Sunday, July 05, 2009

Truest statement of the week

The women supporters of Barack Obama, like Naomi Wolf, Kim Gandy and Jessica Valenti did the party or the feminist movement no favors last year when they hitched their fortunes to Obama’s star. The party took the abortion issue up to 11 and scared young women into voting for Obama in much the same way that Bush II frightened swing voters with the spectre of Osama bin Laden breaking into their homes in 2004. It was a fear propaganda message and it worked. Meanwhile, the cynical bastards of the Obama DNC carefully scrubbed most references of abortion and reproductive rights from Democratic candidates’ websites in an effort to capture the evangelical vote. And who have the Obama administration been courting ever since they were elected? Evangelicals of course. That’s what Rick Warren was all about.

-- Riverdaughter, "Black, white and Sarah" (The Confluence).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. We're finally done. We've never had so much content.


Along with Dallas, here's who helped with the writing:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ann who's filling in for Ruth at Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

We thank everyone who worked on this edition. We offer no original illustrations. And we're not really sure which ones we used. If you're looking at a drawing or a painting and any of Betty's kids tell you they worked on it, they're telling the truth. We note that because it was an issue a year ago. If you go to school with Betty's kids and you doubt their word, e-mail here and we'll set you straight.

Okay, here's what we've got.

Truest statement of the week -- Riverdaughter was an obvious choice for the week.

Editorial: Taking sexism seriously -- Two articles became one editorial as time was running out. The truest statement really should clue you in that this is the edition where we're addressing gender and sexism. Dona, Jim and Ty were aware of this edition. Two of us (Ava and C.I.) had the idea weeks ago when watching yet another Democracy Now! segment where the topic was clearly a woman's issue and yet all the guests were men, we decided it was time to yet again check in on how our 'friends' are representing women. This piece also acts as your table of contents for many of the individual pieces in this edition.

TV: Trash TV -- Okay, Ava and C.I. here. And we had no plans on writing about Michael Jackson. We made a point to avoid him last weekend. What happened was Amy Goodman did that awful segment last week and Common Ills community members were outraged by it. The e-mails flooded in and it was noted (at The Common Ills) that we'd look at it and if it was as bad as everyone said, we'd address it. We actually found it far worse. We found it far worse because Suzanne de Passe was stripped of her contributions, Diana Ross' were minimized. We actually could have written four times this length. For example, we could have noted how the 'great' songwriter Michael Jackson ripped off Frankie Avalon's "De De Dinah" to 'create' "Dirty Diana." We could have talked about the use of Toto (misuse). We could have talked about a huge, huge number of things. And we could have done that last weekend. However, we were attempting to avoid the entire topic of the pedophile. A week after he died, when even trying to avoid the topic, we're being saturated with it, we'll write about it. And we'll write, as we so often do, in defense of the children that our society chooses to ignore. It's appalling, it's disgusting.

Women actively challenging the spin -- We wanted to highlight women who made real contributions last week. Because we try to include an Iraq feature, we went with contributions on Iraq.

The Nation: Can't get it up, you won't get in print... -- The Nation stats. Yes, we're back to the topic. No, they haven't improved.

Bill Moyers Journal: Find the girl! -- In 2007, this site tackled the issue of The Nation and gender because women writers approached us at the end of 2006. In the TV beat, Bill Moyers is frequently held accountable for the sexism his show broadcasts. And when we do, you'd be surprised how many feminists call up, drop by or e-mail to congratulate us on that. However, they never use their own forums to call the sexism out. We wonder why that is and we're also getting pretty damn tired of being the ones you hide behind when you want a problem addressed.

Washington Week: Gwen must be belle of the ball -- Why does PBS have guidelines if no one has to follow them?

CounterSpin: Let the men talk -- We're eager to read the lovely e-mails from FAIR that we're sure this piece will generate. We're so very, very eager.

Matt Rothschild: twice as likely to speak to a man... -- Thanks to Dallas on this especially because he checked our numbers here. We were all very tired and at this point we just were about to fall over. Dallas kindly checked our numbers to make sure we were correct in our count.

Harper's magazine: Only pencil neck males allowed -- And Dallas deserves thanks here for the same thing. It really amazes us how Harper's doesn't offer a real female blogger online and barely prints women in its magazine but no one ever calls it out. We find that very amazing. Especially considering the sexist venum the publisher spewed at Hillary throughout 2008.

Queen Bees v. Quota Queens -- This is an explanation of terms piece. Due to e-mails. Although a number of readers did get the difference last week.

Liz Smith: Women who hurt women and themselves -- We were done. Or thought we were. Elaine reminded us that we hadn't done this feature. Did we want to? We were tired. But Elaine had mentioned it last week at her site. That sealed it, tired or not, we'd do it. What is about these self-loathing lesbians? Liz Smith wants to act like homophobia (excuse us, beating men up because you're a homophobe) is attractive and sexy. And Laura Flanders wants to fondly remember a pedophile. What ever happened to lesbians who celebrated women? What's up with all this cock worship from these self-loathing lesbians? It's really embarrassing and reminds us a great deal of Melissa Etheridge's shameful defense of Barack. Hey, she doesn't make that any more. She appears to have learned her lesson. If only Liz and Laura could.

July 8th rally for Kimberly Rivera -- We didn't write this. This is Iraq but we're just reposting.

Indonesia President SBY Covered Up Murder -- ETAN repost.

Accountability in the Run-up to Indonesian Electio... -- ETAN repost.

Highlights -- Elaine, Mike, Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Wally, Cedric, Stan and Marcia wrote this.

Kat worked on highlights only. She was tired. Everyone was told they could have the weekend off if needed. Dona, Jim and Ty grabbed the offer (and good for them). Ann worked on a lot of the above and possibly all. We're really not sure. Mike will do his breakdown of this edition this week and trust his take on who worked on what. We're just trying to get into bed at this point and last night and this morning are a big, big blur. The Liz Smith feature was written by Mike, Elaine and the three of us. We know that for sure because it was the last thing we did. Otherwise, it's all a blur.

Hopefully, in all that's offered, you'll find something that you enjoy on some level. That's it for this week and we'll all be back next Sunday.

-- Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Taking sexism seriously

[Added July 7, 2009, Thank you to The New Agenda and for getting the word out on the imbalance with regards to bookings and bylines. Added July 9th and thank you to Hillary's Village and Spiral Gate and Donna Darko and for also getting the word out in their contiued fight against sexism.]

2008 was when feminism, the women's liberation movement, ended up crashing.


What should have been a year of highs was instead a year of lows. Women worked overtime to destroy Hillary Clinton's run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination (those women included but were not limited to Laura Flanders, Betsy Reed, Eve Ensler, Katha Pollitt and Ruth Conniff). By refusing to stand up against the sexism (Katha would explain she'd promised herself she wouldn't call out sexism until after the November election), some women encouraged men to continue to utilize it and some women joined in.

What a proud moment for them all.

The campaign season would end with Sarah Palin being picked as the vice presidential nominee. Only the second woman to be on the ticket of one of the country's two major parties. And feminists either stayed silent or joined in the sexualization of Palin. They found it perfectly acceptable, for example, when Tina Fey, 'playing' Palin, lifted up her skirt on Saturday Night Live (Thursday edition, when Will returned to play Bush). They found that acceptable and not worthy of calling out. They found all the sexualization of the woman acceptable.

Hillary was a castrating bitch, the 'left' told you, and Sarah was a dumb bimbo.

And the same women who couldn't call out those sexist portrayals (often because they were feeding into them) couldn't call out the typical response in the mainstream to women of color: Ignoring them.

Which is how the historic Green Party presidential ticket of Cynthia McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente was rendered invisible by the press.

It was all part of the same rigged game and women could have banded together (and men as well) to say "NO!" They could have prevented it at any point. That didn't mean they were planning to vote for Hillary, Sarah or Cynthia & Rosa, it just meant that they weren't going to allow four historic women in a historic year to be victimized by sexism.

But very few women were willing to do that.

And as a result of that, all women were degraded and we're still paying the price in 2009.

The 'left' demonstrated in 2008 what Ellen Willis observed in 1969:

A genuine alliance with male radicals will not be possible until sexism sickens them as much as racism. This will not be accomplished through persuasion, conciliation, or love, but through independence and solidarity; radical men will stop oppressing us and make our fight their own when they can't get us to join them on any other terms.

And the only thing to add to that is to note how many women demonstrated in 2008 that they'd happily sell out their sisters to cozy up to misogynist males.

The end result is that abortion rights are weaker than every before in 2009. The end result is that women can't even achieve equality in representation in our alleged 'progressive' media.

Do you read magazines?

