Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Damned Don't Apologize (Ava and C.I.)

The story could have been about women. All week you read the most inane commentaries from people about how this bad thing was being said or that bad thing was being said and it was all so wrong, so wrong, so wrong. But if they could get off their "Needles and Pins," they might have noticed that it never had to be that way. It never had to be a story about 'bad' Muslims or other Islamophobic nonsense. The answer was always right in front of them but they never saw it and, for many, the reason they never saw it is because they don't value women.

Tuesday, CBS News issued a news release about reporter Lara Logan's attack and sexual assault in Egypt, note the second paragraph:

On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently home recovering.

Those supposedly so concerned that the story would be used to portray Muslims in a bad light (and so quick to render the population of Egypt as 100% Muslim, which it is not) should have seized upon what stopped the attack: Egyptian women. Unarmed Egyptian women saw another woman under assault and with no personal knowledge of or relationship to the woman, they stood up to a mob, they stood up to a mob before the soldiers arrived, they said very loudly "NO!" putting themselves at risk.

Assuming that the woman were all Muslims (the way so many on the left rushed in to assume the men were all Muslims), that's not a story to bury. That's a story that unites, not divides. They weren't concerned about who Lara Logan was, they weren't concerned about what country she was a citizen of, they certainly weren't concerned with something as trivial and victim blaming as what she was wearing or what she was doing there. Their concern was that another woman was being assaulted. And they refused to stand for it. Those are some amazing women.

Heroic to be sure, especially when compared with the reactions of a lot of Americans to the news. Unlike the Egyptian women, they weren't risking harm when they reacted to the news. But while the women rushed to the aid of another woman, in the United States we instead saw a lot of people rush to condemn the woman.

Though some on the right tried to spin it as Muslims Behaving Badly and some on the left -- by their own responses -- clearly believed that, this was actually a case of Americans behaving badly.

Now some of you will be disappointed and may be tempted to e-mail and say, "Ava and C.I., you forgot the right wing!" We're not interested in the right wing. There's a woman who attacked Lara Logan at a blog, we thought she was just a blogger. We now know her name is Debbie something (something with an S) and we know that only because a friend insisted we had to include her and we finally stopped him after five minutes and informed him that, if he kept repeating that woman's name, it would be lodged in our minds and we'd prefer not to have it. We don't read the right wing, we don't watch Fox News. Debbie Whatever Her Name is wrote whatever she wrote for the audience that usually reads her. We do not have time to become an expert on Debbie Whatever Her Name and we don't write about what we don't know. If we don't watch, we can't review you, it's that basic.

Equally true, if you want to make a pie chart, you've got the left and you've got the right and you've got the middle. The left and right both want to influence the middle, they both want the middle to Red Rover it over to their side. If factions on the right want to embrace intolerance, then they'll reveal themselves to a public that will recoil and won't need prodding from the left to do that. By the same token, if the left can't get its own act in order, it's never going to appeal to the middle.

Our concern is the left and the middle. And let's start with the lesser lights, the tiny stars. Like Ashleigh Banfield. Last week, Banfield showed up on Anderson Cooper's 360 and declared of a man who charged Lara Logan deserved to be sexually assaulted that she (Banfield) didn't want to sit in judgment on him and let-he-who-is-without-sin -- blah, blah, blah. A lot of garbage flying out of her mouth.

Why do we say that?


A man says Lara Logan is sexually assaulted and a man -- a journalist -- says she deserved to be sexually assaulted and Banfield doesn't want to wade in?

Hey, Ash, who was it that declared this in a campus speech, "He was so taken aback that he chose to label me as a slut on the air. And that's not all, as a porn star."

Yeah, that was you.


Yeah, you rode that pony into town and back again, you gave interview after interview explaining how unfair that was to you. And now, when a man says of a woman who was sexually assaulted that she had it coming, that she deserved it, you're not going to weigh in?

You're not a woman, Ashleigh.

You're a little girl. You got a lot of wrinkles and a lot of miles on the face, but you're a little girl nonetheless because women don't take a pass when someone says anyone deserved to be sexually assaulted. That's a chicken s**t response and no adult woman would do that. Just little girls still seeking Daddy's approval via various men.

