshound Ellen's post, here.)

“ . . . if it doesn't fit into their idealogy, the hard news thing goes right out the window,” O'Reilly lectured. Thank God Fox News doesn't have that same lack of journalistic integrity. By the way, did you guys ever get around to discussing the huge story about the Holocaust Museum shooting? Or was there just no time left after covering, and covering, and covering Dr. George Tiller's abortion practices, literally, to death?

O'Reilly cut to a clip of Letterman, saying, “Were the jokes in question in questionable taste? Of course they were. Do I regret having told them? Well, I think probably I do, but you know what, there are thousands of jokes I regret telling on this program. Would I do anything to advocate or contribute to underage sexual abuse or misconduct? Absolutely not – these are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl.”

“Well, look,” Ingraham began her diatribe, “ . . . If . . . conservatives said anything approaching that about anyone connected with the Obamas, daughters, relatives, mother of Michelle, I mean, they would be destroyed in the media, it would be covered in the media, it would be covered as a sign of increasing right-wing hate speech now directed at the Obama family.”

I don't recall all the major media outlets running the story of Tammy Bruce, your fill-in on your radio show, Laur, who called Michelle Obama “trash in the White House.” And I'm not even going to start on Fox Nation's “right-wing hate speech” against Michelle Obama (also not covered in the mainstream media – read Newshound Priscilla's post here). Hon, you really need to learn to work Google – if for no other reason than to remember your own – and Fox News' – hateful rhetoric.

“But . . . ,” Ingraham continued, “When it's Sarah Palin, Bill, you can get away with saying she's copying people, she dresses slutty, her daughter is gonna get knocked up – you can say anything you want because of what this woman represents . . . the double standard is glaring, the feminists are silent, and, you know, the crickets are chirping.” Crickets . . . what?

“You know,” Ingraham concluded, “You don't hear anything from these women who supposedly want to empower women out there . . . .” Actually, you're wrong – for one, the conservative womens' group, Concerned Women for America, spoke out against the Letterman joke. Don't they count?

And here's everybody's opportunity to do that food for thought thing. The famous female Governor of Alaska is, well, probably already well empowered, right? A woman who just ran for (and miserably lost, but who's counting) Vice President of the United States is uber-empowered, correct?. A woman who is still a voice of the GOP is probably, well, empowered with something, whatever it is – but it's empowerment, nonetheless, agreed? Does Palin really need feminists to rise up, en masse, to empower her power?

“But there's a reason for that, Laura, they're still working on Helen Thomas and me when I said that she kinda looked like . . . .” Finish the thought, Bill. You said Helen Thomas looked like the Wicked Witch of the East, right? You even said, “If I were Obama I would've poured water on her, and she'd dissolve.”

“You're still hanging on the cross for that, Bill, right?” Ingraham said, laughing gaily. Ah, yes, we're in the middle of a dialogue about the left-wing media's cruelty to poor “unempowered” Governor Sarah Palin, and you two are yucking it up about O'Reilly's blatant personal attack on an elderly reporter.

“They're still working on the Helen Thomas Wizard of Oz controversy,” O'Reilly chuckled.

What was it you were saying earlier, Laur – the “double standard is glaring?”

If you can't view the video below, here's a link.