Harper's magazine spent the first six months of this year running 28 female bylines to 129 male ones. Who did you hear complain? The Nation magazine featured 399 bylines in the first half of this year -- only 109 (less than a third) were women. Who called it out? Who railed against it? Who even bothered to inform you?

Maybe you listen to radio?

The Progressive Radio Show is produced by The Progressive magazine and Socialist Matthew Rothschild spent the last 26 weeks speaking with 17 male guests and only 9 female ones. CounterSpin spent the first six months of the year speaking with 34 men and only 15 women.

And these are our 'friends' on the 'left'. This is their idea of equal representation. And they never get called out on it. And they're never forced to do better. And we all act like it's okay.

It's not okay.

Well public television. They get the people's money. They get it from donations and they get from our tax money. So surely, surely, PBS does a better job, right?


In the first six months of this year Washington Week had 33 female guests and twice that number (66) of male guests while Bill Moyers featured 43 men and only 13 women. This is PBS and who the hell has called them out?

This is from PBS' Editorial Standards & Policies: "The goal of diversity also requires continuing efforts to assure that PBS content fully reflects the pluralism of our society, including, for example, appropriate representation of women and minorities. The diversity of public television producers and funders helps to assure that content distributed by PBS is not dominated by any single point of view." "Appropriate representation of women and minorities." So who monitors that because clearly Gwen Ifill and Bill Moyers are failing. Clearly.

Does the ombudsperson monitor it? No. Even though that should be his or her job, that's not the case. And please note, none of your 'left' media 'watchdogs' would dare bark when Bill Moyers flaunts sexism. They don't say a word. They never do. It's why the problem gets worse each year.

Let's be really damn clear, not only is Moyers not meeting the Standards & Policies of PBS, when he's had 43 men on and only 13 women, he doesn't need his failure pointed out to him unless he's senile. Senility is the only excuse for how this happened and even senility doesn't excuse it.

Gwen Ifill? The naive can give her the benefit of the doubt for booking three men and one woman and not noticing (May 8th and May 1st are two examples of that) but if she didn't notice April 17th and March 13th that all of her guests were men, she's not observant enough to pass for a journalist. And if she thought her all male panels in any way met the diversity guidelines for public television, than she's not intelligent enough to host public affairs programming.

Let's repeat one more time that no one, NO ONE, has called this out. Not NOW, not Women's Media Center, not Women's eNews, no one.

What's the point of these organizations and outlets if they aren't going to call out rank sexism?

Why do they even exist if they're not going to fight for equal representation for women?

Why has 'brave' Katha Pollitt of The Nation never tackled this issue?

It's 2009. PBS's guidelines were written in 1971. 39 years later, we still shouldn't have to be fighting for equal representation on public television. But that's where we are and we're at that point because there has been a systematic failure in feminism.

Not at the grassroots. At the grassroots, women (and men) fight daily for a better world. But at the top? At the top, you've had far too many 'leaders' get too damn cozy with men. There's a feminist 'leader' for example, that was far too damn cozy with Steve Ross and ended up stabbing a woman with cancer in the back -- stabbing her in the back after she promised to help. It is shameful that it happened. It is shameful that this well known 'secret' did not lead to a serious examination by feminists. Because 'leaders' keep selling the movement out to get in good with men.

They're making deals and settling on issues the grassroots don't even know about. They're making decisions that no one gave them the authority to make.

It's past time that those who want to be in leadership -- many of whom self-appointed themselves to leadership -- were answerable to the grassroots.

It's past time that feminism again declared it's independence.

Along with refusing to call out Bill or Gwen (mainly because they might need the shows to sell a book someday -- oh my!), many of the feminist leaders either sit on the boards of the 'left' magazines and radio programs or regularly raise money for them. So, for example, take a look at The Nation masthead or read who's sitting on FAIR's advisory board and ask why these feminists aren't insisting on equality?

In what many are seeing as a sign of real change, Kim Gandy's hand-picked successor was not voted in as the new president of NOW despite all of Gandy's dirty tricks and behind-the-scene stunts. It's seen as a sign that the grassroots (and some leaders) have had enough and they're not going to take any more of this crap.

A good way to find out who are the real 'leaders' is to wait and see which feminists call out the lousy representation women are getting in magazines, radio and TV.

And it's going to require real calling out. None of that nonsense Dana Goldstein offered at American Prospect in 2006. None of the "poor Gail Collins." As any feminist remotely connected to Ms. or the Feminist Majority Foundation knows, long before Dana wrote that article, Gail had sent out her nasty e-mail reply that she would not hire a female columnist to fill in for Maureen Dowd because she didn't believe in that. Dana serves up poor Gail who whines that more males submit columns than women but she doesn't tell you that Gail Collins had long ago said it was not her job when the paper's only female columnist went on a six week vacation to ensure that a woman came on board. Gail wasn't interested in that.

And it's going to require calling out bad columnists like Gail Collins. She's not any helping any woman and doesn't need to be emulated or praised. Her repeated trips into the sewer to ha-ha over sex scandals helps inform no one. If you're a woman and you have a column, you have a responsibility to raise the bar, you have a responsiblity to write about serious topics and demonstrate that, yes, despite claims to the contrary, women can handle politics, women can handle international themes, women aren't just a bunch of useless harpy gossips. We really need to call out the female columnists that give all women a bad name.

It's going to require not finger pointing at Newsweek and other mainstream periodicals. Yeah, they need to have gender parity. But how 'bout we start with our supposed friends? How about we demand and get gender parity from The Nation, from CounterSpin, et al and then, having demonstrated it is possible, we move the fight to the mainstream?

The reality is that until we can hold 'independent' media accountable and force it to change, the mainstream media's not going to listen. Their response is going to be to excuse their own sorry records by pointing to the female-run Nation magazine and noting how sorry their record for publishing women is. That's even more true of PBS and allowing it to continue to skirt its own guidelines.

2009 is when the wreckage of 2008 is cleared away. We can roll our sleeves and get to work or have another year where all women are sold out -- one by one -- by our 'leaders.'

TV: Trash TV

We would have been just fine never commenting on Michael Jackson. As a general rule, the lives of pedophiles don't interest us, nor do their deaths. But in typical embarrassing fashion, various of the usual suspects on the faux left had to waste our time with their efforts to be correspondents for E! and TMZ.


Take Laura Flanders whose tired act fell apart around the time her looks did. You really can't go on Bill O'Reilly and other shows shoving your bra-less chest in a tight t-shirt out, and acting like a bigger cock tease than any of the female 'anchors' wearing plunging necklines on Fox Sports "en Espanol" once the looks have gone and damned if the looks didn't leave Flanders' sour puss as 2007 drew to a close. These days she resembles Marjorie Main in a Harpo Marx wig.

The self-loathing and semi-closeted Flanders showed up July 1st at The Nation's blog (The Notion) with "Trans Man." There's something especially disgusting about a lesbian who is forever sucking off some man's penis in print. But There's Always Something Disgusting About Laura. Little brain wanted to tell the world that there was an essay that was being ignored. IGNORED! And it captured her beloved Michael Jackson perfectly!


The day before Laura 'Columbus' Flanders discovered the essay, it had already been cited and quoted at length on Democracy Now! Despite seven paragraphs of blather, Flanders never managed to tell Nation readers that. But as Laura struggles with her own TV show, she's gotten far less eager to promote others -- possibly because Air America is her latest burned bridge and she doesn't have a great deal of options should the failing show close shop. Or maybe just because she's Minnie Pearl trying to live it up in an Angelina Jolie world.

Regardless, emigree Anjali Kamat thought she'd tell the world what's what on Democracy Now! despite the fact that she wasn't in the US during the time period she was speaking of and, like many a know-it-all, didn't know what the hell she was talking about. The fact-free zone was entered as soon as the segment began when Kamat lied, "He became the first African American artist on MTV, and his 1982 album Thriller remains the world’s bestselling album of all times."

Poor, dumb, stupid ass Anjali Kamat. As Betty explained last week, Donna Summer, Tina Turner and Eddy Grant were among the artists played on MTV long before Michael Jackson's Thriller. In 1983, when David Bowie raised the issue on air during an interview with vee jay Mark Goodman, the question wasn't, "Why are there no Black artists on the network?" The question was, "Why are there practically no Black artists on the network?" Along with the artists already cited, other African-American artists played prior to Michael Jackson included ("Why it took MTV so long to play black music videos," Jet, October 9, 2006) Joan Armatrading, Musical Youth, Bus Boys and Jon Butcher Axis. Not listed, but also played, was Diana Ross.

How do you miss that?

You miss that because you're not dealing in reality.

Last week was another round of Anna Nicole Smith, for any who missed it.

And it continues.