Various men and various farm animals. The Pig Danny Schechter. As Elaine pointed out, Danny Schechter Anal Sphincter did run CBS' announcement but felt the need to add: "Note: More than 100 journalists were attacke[sic] by forces loyal to Hosni Mubarak." He needed that little editorial statement cause he's not in the news business. The mere thought that any man he'd been cheer leading for weeks now might have done a sexual assault was too much for Danny. In his world, sexual assault is only done by 'bad guys' on the right. Rather strange considering the number women who talk about their experiences -- their unpleasant experiences -- at Media Channel.

Ruth found it strange too -- how to note Logan, he had to editorialize but, later in the week, when noting an attack on ABC News' Miguel Marquez, he felt no need to editorialize.

Women didn't matter to Danny, just the men, just the Egyptian men. Now Egyptian women took part in the weeks of protests as well but they don't matter to him: Women are to be disrespected. In fact, we believe Danny needle-pointed that motto on a pillow in Media Channel's waiting lobby.

No one disrespected Egyptian women or Lara Logan or the victims of sexual assault more than Nir Rosen. And you know it was big news on the left because everyone on the left ignored the topic so determinedly it was as though Spencer Ackerman re-activated JournoList and told everyone, "If we don't say anything, it will kill the story!" (Actually, it was Rosen himself who sent out an e-mail asking his media buddies to ignore the story.)

Nir Rosen -- published by so many sexist outlets on the left.

There's The Nation that didn't even want to address the gross gender imbalance in their bylines until we did the study on how few women they published. (In fact, they attempted to stop publication of that article here by insisting they were about to hire women bloggers so the story wasn't even news anymore.)

There's Harper's Magazine which is infamous for not publishing women and for hiring people like Luke Mitchell (now gone) who insisted that Keith Olbermann's on air sexism should never be called out because the left needed him on TV too much. People like Luke Mitchell say "the left" but really mean "men on the left." (We believe Luke and Danny are attempting to start their own MenOnTheLeft website similar to MenOnTheNet.)

Then there's In These Times which likes to boast that they publish Susan J. Douglas, a feminist. She's their token, if you haven't noticed. Susan's a good writer but, did you notice, Susan didn't weigh in. She's a media critic. A journalist is sexually assaulted, another journalist publicly says she deserved it and Susan J. Douglas doesn't weigh in?

Then there's The Progressive. Home of 'feminist' Matthew Rothschild. The Progressive which has now run not one but two attacks on The Kids Are Alright because, surely, a strong film with positive portrayals of a lesbian couple is the most outrageous film of the year, right?

You know where The Kids Are Alright came in on the top 100 box office hits of 2010? Answer: It didn't. There were 100 films that were seen more than the independent art house film and not one of them got slammed by The Progressive once, let alone twice. (Disclosure: We're working the party circuit lobbying for Annette Benning as Best Actress, Mark Ruffalo as Best Supporting Actor and Lisan Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for Best Screenplay; one of us can vote in the Academy Awards -- C.I. -- and they have her votes.)

'Feminist' Matthew Rothschild was tickled in 2008 by a group against Hillary whose initials formed the C-word, he was so tickled that The Progressive linked to The Weekly Standard. We're not sure whether hell froze over but our own blood certainly boiled over. More recently 'feminist' Matthew Rothschild's gone after Charlie Sheen. January 15, 2011, Matthew Rothschild 'discovered' -- in his Christopher Columbus way -- that there might be something amiss. Oh, Matthew.

Who in the world do you think that you are fooling?
Well I've already done everything that you are doing
"Two Kinds Of Love," written by Stevie Nicks, Rick Nowels and Rupert Hine, first appears on Stevie's The Other Side Of The Mirror

July 10, 2005, we noted here:

We're not sure what's going to kill the show first, the loss of a lead-in to hand viewers to them or the fact that Sheen's offscreen antics may no longer have the buffer of Denise Richards. Probably not a good idea to build a "family sitcom" (no matter how leering) around a man more famous in the nineties as a client of Heidi Fleiss than for anything he did onscreen. In fact his rap sheet is far more impressive than his filmography. Let's just deal with the most recent "hits:" Arrested for assault in 1996, arrested for battery in 1997, hospitalized for an overdose in 1998 and fresh off probation as the decade began, Sheen's colorful, not so distant past may have blotted away memories of the zombie walk through performances of Major League II, Terminal Velocity, The Arrival and the lot but they didn't make him a good actor.
How much does CBS want to get behind this show now that Swinging Sheen is single again? How much are they willing to stake the network's future on it?