It's cheap to produce, it markets product that requires no real expense (Sony's not going to go bankrupt putting those Michael Jackson CDs on the shelves in Wal-Mart) and lets everyone be a gossip and ghoul.

Here's reality, there was no comeback for Michael Jackson.

Thriller hit with predominately young people (meaning thirteen and under). Others bought the music but it was the kids who went crazy. Within a few years, those kids didn't anymore because Michael Jackson was a freak. See when you get the hormonal urges on your own, you no longer think it's 'cute' that a grown man sleeps with boys. You no longer think it's understandable that a man pushing fifty is never able to have a significant relationship with a woman or man.

The pedophile issue (so well documented by Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair) was far from the only problem. It was actually the least problem he had due to our society's refusal to take issues of sexual abuse and assault seriously. What hurt him far more was looking like a freak which is why Mad TV could never resist the urge to work a Michael Jackson character into a skit so the freak could be the butt of the joke. So there's Wacko popping up in their skit of The Grudge, for example. There's also the fact that a gay Michael Jackson might have been embraced but the attempts to reduce women to pieces of meat (see especially the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel") only made people laugh and recall the SNL skit "Guy Talk" where Liberace and Michael Jackson talked about how they liked their women (Eddie Murphy played MJ).

Michael Jackson was a joke and no album release would have changed that. Even if he could alter his sound which was impossible. He was not Marvin Gaye and that's one of the things that NBC, CBS and, yes, Democracy Now! can't seem to grasp.

Outside of the world of dance, Jackson was no artist. It wasn't in his nature. He was no John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell or Stevie Wonder. He was unable to express anything with any depth. And he had no appreciation for those who could. The only thing he cared about was sales. He was the Monkees in singular form: A product foisting product on the public.

Though Anjali Kamat, Amy Goodman, Margo Jefferson and Mark Anthony Neal would blather on for nearly thirty minutes, if you paid attention, you saw that art was never one of the topics. There is no "Imagine" from the 'pen' of Michael Jackson. There is no "Isn't She Lovely." There are a lot of bad attempts to have hit records, a lot of bad songs that say nothing. With Lionel Richie, Michael penned "We Are The World" and some might point to that . . . some who forget how that song was called out in real time for its sanctimonious nature -- a bunch of Americans singing "We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a better day . . . ." He produced a lot of songs that say nothing but bide time until the chorus. During the period when Jackson could chart, Lionel Richie was writing better love songs. Social commentary? Michael Jackson threw a nasty, bitchy fit when Bad was shut out at the Grammys. For those who have forgotten, that's the year the big winners were U2 and the album Joshua Tree. No, Michael Jackson wasn't a musical artist.

What was he? A forerunner of American Idol? No real talent but a pretty voice and an urge to use it for vocal gymnastics. It wasn't just that Thriller was followed with weaker product, it was that product was out, no longer viable. The eighties were drawing a close and real artists like U2 and Tracy Chapman were emerging.

Michael Jackson could not make an artistic statement because it was beyond him. The man, who didn't understand why Frank Sinatra had a following and thought Mick Jagger was a joke, didn't understand the first thing about art.

He was a child performer and had a child's notion of 'success' until he died.

Without his father, he wouldn't have gotten anywhere. Joe Jackson took his sons to a certain level. And after that?

Though both expert brought on by Democracy Now! could name check Berry Gordy, neither bothered to mention Suzanne de Passe. Berry Gordy had already begun his move to Los Angeles and his attempts to conquer films. He was no longer involved in the day to day events of Motown and, in fact, he turned the Jackson Five over to Suzanne as soon as the group was signed. Suzanne's the one who turned them into stars. (In the officially sanctioned -- by the Jacksons -- mini-series, Vanessa Williams plays de Passe. And disclosure, one of us -- C.I. -- has known de Passe for years, and Berry Gordy, and Diana Ross and most of the players in this story.) Suzanne's the one who took them to new heights, who rehearsed them. The process Berry Gordy invented for the Supremes in the sixties (and then attempted to put other groups through to varying degrees of success) had long been dropped. It was de Passe's job to recreate it and to do so not for a nostalgia act but for one that was very much a part of 1970.

It's really interesting how time and again women are stripped of their credit. It's especially interesting when a discussion featuring three women and one man manages to strip a woman of her credit.

But what do facts matter when liars are busy re-writing history? Here's bad liar Margo Jefferson:

-- his individual talent was always pushing at the boundaries of the group. And that isn't always the case. What Motown often specialized in was a lead singer with a distinctive voice -- Levi Stubbs, let us say, or Eddie Kendricks -- who nevertheless -- you know, he'd do his solo, then meld right back into the group. You could even see that in the choreography. Michael was in front of it all the time.

Really, Margo? Really, you damn liar?

That's a cute little fantasy, it's not reality.

First off, most Motown acts emphasized a lead singer: Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Gladys Knight and the Pips, etc. Second, "I Want You Back" was the first single by the Jackson Five and it was released in October of 1969. That same month, they were introduced on national TV by Diana Ross (hosting The Hollywood Palace) as "Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five." Joe Jackson hit the roof. Berry shrugged and Diana's introduction remained when the taping was broadcast. And, Margo Jefferson, that TV appearance? Took place before the Ed Sullivan one (Sullivan was December 14, 1969) that you couldn't stop blathering on about. Yet again, a woman's credit is stolen. Margo doesn't care but maybe she'll worry about credit being stolen from men?

Jermaine and Jackie Jackson was singing on those tracks as well. And Jermaine was getting solos in concert. In 1970, press reports of girls fainting when Jermaine soloed with "I Found That Girl" were not uncommon. It's apparently important to strip the brothers out of the equation to establish Michael as a trash TV deity.

It's also apparently important to lie about the Jackson Five's chart success. Eight of their first nine songs make it onto the top ten. "Sugar Daddy" makes it to number ten in 1971 and they only have one other top ten record after that. October 1969, their first hit is released, by April of 1971 ("Little Bitty Pretty One" is released then), their top ten hits are pretty much behind them. That story wasn't told on Democracy Now! where the Jackson Five were allegedly bigger than the Beatles -- reality, the Jackson Five weren't even as big as the Supremes -- who had five consecutive number ones in a row, the Jackson Five only had four. And those four are the number ones they had. (The Diana Ross-led Supremes would end up with twelve number one hits.)

Whereas the Supremes would enter the night clubs and Vegas while still a hit making group, the Jackson Five would go to Vegas when their hits were behind them (they debuted April 9, 1974 at the MGM Grand). The show is not The Michael Jackson Show, despite the lies of Margo Jefferson. It's the first time La Toya and Janet are part of the act. (Rebbie had sprained her ankle.) Joe Jackson wanted them in Vegas (over Berry Gordy's objections) because he knew how fickle the music industry was and that if they could go over in Vegas, they could have a career regardless of hit records. (Their Vegas triumph also saw their return to the top ten with their final top ten hit "Dancing Machine.")

The hits really ended in 1972. By the start of 1975, Michael as a solo act couldn't even chart (Forever Michael only made it to 101 on the Billboard album chart). In 1976, the Jackson Five would be over. They'd leave Motown (Jermaine would remain with Motown), sign with CBS' Epic and become the Jacksons. They'd release 17 singles starting in 1976 up through 1982. Two would go top ten ["Enjoy Yourself," number six, and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," number seven] the rest would largely fail to chart or barely make a dent in the top 100. No, that's not a super group.

"They have a -- suddenly, they're a cartoon show!" raves Margo Jefferson. "They have a variety show!" The cartoon series had no input from any Jackson. Berry Gordy made that deal and the Jacksons were paid Guild minimum. The Jacksons did not do the speaking voices of the characters and were only heard when one of their Motown songs was used in one of the twenty-three cartoons. Yes, the cartoon show that Margo couldn't stop raving over only lasted twenty-three episodes. The variety show? That was The Jacksons and it was a summer hit for four weeks on CBS starting June 16, 1976. Four weeks. Michael hated doing the show. His father and brothers wanted it to continue, as did CBS. He signed on for more episodes which was a mistake. The show returned in January 1977 and was a huge flop. By April, it was coming in at number seventy -- out of seventy shows.

We could continue to chart the reality of his career as opposed to the garbage offered by Democracy Now! last week but the variety show actually underscores an important point. CBS cancelled the low rated show. In his ghost-written Moonwalker, 'Michael' writes, "I was the one who refused to renew our contract with the network for another season" after the summer of 1976. An outright lie. Had that been true, the program wouldn't have returned in January of 1977. But Michael always lied to the press.

He started out lying about his age (Motown made him shave two years off his age) and he continued lying. He couldn't stop lying.

So we're back to b.s. claims about Michael and MTV. Democracy Now! played a clip of Michael saying:

He came outright and said it. It broke my heart. It broke my heart, but at the same time it put a real -- it lit something that was just, "Oh, my God!" It said -- I mean, I was like saying to myself, you know, I have to do something where they -- it's refused to be ignored, I mean. And I came with "Thriller," and every time I was trying to always outdo myself.
And "Billie Jean," they said, "We don't -- we won't play it." So Walter Yetnikoff, who was president of Sony at the time, he said, "OK, we're pulling Streisand, we're pulling Neil Diamond, we're pulling Chicago." And when they played it, it set the all-time record. And they were asking for everything we had. They said, "We're pulling Streisand, we're pulling Chicago, we're pulling Neil Diamond." That's what Walter Yetnikoff said. And after they played it, there were knocking our door down, because it brought in -- then Prince came -- it opened the door for Prince and all the other black artists, because it was twenty-four-hour heavy metal, which is a potpourri of crazy images. And they came to me so many times in the past, and they said, "Michael, if it wasn't for you, there would be no MTV." They told me that over and over, personally.

Non-stop lies from the man who used to leak photos of himself to the National Enquirer (including the infamous shot of him in the coffin). Now anyone listening to that garbage should have sensed Wacko was lying. First off, it wasn't "Sony" then, it was CBS Records. Second off, if MTV "was twenty-four-hour heavy metal" before Michael kicked down the wall, exactly why were they playing Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond?

Answer: They weren't. Barbra would make her first bid for MTV in the fall of 1984 with her video "Left In The Dark Again." So, in other words, not only was MTV not playing her, but there was no video for CBS to threaten they could pull. Neil Diamond? Which Vegas shlock number was MTV playing? None. They weren't playing "America" or any of his bad songs from the flop film The Jazz Singer. They weren't playing any of his videos. He was not MTV star.

And who knew Chicago were video stars or that they had any power in 1982 when they were just beginning their comeback?

More importantly, exactly why would Michael be present for such a meeting? Michael who always delegated all responsibilities is suddenly meeting with MTV to threaten to pull his videos? Oh, yeah, that plays believable. (Marcia calls it out here.)

The entire incident is a lie. Les Garland, MTV co-founder, explained to Jet about the "Billie Jean" video, "There was never any hesitation. No fret. I called Bob (Pittman, MTV co-founder) to tell him, 'I just saw the greatest video I've ever seen in my life. It is off the dial it's so good.' We added it that day. How (the myth) turned into a story literally blew our minds."

How did the myth take hold? Freddy DeMann got Rolling Stone to run a report of 'rumors' which the magazine was happy to do when an interview with Michael was dangled as bait (Geri Hirshey's article from that interview would run in February 1983). From unsourced rumors, it's turned into reality with dumb asses even going so far as to insist that, until Jackson, no African-American was played on MTV.

Though rumors were treated as fact on Democracy Now!, legal allegations, legal allegations that led to settlements, were treated as false rumors. "Mark Anthony Neal," declared Amy Goodman as the segment was winding down, "talk about the trajectory of Michael Jackson's life. Talk about the child abuse allegations, also Michael Jackson's own image as it transformed over time."

He will babble on for 262 words before briefly addressing the child abuse: "I think the child charges, you know, come at a time where it makes it very difficult, obviously, for him to sustain his professional career in any serious way. Michael Jackson is someone who never had a childhood." And that's really it. One sentence acknowledging the charges in vauge terms and then a rush to defend the pedophile because he didn't have a childhood. He will babble on for many more words -- about buying the publishing company that holds the copyrights to the Beatles songs, for example -- before suddenly turn around to these sinister and unnamed "kind of folks around" him who "enable him to really . . . make all kinds of bad decisions, both in terms of the amount of money that he's spending, the folks who are close to him, you know, actually having these children in his bedroom." In his bed, Mark Anthony, in his damn bed.

When Mark Anthony comes up for air, Amy Goodman interjects, "I think at least three kids charged him with child abuse, two in settlements." And poor, put-upon Margo insists, "Yes, it’s true. And the media and reportage brouhaha about all of this goes on. You know, you can marshal all sorts of evidence, you know, that seem to indict Michael on some level. There's also plenty of evidence that shows these kids and their parents manipulating, changing stories."

There's a word for Margo: WHORE.

It takes a real whore to accuse children -- who've already been the victims of a sexual predator -- of lying. It takes a real whore and Margo's one hell of an ugly whore. Notice how much emphasis she places on the victims of sexual abuse: "brouhaha." Let's see, the royal family in Monaco have never stopped talking about the way Michael Jackson ran his hands up and down Joey Randall, the child Jackson took with him for the World Music Awards where he was being awarded World's Best Selling Record Artist of the Era. Up and down the boy's legs, in the boy's shirt. And of course the Child Protective Services report would note Joey explaining how it was that trip to Monaco when Michael convinced him to bathe with him, when Michael jerked off in front of him and then jerked him off. Joey would explain that Michael then moved to "masturbating me with his mouth" (blow jobs).

Whores like Margo don't care about that. Whores like Margo have other things to focus on. Whores like Margo refuse to tell people that Jackson hired Anthony Pellicano to attempt to destroy the Randall family. If Pellicano is a familiar name to you, you may be recalling last year when he was found guilty of 76 counts of racketeering.

Margo didn't tell you that it wasn't just charges from children. She left out that Jackson's former employees Faye and Mark Quindoy announced publicly that they had seen Jackson molest boys and that they gave testimony to the authorities. And it was sister La Toya who broke it down so well for the press, "Forget about the superstar, forget about the icon. If he was any other thirty-five-year-old man who was sleeping with little boys, you wouldn't like the guy."

And people like Margo Jefferson don't want to face that. Elizabeth Taylor didn't have a childhood. Judy Garland didn't have a childhood. Natalie Wood didn't have a childhood. And yet none of them had a desire to sleep with young children. None of them had a desire to present themselves as asexual Peter Pans, skipping down the hall -- off to the bedroom -- with young children. Michael Jackson was always the text book example of a pedophile. Always.

But we don't honor children in this society and we don't take sexual abuse seriously in this culture.

It's so very interesting what we do take seriously. Contrast that garbage Democracy Now! served up last week with their fleeting moments devoted to Odetta's passing -- and grasp too that the guest was booked for another segment and, during the time remaining, Goodman decided to explore Odetta.

Odetta -- a true artistic genius. Someone who's influenced people with more than marketing. Someone who has left a mark and whom other singers still owe a debt too. Odetta gets hardly any coverage -- certainly no request from Amy to e-mail suggestions on the topic the day before the after-thought interview airs -- and that appears to be because Odetta wasn't a man.

Go through the archives. Find the woman honored by Democracy Now! or, for that matter, honored by anyone in Panhandle Media. Lots of luck searching. But James Brown, you may remember, Goodman also spent forever on and, of course, in painting him as a victim. She brought on guests to push this conspiracy theory that Brown was destroyed. When, reality check, Brown destroyed himself in that time frame by not only recording disco, but by issuing multiple albums each year. You can't do that. You can't flood the market and then whine that someone else ruined your career. But Goody was swallowing.

She always does. Facts never matter when Democracy Now! decides to 'explore' music.

A serious discussion about Michael Jackson and race could take place . . . if people were honest. It could include how the Jackson Five's first Texas tour was cancelled . . . because they refused to heed the demands that they hire an African-American promoter (and not Dick Clark). It could note Michael's refusal to have his photo taken with Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984 (a point Rev Jackson himself raised to the press in real time). It could note any number of real events. But we don't get reality, we just get trash TV.

And while people pretend that Michael Jackson: Still Dead is news, it keeps real news off the radar. So it's especially disgusting when Pacifica's Free Speech Radio News and The (KPFA) Morning Show waste listeners time with this garbage. And flat out outrageous when Democracy Now! uses its radio and TV time to 'cover' bad gossip.

Michael Jackson wanted to be Diana Ross for years. Then he wanted to be a White woman. At last, in death, he is. He's Anna Nicole Smith for 2009. And all the ghouls and all the idiots -- who can't be bothered with following actual news -- rush to watch more and more infotainment and kid themselves that they're in any way informed or aware of what's going on in the world. Shame on anyone pretending to be a public affairs or news program that assists them in mistaking trash TV for news.

Women actively challenging the spin

Last week, there were a number of talking points from the US government. Instead of mindlessly lapping them up, women could be found actively challenging them.