And, by the way, Matthew, what we've listed? You left all of it out as you attempted to hop on your high horse and pretend you gave a damn about women while castigating Charlie Sheen. Seems to us if you gave a damn about domestic violence, you would have known and included the arrests we did above. But last month, we'll give you some credit, you did want to strike a pose that you thought assaulting women was wrong.So progressive of you!!!! (If this were 1711 and not 2011.) By contrast last week, you never wrote a damn word about Nir Rosen, now did ya? Nor did you write about the military sexual assault lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates.

In fact, we saw a pattern, didn't we? The same people who refused to write about Nir Rosen also refused to cover the lawsuit.

They're such rarefied flowers, our 'men' on the left, that tackling something as heavy as sexual assault might make them wilt right there on the veranda beside their mint julep tea.

Most of us long ago learned the lesson of The Little Red Hen -- meaning, as usual, the heavy lifting last week was left to the women. For example, it was Julie Gerstein (New York magazine) who observed of Nir Rosen's many alleged apologies last week, "And yet, in all the tweets, essays and interviews, Rosen has yet to come across and truly contrite and apologetic. Maybe he should use some of his new-found free time to work on that."

Nir Rosen did nothing but lie and lie repeatedly all last week. Everything was a lie and except for Anderson Cooper and Julie Gerstein, few bothered to challenge his lies. Salon's Joan Walsh, appearing on Anderson's CNN show declared she wasn't going to call Nir a liar. If they make a movie out of all this, someone be sure to dig Margaret Hamilton out of the grave because we'd argue she's already done an excellent job portraying Joan in 1935's Way Down East and 1940's My Little Chickadee.

Rosen's most basic lie, that he was never called on, was his claim Feb. 15th -- on Twitter -- at 11:45 PM that, "i am done tweeting. too ashamed of how i have hurt others and the false impression i gave of who i am." Ahhh. But he wasn't too ashamed to "make one last statement" and then another and another and, oh look, "An interview with me about all this" and more and more and "my thoughts on this:[. . .]" February 15th he claimed he was done with Twitter yet, while making his non-stop media rounds explaining how he'd been wronged, he was still Tweeting.

He went on Anderson Cooper's program and made a point to look tired and unshaven, thinking that would help with sympathy. Only made him look shiftless. He told a big lie that night, swearing that when he was Tweeting, he had no idea Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted, he 'just' thought she'd been beat up. Anderson wasn't buying it. Anderson pointed out that Rosen also tweeted that Logan was trying to one-up Anderson and that clearly referred to the fact that Anderson was roughed up covering Egypt.

Nir lied that he didn't know what happened to Anderson.

Anderson then pointed out that in his first Tweet on the matter, he linked to CBS' two paragraph statement (quoted at the start of this piece) which clearly noted Logan was sexually assaulted. Nir lied and claimed he never read it. Yes, he linked to it, but he never read it.

We couldn't stop laughing at that point. Here was a journalist so determined to lie that he would claim he posted multiple statements publicly on an issue he couldn't even be bothered with reading two paragraphs on. We're not seeing publishers already nervous about Rosen's attacks on Logan growing confident from his claim that he weighs in before getting the facts.


His Twitter feed contains some of what he wrote. Some. We have a forwarded e-mail from a friend of Nir Rosen's bragging that he was the one who told "Nir to keep Tweeting" because doing so would wipe out the cached copy. See, that's what got Nir Rosen in trouble. He deleted his comments from Twitter and initially tried to act like they never existed. But the cached version of his site displayed it. He needed to post more Tweets, the e-mail explained, to kick the ones about Lara on down so that a cached of the website wouldn't include those. (And clicking on "more" in the cached version wouldn't produce a copy of the deleted Tweets.)

We first heard about his Tweets when an MSNBC reporter called us and told us to check out Jim Geraghty's piece at National Review. In that piece, Geraghty provides screen snaps of the comments Rosen Tweeted. We're editing the f-word and "Jesus Christ" is used as a swear (strange choice for Rosen to invoke since he's Jewish) so we're editing that out. Otherwise we aren't editing anything. We're listing the Tweets in the order they went up and when you see a Tweet with "*" around it, that means it is a Tweet he deleted (to make himself look better, not to show courtesy to Lara Logan).