Iraq had a "soverienty day," for example. Apparently something like an annual Sadie Hawkins Day Ball. While many went along with the government spin, Deborah Haynes (Times of London) observed, "Iraq has celebrated a return to sovereignty three times since the invasion more than six years ago in a carefully choreographed attempt to put an Iraqi face on what has always been an American occupation." And while all were supposed to be celebrating, Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) noted Iraqi reaction, "The excitement however, has run hollow for many Iraqis, who fear that their country's security forces are not ready to stand alone and who see the government's claims of independence as overblown." McClatchy Newspapers' Sahar Issa explained on Democracy Now!, "The problem is this government needs to gain the confidence of the people. It needs to give them something that they can hold onto. It needs to look at their very difficult lives. They didn't have electricity when the -- you know, outside this building, if I walk out now, it is so hot, toys will melt in cars. To just to give you an idea, toys will melt in cars. That is the heat. And people don't have electricity. After six years, they don't have water in their homes. I spoke to a person yesterday in Beya'a neighborhood, when we were touring the city for reactions. And she said, 'How can I be happy with sovereignty, if sovereignty has not brought me enough water to bathe, I can't wash my clothes, if I don't have electricity so I can sleep at night? What kind of sovereignty is this?' We are struggling, my dear friend. We are struggling so hard to reach square one. And so far, we haven't achieved it yet." And Free Speech Radio News interviewed an Iraqi mother:

Baswa Alkhateeb: We have a lawless state. The alligance of the security forces that are taking over is not for the country or for the state it's for the Islamic groups for the clerics who are in the Parliament who ruling now so it's not really a blessing or something to be happy about. Add to that the whole institutions were dismantled. So the way that it was rearranged after 2003, 2004, it's not about the state, it's about allegiance to their sects, to the cultural, political cultural, that put them there. [. . .] What's happening now is no employment, no educational system, no health care, nothing. IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] all over. We have graduates from university who do not have a place to be employed unless they're part of this political culture which is following the clerics and the Islamic extreme parties ruling the country. It's something new and deformed actually. Our elites are outside, they've all left. We need experts, we need professional people here. So it will take time I don't know and all these political groups, the extremist Islamists have militias. And more were enrolled in the armies -- in the security forces.

The talking point, the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk, told you that this was an amazing first and everyone was thrilled. Time and again last week, it was women who brought the truth. Another talking point was that all US forces were out of Iraqi cities.

Being questioned about how many US troops were out and how many remained would so rattle General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, that he would lose his temper in a Baghdad press conference on Tuesday. But were they out (as the US claimed) or not? It would take Judy Woodruff (PBS' NewsHour) to get the answer to that question:

GEN. RAY ODIERNO: Well, what we have is we have U.S. forces in joint coordination centers all over Iraq, inside of the cities, and they are there doing training, advising, assisting, and they also are coordinating with the Iraqis. So we have these relationships that are built from the lowest levels up to the highest levels that allow us to communicate. And if they need assistance, they can ask, and we will provide that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So they're not technically out of the cities. They're still there, but they're working side by side with the Iraqis?

GEN. RAY ODIERNO: That's right, but we're at much lower numbers. These are just small advisory and coordination cells, and they're not related to combat formation, such as brigades and battalions. Those are now outside the cities. But we have coordination cells that work very closely with the Iraqis to enable them and train them and advise them and coordinate with them.

And whenever a White House tries to sell spin, there is Helen Thomas, slugging away for the truth, fighting the falsehoods and demanding reality:

Following a testy exchange during Wednesday's briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas told that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press.

"Nixon didn’t try to do that," Thomas said.

"They couldn't control (the media). They didn't try.

"What the hell do they think we are, puppets?" Thomas said.

"They're supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them."

Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.

"When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you," Thomas said.

"I'm not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well--for the town halls, for the press conferences," she said. "It's blatant. They don't give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame."

And those aren't the only women who accomplished something last week but their actions deserve note.

Shirley Chisholm

We award them this site's highest honor, The Shirley for outstanding work last week in calling out bunk and refusing to stay silent in the face of spin.

The Nation: Can't get it up, you won't get in print

"God I hope David Broder is wrong." blogs Nation magazine publisher and editor Katrina vanden Heuvel June 28th only to blog July 3rd, "This Fourth of July, those who identify themselves as non-believers, or humanists, or atheists -- or a whole host of other names which signify a nontheistic worldview -- have much cause for celebration." Yes, scattered to the wind doesn't begin to describe Katty-van-van and her inability to present herself in a coherent manner goes a long way towards explaining how a magazine whose publisher is a woman can have a hideous record of publishing women.

Of course, just because Katrina's editor and publisher doesn't mean all the blame should be laid at her door. There are numerous women in management, numerous!

So insisted The Nation when FAIR tipped them off that we were about to run: "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," and "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis."

We'd been tracking the number of women and men published by The Nation throughout the first half of 2007 and publishing the totals at least bi-weekly. We'd been asked to track it by a number of women writers. And The Nation was certainly aware we'd been tracking it judging by their many e-mails during the first months of 2007. But when FAIR tipped them off that we were planning something more than "Nation Stats," that we were planning an article, all the sudden it was time for The Nation to rush in with an attempted end run around our article.

At the end of 2007, we'd publish "The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?" Answer: 149.

They would have been better off attempting to fix their problems instead of attempting to hijack our article.

Back then, they informed us that they were aware of an imbalance but were already addressing it. And they promised we'd see it. We didn't. We didn't in the second half of 2007 and we didn't in 2008 and we haven't in 2009. (We'll get to 2009 in a moment.)

Now they did farm out some bad online writing to Baby Jess and the Mud Flap Gals of Feministing. They showed up at The Nation -- a political journal -- to write in their usual lame ass manner about lame ass topics that were more Oprah than public affairs. On the one hand, we were glad that at least some women were appearing online, on the other, we felt like the weakest minds possible had been chosen precisely to make the argument that women really couldn't cover politics.

And it was online.

Our study had always been of the magazine.

Because being published in the magazine carries more prestige than an 'online exclusive' and also pays more.

It is now officially two years since The Nation rushed out their e-mail promising they knew about the problem, promising they were addressing it, explaining that mean old Ava and C.I. actually made it harder for The Nation to publish women. Did you know the entire magazine trembled at the thought of Ava and C.I.? Oh, the power, oh, the responsibility.

Wonder Woman

In fact to read that laughable e-mail, the fact that the magazine published so very few women was the fault of everyone except . . . the people running the magazine.

The same staff that preaches the need for accountability when it comes to others refuses to take accountability for themselves.

Which is how the women run (we wouldn't say "feminist run" -- for obvious reasons) Nation magazine just finished the first six months of the year and managed to feature 399 bylines. The breakdown isn't good but what is it?

Before we get to that, let's note that we did not count the crossword puzzle. We never have. We tossed that out to readers of this site early in 2007 and they didn't feel it should be counted. If it were counted, it should be noted that the weekly crossword is always done by the same man.

We also took a pass on illustrations and that benefited the magazine as well because no one at the magazine ever met a female artist apparently.

Now for the numbers. Of the 399 bylines, 109 were women and 290 were men.

A little under one-third of all bylines were female.

Since we last checked in on The Nation, they've added "Noted" which is a series of briefs. Sometimes signed. Were it not for that feature offering very little writing, women would have even less bylines. In addition, Christine Smallwood being given an arts beat (where she covers such 'important' topics as Mariah Carey) accounted for more bylines than any other female -- more than columnists Katha Pollitt, Patricia J. Williams or Naomi Klein. It's a shame she's left to cover unimportant topics in an unimportant way.

Did someone say "wasting your time and everyone else's"?

To JoAnn Wypijewski, Ava and C.I. say, "Hugs and kisses Bitchy-poo. We still haven't forgotten the war you conducted on Hillary at CounterPunch . . . in the name of 'sisterhood,' of course. Might we suggest that a grown woman that's wasting everyone's time writing about American Idol after the finale -- excuse us, slobbering over American Idol, writing about texting ('sexting'), should just take a razor to her wrist already because she's an embarrassment to herself and others. Little pith-less pieces like 'The Only Way To Fight The Clintons' during the Democratic Party primary neglected to inform readers that you weren't a Democrat. So you're not only an embarrassment, you're also a damn liar. Right now, we're toying with you like a cat does a rat. Right now."

While JoAnn seemed to exist to demonstrate how useless one woman could be, women with brains really weren't prized at the magazine. You had the asinine female columnists with their non-stop bad writing (Eric Alterman can be repetitive but, pay attention, ladies, he does tackle issues). But when it came time to writing on the big issues of the day, if your own initials weren't KvH, you rarely popped up with what could be considered a report.

We don't think that's due to the fact that women can't write hard hitting reports. In fact, the magazine only printed one such article by Liza Featherstone throughout the first six months and we're having a real hard time believing that one such article taxed Liza to the point of no return. We're having a real hard time believing Liza had to take the rest cure after one article.

Was Liza the only grown up at the table? It certainly reads as if she was. Here's a hint for women writing for The Nation, especially their columnists and JoAnn, if you're writing is of such weak calibre that it's going to make Ellen Goodman come off like Susan Sontag by comparison, you need to either put more time into it or stop inflicting your bad writing on the rest of us.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't single out one of the worst writer at the magazine, Katha Pollitt, the Charlotte Rae den mother to push-up bra set of do-me-'feminism.' Katha, quit hiding. You're more than happy to call out the bad, bad record The Nation has on publishing women in private. Why don't you step up to the plate, Big Girl. Why don't you go public. If you don't, never bore us with another one of your bad columns on how the MSM doesn't publish enough women. Less than a third of the bylines in the first six month were women. If you can't call that out there's really not much point in your continuing to churn out your bad columns.

Bill Moyers Journal: Find the girl!

Each week on PBS, Bill Moyers Journal takes up an hour of air time (more if rebroadcast by your local PBS station in the same week). The show describes itself as follows: "Each week the series will attempt to provide the high quality public service journalism for which Moyers and his colleagues have been identified for almost four decades."

Apparently high quality public service journalism does not include diversity.

As noted in "TV: Bill Moyers Locker Room," rare is the month when an essay written by Michael Winship (senior writer of the program) or one co-written by Winship and Moyers doesn't manage to slime at least one woman. This happens over and over, and in fact, Sarah Palin was at bat (yet again) in Winship's essay two Fridays ago.

We regularly call out the rank sexism of the program here. We've noted at length how covering Barack and Hillary's runs for the Democratic Party primary, Bill and Dr. Kathy found only one run historic and significant (Barack's). And that Hillary's run wouldn't be seen as historic was only surprising if you didn't pay attention to who sits across from Bill Moyers and who doesn't.

In the first six months of 2009, Bill Moyers made it even more clear that women just don't make 'capable' or 'qualified' guests. He did that by inviting on 43 men.

Forty-three men. Ask yourself how many women were booked during that six month period?

Give up?


Thirteen women, forty-three men.


On the public's dime.

Sexist booking leads to sexist programming and don't let anyone kid you otherwise.

That breaks down to men appearing 4.3 times as often as women.

So in Bill Moyers' world, a woman is worth hearing from after you've already heard from 4.3 men.

Our calendars say 2009, we're afraid Bill's stuck in the LBJ administration.

Batwoman autographed

Along with PBS viewers, the following foundations and corporations provide financial support to the program: "the Partridge Foundation, a John and Polly Guth Charitable Fund; the Park Foundation; The Kohlberg Foundation; The Herb Alpert Foundation; Marilyn and Bob Clements and The Clements Foundation; Bernard and Audrey Rapoport and the Bernard and Audrey Rapoport Foundation; Fetzer Institute; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ; The Orfalea Family Foundation; The Public Welfare Foundation, and our sole corporate sponsor Mutual of America Life Insurance Company." We'd like to know whether they support the sexist booking system which regularly sends the message that women just don't matter?

Washington Week: Gwen must be belle of the ball

PBS' Washington Week boasts it "is the longest-running primetime news & public affairs program on television. The show first aired locally on WETA on February 23, 1967 as Washington Week In Review. A few months later it began broadcasting over Eastern Educational Network, a group of 14 stations located between Washington, D.C. and Maine. In January 1969, it became the first local program to air on the new Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). "

Gwen Ifill is the current host and she took over in 1999, in the process becoming the first woman to do so. (Women had 'guest' hosted before -- including Gwen. Gwen was the first regular female host.) Though Washington Week is available for airing on Friday nights, some PBS stations have chosen to hold it until Sunday mornings or else re-air it then. This underscores that Gwen is the only female host of a chat & chew. Face The Nation? Man. This Week? Man. Meet The Press? Man.

You might think Gwen's status as the only female host of a political chat & chew featuring guests of both genders (worded that way because Bonnie Erbe sits down with women each week to discuss the week's news on To The Contrary) would mean she felt a special obligation to book an equal number of male guests and female guests.

You would be wrong.


A Queen Bee works her way into a 'man's world' and then feels she's devalued if other women enter the sphere. And Gwen's a Queen Bee. She's not a Quota Queen. A Quota Queen's qualifications are questionable and she exists so that an organization or outlet can keep other women out. A Queen Bee, by contrast, determines all by herself that other women will not be on equal footing.

And that is why the first six months of this year found Gwen sitting around the table with twice as many men as women.

Exactly twice as many.

From January 2nd through the June 26th broadcast, Gwen had 66 male guests and only 33 female ones.

Why did it take so long for Washington Week to get a female host?

The show started in 1967 and didn't get a female host until 1999 -- thirty-two years later.

It took that long because women weren't seen as equal and they weren't valued.

You could see that week after week in who got booked and who didn't.

Queen Bee Gwen may have climbed over the fence but instead of tearing it down, she decided the fence needed to be a little higher.

How is it that public televsion manages to get away with these appalling figures on diversity?

CounterSpin: Let the men talk

Back in October of 2006, FAIR issued a study of PBS' NewsHour and their conclusions included that the program"interviewed four times as many male sources as women." As listeners of FAIR's weekly radio program CounterSpin, we didn't just cluck our tongues, we researched and wrote "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?" (October 8, 2006).

We surveyed the same period for CounterSpin that FAIR did for The NewsHour and we found 36 males were booked and only 13 women. That was shameful and that was nearly three years ago.

How FAIR is CounterSpin today? For the first six months of this year (through the June 26th episode), CounterSpin featured 15 women as guests compared to 34 men. Over twice as many men are booked on the show. In addition, during this time one show (June 19th) devoted the full broadcast to just one guest: a man (D.D. Guttenplan) discussing another man (I.F. Stone).

At FAIR, they thank those who supported their latest beg for money cycle and encourage people: "If you haven't yet, it's not to late to support FAIR." Yes, that should be "it's not too late . . ." Too. But, hey, a Carole King hit ("It's Too Late"), a woman, why would they pay attention? They'd rather bask in their ignorance.

FAIR describes itself thusly, "FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information."

Greater diversity doesn't include calling out sexism.

In fact, they'd prefer to ignore it.

As they demonstrated in 2008 when they let the entire political primary and general election run drift by with CounterSpin only noting sexism one time. May 28, 2008, we pointed out their 'critique' from the May 25th broadcast, in full: "CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because well isn't that just what some women are." The first time in 2008 that they 'covered' or 'confronted' sexism and the last time in 2008.

In 2009, they ignored the Letterman controversy and we pointed that out in an aside (". . . That's why CounterSpin let the whole primary season pass by without calling out the sexism*, right? Because how dare Hillary force us to speak out against sexism, how dare she.") which led to a boo-hoo from CounterSpin insisting that they had called out sexism in 2008, they had too. To calm our 'friends' a note was added to the TV commentary.

Not only did they boo-hoo in an e-mail, the next Friday (show is taped on a Thursday), Janine Jackson was snarling: "One of the reasons some people think media sexism is largely a thing of the past is that they only look for certain kinds like demeaning treatment of women politicians." (Noted here.) Ooooh, that's telling us, Janine! After all, we just cover sexism every week. We cover it in terms of private individuals, in terms of the message the media sends to viewers, in terms of the entertainment and news business. But Janine was focusing on a bad newspaper article about a sci-fi convention.

It was only the third example of sexism CounterSpin had found in two years. The second? The February 13, 2009 broadcast called out the sexism aimed at Katie Couric by FAIR foe Howard Kurtz. We could reply to Janine, "One of the reasons some people think media sexism is largely a thing of the past is that they only look for certain kinds like demeaning treatment of women journalists."

In two years time, CounterSpin's made room for three items on sexism. Listeners of the program would be forgiven for assuming sexism barely exists in this country. They'd be forgiven for assuming there are less women in this country than men as well because, week after week, the guests CounterSpin books sends the message that there are either over twice as many men as women or that men are just more worth hearing from.

Either way, that doesn't sound very "FAIR" to us.

Matt Rothschild: twice as likely to speak to a man

We tried to keep this edition under wraps (due to FAIR leakage in the past) and were careful who we spoke to about it ahead of time. One friend we spoke to, who spoke at The Progressive self-congratulating celebration this spring, insisted that The Progressive Radio Show, hosted by the magazine's CEO and publisher Matthew Rothschild, was doing a great job on gender equality.

"I know you don't care for Matthew," we were told, "but he really is, at least on the radio show, striving towards equality."

Equality ain't horseshoes.

You either get it or you don't.