1) * lara logan had to outdo anderson. where was her buddy mccrystal.*

2) * yeah that was insensitive but i cant forgive her for taking mcchrystal's side against michael hastings, or for her 'quite professionals'*

3) * @joshuafoust it sort of depends who it happens to sometimes we have to find humor in the small things*

4) * yes yes its wrong what happened to her of course i don't support that, but it would have been funny if it happened to anderson too*

5) * yes i agree with all you stalwart moral heroes, of course its wrong to beat and sexually assault somebody, obviously, but still*

6) * incidentally, it seems like this happened to quite a few women, foreign and egyptian on friday in tahir square*

7) *@cadid no i wasnt saying that. she's famous of course it will get more reported. i was making a separate observation*

8) * @joshuafoust i wasn't excusing it. its wrong. i just think she's so bad that i ran out of sympathy for her.*

9) * @Tortured_Verse on my god now somebody wants to defend anderson cooper? risking his life? lets not be too dramatic here*

10) @Winterpool not really, its terrible, but you had millions of people on the street, its not exactly shocking

11) @joshuafoust now that wasn't nice

12) @joshuafoust look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than i'm sorry

13) @joshuafoust my wife didnt dedicate her career to promoting america's wars

14) j***s c***st, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger

15) ah f**k it, i apologize for being insensitive, its always wrong, thats obvious, but i'm rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get

16) and as a result of that i hope people remember her role glorifying war and condemning rolling stone's hasings while defending mcchrystal

Joshua Foust was one of the people calling out Nir Rosen. His Tweets aren't public but what he was doing was calling out Rosen and bringing up the sexual assault. Rosen lied about not knowing that Lara was sexually assaulted when he linked to the CBS new release. But for the cowardly idiots like Joan Walsh, please note that by Tweet 3, Joshua Foust has called him out, by Tweet 4 he's saying it would be funny if Anderson Cooper was sexually assaulted, by Tweet 5 he's using the term "sexually assaulted" himself. And yet for 11 more Tweets he will ridicule her, he will say Lara doesn't deserve any sympathy over the sexual assault and will maintain she had it coming.

Not being cowards like Joan Walsh or Ashleigh Banfield, we can say it and will say it: Nir Rosen's a damn liar.

Anderson Cooper was one of the few men who distinguished themselves last week on this issue. Two others were our own Cedric and Wally who wrote "Nir Rosen continues his non-apology tour" and "THIS JUST IN! THE NON-APOLOGY APOLOGY!" (joint-post). As they noted, it wasn't an apology. The closest it came to being one was on CNN when Anderson refused to play dumb. Even there, Nir Rosen's body language and affect made clear his reaction was "So what?" (Maybe "So f**king what?")

That was Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, he was even less 'sorry.' There he was telling NYU Local: "I think certainly my tweets have been unfairly attacked and blown out of proportion. [. . .] I find the reactions sanctimonious and silly."

Does that sound like an apology for what he wrote? No, it doesn't.

Unless you're a liar or an idiot like Joan Walsh who insisted, "Rosen has since apologized everywhere imaginable, including in the pages of Salon"! What Joan wanted to lie about, Maureen Dowd (New York Times) addressed today, "He apologized in a whiny way, explaining that he 'resented' Logan because she 'defended American imperial adventures,' and that she got so much attention for the assault because she’s white and famous. He explained in Salon that 'Twitter is no place for nuance,' as though there’s any nuance in his suggestion that Logan wanted to be sexually assaulted for ratings."

In her bad column Friday, Joan used a lot of bad words. None of them, however, told readers how much Salon's paid Nir Rosen over the years or how much they paid him for the non-apology piece Joan was praising in her column.

It's not a minor issue. He's in deep trouble for writing offensive things and readers have a right to know how much money you paid him for his most recent piece as well as for previous ones.

In his Salon piece, he continued his lies that he didn't realize Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted, then he quickly launched into an attack on Jeffrey Goldberg -- which had no reason to be in the Salon piece -- and claimed his enemies (Goldberg, Michael Totten, Lee Smith and Jim Geraghty) were using his Tweets against him and trying "to further their careers."