And, no, we don't care for Matthew Rothschild. He was a raving lunatic during the Democratic Party primaries -- primaires he had no business in because, as he would finally publicly reveal this year (we told you in 2008) he was a Socialist -- insisting that one day's photo in The New York Times demonstrated an anti-Barack bias of the paper, linking to the right-wing Weekly Standard (linking to the right-wing Weekly Standard!!!!) as a "recommended link" just to highlight (and giggle over) Hillary being called the c-word.

We don't care for Matthew Rothschild. We're far from alone. And his late 2009 stepping out of the political closet did him tremendous damage because it's the sort of revelation that needs to be made when you're endorsing a political candidate and trashing another. If you've got your nose stuck in the Democratic Party's primary, people have every right to assume you're a Democrat and finding out that you've lied to them never goes over well.

We grasp that the coming out process can be a difficult one -- especially for cowards. But we also grasp that we no longer trust Matthew Rothschild and nothing short of an apology for his sexist actions in 2009 will have us forgiving him.

That said, we were happy to note The Progessive Radio Show did an outstanding job booking female guests. Why wouldn't we be happy to do that? It would make us look big (because it's known that, community wide, we all loathe Matty) and show that we weren't playing favorites.

But to applaud Matthew, we needed for him to do the work.

Despite the claims that he had, the reality was he hadn't.


We reviewed the 26 most recent show (from the Bill V. Mullen show all the way to to the Julie Bolz show) and what did we find?

For those who don't listen, The Progressive Radio Show is a weekly broadcast where Rothschild speaks to one guest for the entire program. So there were twenty-six guests in the most recent twenty-six shows.

Gender parity would be thirteen male guests and thirteen female ones.

That's not what they offered.

The 'Progressive' Radio Show offered seventeen male guests and nine female ones.

Nine times two is? 18. One short of 18. So basically, Matthew Rothschild booked twice as many men as he did women.

Now for the so-called 'progressive' media, that's something. Seriously, Matthew could puff out his chest with pride if he wanted to judge himself against his peers.

But is being only "a little racist" something to brag about? We don't think so. Nor do we think being "not as sexist as my peers" is anything to take pride in.

Harper's magazine: Only pencil neck males allowed


It always amazes us how Harper's magazine can be so sexist so frequently and never be called on it. Make no mistake, feminists notice, including prominent ones. But it's among the mags that no one ever wants to call out publicly.

We have no fears.

Which is why we've called out Scott Horton too many times to list. (Horton is one of the two bloggers for the Harper's website. The other is Ken Silverstein. At Harper's, you apparently need a penis to blog.) It's why we've offered "Arthur Krystal delivers a lesson in exclusion" and "The sexism at Harper's."

And it's why we'll loudly call out what everyone else just whispers about: 129 male bylines, 28 female ones.

That's the January through June issues of the magazines.

We should note that in one case, we counted a woman once. She has several short stories in a row. We counted her once. Were we to count her more than once, we would have to count two men who received multiple credits in two different issues and that would make the numbers even more lopsided (favoring the males).

Harper's really doesn't seem to care about sexism.

It doesn't really seem to care about women.

It doesn't really seem to care about much of anything at all. That is how they staged a roundtable and managed to have all the participants be male and then get mad at us because we dared to point that out publicly.

The problem's not with us, the problem's with Harper's. They need to take ownership and they need to take accountability.

Queen Bees v. Quota Queens

Isn't that a Queen Bee? Last week's preview ("The Quota Queen's on her head") resulted in a number of e-mails. No, a Quota Queen and a Queen Bee are not the same thing.

Take Gwen Ifill of Washington Week. She's a Queen Bee. She made it to where she is via hard work and she's bound and determined to make sure she's seen as an exception by not waiving through a lot of women. A Queen Bee arrives at a certain level of achievement as a result of her achievements. It's not an accident. Nor is it an accident when she makes the choice to shut other women out.


Take Janine Jackson of FAIR. She's a Quota Queen. Janine's unimpressive academic record led to her being hired as a researcher director at FAIR. Shortly after, she's program director at FAIR (and one of the hosts of CounterSpin). Those who believe she worked her way up to the posts (despite no work anyone can point to) apparently are unaware of how quickly she became involved with FAIR's Jim Naureckas (also our Best F**king Friend). By 1997, they were married.

And Janine just managed to rise higher than any woman had prior.

And if you believe that, we've got some subscriptions to Extra! we'd love to sell you.

Janine's rise had nothing to do with her abilities. And now she's window dressing for one of the most sexist outlets on the left. They point to Janine and say, "See, we do hire women!" She's a two-fer. She also allows them to pretend they hire African-Americans too.

Quota Queens are nothing but window dressing. They exist to hide systematic and continued discrimination.

A lot of time, they realize that fact on some level.

Take Janine who loudly and repeatedly insists bi-racial Barack Obama was Black. For those not in the know, her husband Jim is White. For those not in the know, they have a daughter.

A bi-racial daughter.

It takes a lot of self-hate to lie about your daughter. But colonization, the term often tossed at Janine, leads to a lot of self-hate.

Quota Queens are figureheads. They have no real power.

Liz Smith: Women who hurt women and themselves

Is there a bigger fool than Liz Smith these days?

This is the woman who insists that all of Bully Boy Bush's torture and spying should be forgotten and the country should 'move on': "I'm more worried about the Democrats and their mumbling about taking members of the Bush administration -- perhaps even the ex-president himself -- to legal task for eight years of ineptitude and possibly worse. Please! Nancy Pelosi, buy a clue. When your president talks about turning the page, he doesn't mean to have the country and media embroiled and obsessed with Bush and company for ages ahead."

Shortly after, Tina Fey's publicist fed Liz the lie that Sarah Palin and Tina were close, close, close. Liz had barely printed the item before Palin was in the news cycle noting how offended she was by Fey. Liz did not take kindly to having egg on her face and she quickly had a tantrum in column form as she trashed Sarah Palin and insisted we'd all be better off if we never mentioned her. Of course, Liz was the one who had mentioned her. Both times.

Liz Smith hates Palin. HATES.

And so, like too many others, she refuses to call out Levi Johnston. A man who got a woman pregnant and then went around trashing the woman and her family (on Tyra Banks' show among other outlets). He insisted that Sarah Palin knew that he and Bristol Palin were sleeping together and instead of calling him out as bore and a braggart with a questionable relationship to the truth, people like Liz Smith let their Palin hatred allow them to run with any morsel Johnston tossed out.

Liz was praising trashy Johnston again at the end of last month in "Studly Bear Hunter Levi Johnston Done Wrong?" where Liz prattles on about a GQ article on Johnston and how "your sympathy shifts to Levi and his mom."

Does it?

Does your sympathy shift?

Our sympathy doesn't shift.

We're not sympathetic to homophobes so reading the GQ article about how any gay person who didn't stay in a closet or any man who did something that could be misread as gay would be beaten up by Levi Johnston means we have no sympathy for him.

It also means we're appalled by Liz Smith.

These days it's so hard to tell as everyone pulls a Bowie -- "I'm gay! Wait, no, I'm not!" But we're pretty sure Liz Smith did come out of the closet. And stayed out. If she didn't, we just outed her.

And good for us because there is something really disgusting about any lesbian or gay man who refuses to call out homophobia and bends over backwards to write nice things about homophobes.

Liz Smith has no self-respect obviously. But readers of wowOwow should be asking themselves if the GQ article had Levi Johnston beating up any guy who was African-American would they have found it charming? Doubtful. So why the hell do you accept it when the target of his hatred is gay men or men who are suspected of being gay?

Liz Smith needs to get her act together. And we all need to start treating homophobia as the very real outrage it is.

July 8th rally for Kimberly Rivera

David Solnit, co-author with Aimee Allison of Army Of None, notes:

Kimberly Rivera, mother of three, wife, and soldier of conscience is now living in Canada, but that could all change on July 8th. Join Courage to Resist at a support rally outside of the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco,July 8, 12 noon - 1pm580 California Street at Kearny, San Francisco (4 blocks up Montgomery from Montgomery BART, left on Calif. St, right side of street just before Kearny)

We will bring signed petitions to the Consulate General, urging the Canadian politicians to respect the will of the Canadian people, the Canadian parliament, whom have twice voted recommendations to allow war resisters to stay and the basic moral imperative that does not separate children from their loving mother.

Kimberly has this to say:"I want to stay in Canada, with my family, because the Iraq War is immoral, illegal and I couldn't in good conscience go back. The amount of support I’m getting from Canadians is amazing. The parents of my kids' friends, MPs and even strangers on the street keep telling me that they can't believe the votes in Parliament aren't being respected."