Who's the victim again? Reading his Salon piece, it's Saint Nir being crucified. If you miss that point, he's soon attacking Lara Logan again:

Had Logan been a non-white, non-famous journalist, this story would have never made it to the news. Ahmed Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist, was killed in cold blood and nobody ever heard of him. Dozens of other women were harassed and nobody will ever know their names. Credible accounts indicate that the assaults on women took place largely on the Friday of the victory celebration, when millions of non-demonstrators joined the party.

Lara Logan is a famous journalist. Of course an attack on her will be news. But she didn't court it. She didn't beg her friends to help her the way Nir Rosen did in an e-mail that was forwarded to us. It's really funny that he wants to decry the fame that Lara has as unfair when he's using his own media connections in an attempt to bury the story.

As for no one knowing the other women's names?

Nir Rosen, you were supposed to be a journalist. At any time you could have ensured that the women's names were known by reporting. But, just as you didn't celebrate the women who saved Lara Logan, you didn't lament the women who were also victimsof sexual assault.

As he types and types, you begin to feel as though you're trapped not in a Joan Crawford film, but in a Joan Crawford movie marathon. You keep waiting for Nir Rosen to brush some flour off his shoulder pads, pull some pies out of the oven and snarl, "Get out of here, Veda, before I kill you," then launch into a number from Torch Song, give a nod to a choice quote from Female On The Beach such as, "You're about as friendly as a suction pump," and finish up by barking, "Don't talk to me about self-respect. That's something you tell yourself you got when you got nothing else," from The Damned Don't Cry.

He comes mighty close in his Salon piece: "So why all the focus on Logan? [. . .] Only when pretty white people showed up did Egypt really start to matter, and then, they were preoccupied with the scary Muslim Brotherhood possibly taking over, or what would happen to poor Israel now that there was a 'threat' of democracy in Egypt. This is why I wrote in a Twitter that I was already rolling my eyes. Even before we knew what happened to her, I knew how to anticipate the media response in the United States. So Logan and Anderson Cooper have become the story [. . .] I really have been outraged by Logan's stories in the past, which I feel have defended American imperial adventures that cost the lives of many thousands of people in the Middle East, glorified American special forces even while they were killing innocent Afghans, and praised Gen. Stanley McChrystal, while condemning her own colleague, Michael Hastings, of Rolling Stone (because he hadn't served his country, she said). My resentment of Logan was because I felt she was a terrible journalist who supported wars that I had covered. [. . .] I also don't think this would have become such a story if I were not a leftist opponent of American wars (even the Washington Post stressed my 'pro-Palestinian and pro-Arab political views') [. . .] But every creep I skewered or outraged in public now has the chance at a cheap revenge."

And on and on it goes.

Oh, the drama.

Oh, the melodrama.

It's all so camp we need to get Todd Haynes in for Nir's close up.

There is no apology, only Nir Rosen climbing the cross over and over to portray himself as the victim. As least Joan Crawford did it with a little sparkle.

Brad Phillips (Mr. Media Training) caught another aspect to the non-apologies:

In an interview with Fishbowl DC today, Rosen made at least two more mistakes. He said: "Like many men, I made a tasteless joke, more than tasteless of course, deeply offensive and hurtful when perceived to be sincere or when read by victims." Instead of taking full responsibility, he lumped himself in with other men, hoping to inoculate himself from criticism. He also blamed misinterpretations on people who "perceived" his words "to be sincere."

And, of course, a number of men lumped themselves in with him because they did see themselves in him and didn't see anything really wrong with what he did. Take Thomas E. Ricks. What journalist would 'grapple' with the 'dilemma' of whether or not to continue highlighting a journalist (Nir Rosen) who verbally attacks and mocks another journalist (Lara Logan) who was hurt, attacked, assaulted while doing their job?

Why Thomas E. Ricks of course.

Thomas E. Ricks who wants to act as though Nir Rosen just told a dirty joke in mixed company when, in fact, he voiced the very thoughts that allow sexual assaults and rape to flourish in this culture -- the notion that the victim had it coming because of something s/he did.

This is the same Thomas E. Ricks, blogging at Foreign Policy magazine's website who thinks it is okay to post photos of nude women there. And that's why we don't have time for the right wing. They'll have to police their own. The left and the mainstream are screwed up enough as evidenced by the excuses and silences offered last week
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