Kimberly Rivera is the first outspoken female Iraq War resister to publically and legally seek refuge in Canada. Kimberly, along with her partner Mario, son Christian (7 years old) and daughter Rebecca (4 years old), fled to Canada in January 2007 when Kimberly refused redeployment. In late November 2008 Kimberly gave birth to her Canadian daughter Katie (8 months old). She served in Iraq in 2006 and experienced, firsthand, the reality of this ongoing illegal war and occupation.

On July 8th, Kimberly is going to Canadian federal court, to appeal the decision in her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. If her appeal fails, she will be asked to leave Canada, or forcibly removed -- and delivered into the custody and jurisdiction of the United States Army where Kimberly will face charges that will carry, at the very least, a 4 year sentence in a military stockade.

Four years or more away from her young children, away from her baby daughter, away from her husband -- she will be kept in an Army prison. She has served in Iraq, she has been to combat; now, because she has decided to exercise her conscience, she faces imprisonment, additional forced separation from her family and eviction from her new home.

Act to help Kimberly on July 8th! Join Courage to Resist in protesting the Canadian governments attempts to violate a loving mother’s human rights!

Sign the letter online & for more info:

Indonesia President SBY Covered Up Murder

From ETAN:

Indonesia President SBY Covered Up Ambush Murder of U.S. Citizens

Eben Kirksey, Ph.D., University of California (Santa Cruz)
+1.831.429.8276 or +1.831.600.5937 (English or Bahasa Indonesia)

Paula Makabory, Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (Melbourne)
+61.402.547.517 (English or Bahasa Indoneisa)

John M. Miller, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (New York)
+1.718.596.7668 (English)

1 July, 2009 - Previously secret U.S. State Department documents implicate the President of Indonesia in a probable cover-up of an ambush in West Papua. The documents show Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is running for reelection on July 8, maneuvering behind the scenes to manage the investigation into the August 2002 murder of three teachers—one Indonesian and two U.S. citizens.

"Yudhoyono brought politics into a case that should have just been about forensic facts,” said Dr. Eben Kirksey, an anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a regional specialist. “The documents reveal that Yudhoyono initially stalled attempts by the FBI to launch an independent investigation,” he continued. The U.S. Congress, outraged at these stalling tactics, blocked funds for Indonesian military training until there was cooperation with the FBI.

The documents released today add a new twist to a hotly contested Presidential race.

"Yudhoyono is not the only controversial former soldier running in the presidential election,” said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network. “Vice presidential candidates and former generals Wiranto and Prabowo Subianto were involved in well-documented human rights crimes in East Timor and throughout Indonesia.”

When a police investigation implicated Indonesian military shooters as the likely murderers of the schoolteachers, Yudhoyono became involved. Yudhoyono, a retired General and then the Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs, wrote to the Charge D'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta that “I have dispatched a fact finding team led by one of my deputies to Timika and its surrounding (sic), to find additional information and other related facts especially on a broader political and security aspects of the incident.” Timika, the site of the attack, is in the remote province of Papua, where U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoRan (FCX) operates a concession.

Yudhoyono’s stalling tactics let the Indonesian military cover their tracks,” said Paula Makabory, a Papuan human rights activist who founded the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights in Australia. “The ‘fact finders’ under his command systematically intimidated witnesses and tampered with material evidence,” Makabory continued.

Following high-level negotiations with Bush administration officials, who promised Indonesia millions in military aid, Yudhoyono allowed the FBI into his country. "By the time the FBI were granted access the trail was cold," said Makabory. “The FBI investigation proceeded within a narrow framework that fit the Bush administration agenda,” said Dr. Kirksey.

The Special Agents found a fall man, while tiptoeing around evidence connecting their man to the Indonesian military,” Kirksey added.

Antonius Wamang, an ethnic Papuan, was indicted by a U.S. grand jury for his role in the attack. He was apprehended in 2006 by the FBI and sentenced to life in Indonesian prison. Wamang had extensive ties to the Indonesian military, according to a peer-reviewed article, Criminal Collaborations,” co-authored by Dr. Kirksey and Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian investigative reporter (link below).

The declassified documents disclosed today were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) by Dr. Bradley Simpson of the National Security Archive. The State Department found 62 documents relevant to the Timika murders. They released only two of these documents in full and 20 others “with excisions.” The rest were withheld. The FBI did not release any documents, writing: “No records responsive to your FOIA request were located by a search of the automated indices.” The FBI is notorious for not complying with Freedom of Information Act requests.

The documents reveal evidence of a cover-up,” said Dr. Kirksey. “The fact that many relevant documents were not released is more evidence of the same”

Selections from these documents are published here in seven distinct sections [links to the PDFs of the documents can be found here:

1) Response by the State Department and the FBI to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

2) Initial Reports About Attackers; Yudhoyono Orders a Quick Response The first State Department reports about the 2002 attack seriously entertained two theories: that the perpetrators were Papuan independence fighters (OPM guerillas) or rogue elements of the Indonesian military. The documents note that the assault took place on a foggy mountain road near a military checkpoint and an Army Strategic Reserve Forces post. Upon learning of the attack, Yudhoyono ordered a quick response to restore security and to investigate the attack.

The U.S. Embassy noted in a cable to Washington: ”Many Papuan groups are calling for an independent investigation led by the U.S. Calls for an independent probe are unrealistic, but we believe that Papua's Police Chief, who enjoys a good reputation with Papuan activists (and U.S.), can conduct a fair investigation.” The Police Chief’s investigation later indicated that the Indonesian military was involved. The FBI subsequently launched a separate probe.

3) Attack Victims Treated in Secrecy at Australian Hospital

The survivors of the assault were airlifted out of Indonesia to a hospital in Townsend, Australia. Here U.S. diplomats, the FBI, Queensland Police, and the Australian Defense Force kept a tight lid on the situation—preventing the victims from speaking with the press and even from contacting family members for the first two days. See: Tom Hyland, “Lost in the Fog,” The Age, September 28, 2008.

4) Yudhoyono Assumes Coordinating Role in Investigation

Following police reports of Indonesian military involvement, these documents reveal that Yudhoyono began to play a more active role in managing and influencing the direction of the investigation. Yudhoyono met repeatedly with the FBI field investigators, as well as high-level U.S. diplomats, blocking their initial attempts to gain unmediated access to witnesses and material evidence. This file includes a letter from Yudhoyono to the Charge D'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy where he outlines a strategy for managing the broader political and security aspects of the incident.

5) Commander-In-Chief Concerned About Washington Post Interview

The Washington Post reported in 2002 that senior Indonesian military officers, including armed forces commander General Endriartono Sutarto, had discussed an unspecified operation against Freeport McMoRan before the ambush in Timika. General Sutarto vehemently denied that he or any other top military officers had discussed any operation targeting Freeport. He sued The Washington Post for US$1 billion and demanded an apology from the paper. Several months after this lawsuit was settled out of court, The Washington Post asked to interview Sutarto. This document contains notes from a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador and Commander-in-Chief Sutarto where this interview request was discussed: “Clearly concerned, General Sutarto asked why the Washington Post wanted to interview him, as well as TNI’s Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chiefs regarding the Timika case.” See: Ellen Nakashima and Alan Sipress “Indonesia Military Allegedly Talked of Targeting Mine,” The Washington Post, November 3, 2002.

6) Most Important Issue in U.S.-Indonesia Bilateral Relationship

The U.S. Ambassador stressed in a June 2003 meeting with Yudhoyono that justice in the Timika killings was “the most important issue in the bilateral relationship.” During this period, FBI agents were given intermittent access to evidence. Yudhoyono continued to play an active role in coordinating the political aspects of the investigation. Taking an unusual personal interest for someone with a Ministerial level position, Yudhoyono repeatedly met with the FBI case agents the low-ranking U.S. investigators who were deployed to Timika for field investigations.

7) Attorney General Ashcroft Suppressed Evidence

On June 24, 2005, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that Antonius Wamang, an ethnic Papuan, was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for the Timika murders. The indictment alleged that Wamang was a “terrorist” who sought independence from Indonesia. Following this announcement, three respected human rights groups and indigenous organizations charged that the U.S. Government suppressed evidence linking Wamang to the Indonesian military. A peer-reviewed article, titled “Criminal Collaborations: Antonius Wamang and the Indonesian Military in Timika,” details the nature of these links. The group called for Wamang to be given a fair trial in the U.S., rather than in notoriously corrupt Indonesian courts. See: Eben Kirksey and Andreas Harsono, “Criminal Collaborations,” South East Asia Research, vol 16, no 2.


John M. Miller Internet:
National Coordinator

East Timor & Indonesia Action Network
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile: (917)690-4391
Skype: john.m.miller Web:
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