The Media

Both Sides Are Waging a War Against Women?

Of course they're not -- but Hilary Rosen's remarks yesterday about Mrs. Romney's decision to stay home with the Romney kids have given the press an excuse to say both sides are at war against women.

Yes, Republican laws in dozens of states telling women what they can and can't do with their reproductive organs is exactly the same as Hilary Rosen's one offhanded statement on CNN which she has since retracted.

The desperation by the press to not seem lopsided, even though the world is very lopsided, is forcing them to manufacture balance. And that means creating news where there is no news -- to give more weight to inconsequential things while, concurrently, diminishing very consequential things. It's truly shameful. Both sides are not the same. Events do not have equal and opposite points. The world is messy, and the truth is not evenly distributed among every player on the political stage.

If you're a member of the press and you're involved in this fabrication of reality, you're hurting America. And you look like an idiot on television. Stop it.

Adding... While we're here, thanks for nothing, Hilary Rosen.

On CNN Wednesday night, Rosen claimed Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” as part of a criticism of Romney’s claim to know what average American women want from their president. The Obama campaign immediately condemned the comments and the DNC chair called them “disappointing.”

  • Chachizel

    This shit pisses me off! I don’t care what they say, a WEALTHY woman who “chooses” to stay home to raise 5 kids is NOT the same as a poor or middle class woman who has 5 kids because she can’t afford birth control, who probably does not have the luxury to “choose” to be a stay at home Mom. If she is somehow able to be able to stay home, there is NO way that Ann Romney can relate to the problems that this woman would have. Forget 5 kids, even if it’s only one. Not to mention that Ann probably has nannies and maids and butlers, etc., etc. It is NOT the same.
    And… I don’t even feel that Rosen was even necessarily criticizing Mrs Romney as much as she was criticizing her clown husband for using her as a surrogate for his campaign because it is SO obvious that he has NO empathy for the poor and middle class women in this country. Then…Ms Rosen apologized for her “misstatement”, and they still won’t let it go. RIDICULOUS. NO, both sides are NOT the same. You’re exactly right Bob, the world is lopsided

  • muselet

    The horse has already bolted, but for what it’s worth, here’s my transcription of Hilary Rosen’s complete response (edited lightly to remove false starts and the suchlike; also, I’m guessing where to break sentences because her response is basically three or four run-on sentences) to a question from Anderson Cooper:

    First, let us just get rid of this word “War on Women.” The Obama campaign does not use it, President Obama does not use it, this is something the Republicans are accusing people of using, but they’re really the ones spreading it.

    With respect to economic issues, I think, actually, that Mitt Romney’s right, that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their families and the like, but he doesn’t connect on that issue, either. What you have it Mitt Romney running around the country saying, “Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.”

    Guess what? His wife has never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids and how do we send them to school and why we worry about their future, so yes, it’s about these positions and yes, I think there will be a war of words about these positions, but there’s something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney because he seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women and I think that comes across and I think that’s going to hurt him over the long term, because he really doesn’t see us as equals.


  • nicole

    By the way, yesterday I was on Twitter watching the despicable pigs attacking FLOTUS for having servants, even though she stuck up for Ann Romney.
    I questioned how many stable hands are required to care for both Ann’s dressage horses, and Mitt’s foxtrotters, and quickly learned that they have 11 stable hands.



    • IrishGrrrl

      nicole, Good point! I’d love to know how many chefs they had/have, how many nannies (because you can’t make a person work day and night and they had houses in different parts of the country/world), how many gardeners, how many pool boys, etc, etc. The number of staff does add up and the amount that Miss Ann had to actually do would logically be reduced. The average SAH Mom cooks or buys every meal, cleans the pool, trims the bushes, watches the kids day and night except for date night (if they have one), is the chauffeur, etc, etc, etc.

      • nicole

        Yup. Couldn’t agree more, IG.

  • muselet

    ABC’s denser-than-neutronium White House Correspondent, Jake Tapper, made a meal of this story last night, saying at least twice in his two minutes that Hilary Rosen has “close ties” to the Obama White House.

    I waited with bated breath for an explanation of what “close ties” someone could have who (a) is not employed the administration, (b) is not employed by the Obama reelection campaign, (c) is not employed by the DNC, and (d) is employed full-time as a pundit on CNN. Unsurprisingly, no such explanation was forthcoming. Tapper simply repeated the assertion and moved on to telling a breathless world how terrible Rosen’s comment was for the Obama campaign.

    Peter Jennings is spinning in his grave.


    • nicole

      Tapper was just repeating the right wing spin because evidently he is too damn stupid to understand that it was just spin.

      God, I miss the hell out of Peter Jennings.

    • i_a_c

      In the end, it doesn’t really matter what Hilary Rosen said, because the Romney camp was gonna lie about it anyway, and the braindead Beltway Villagers were gonna repeat that lie verbatim.

  • nicole

    Hilary Rosen isn’t really to blame for this, Bob, although she probably wouldn’t have said it if she’d thought it through first.

    Ann Romney, whose husband seeks to deny choices to other women, made a choice to stay home with the Romney boys.

    Not only is it unlikely that they didn’t have a nanny and a housekeeper (at the very least), Ann Romney didn’t have to concern herself with how to raise her boys without health insurance. She didn’t have to raise those boys on $30 or $40k (or LESS) a year. She didn’t have to divide a quarter pound of meat between herself, one hungry man, and five hungry boys.

    And so forth.

    That is what Hilary Rosen meant. That Ann Romney’s life as a stay-at-home mom bears absolutely ZERO relationship to the life of the average SAH mom.

    The Republicans are just despicable human beings.

  • Robert

    Who is this Rosen woman and when was she appointed spokesperson for the President? Never? End of story.

    BTW – Did the Romney’s have a nanny? a housekeeper? If the answer is yes to one or both, I’d say Rosen was right.

    • stacib23

      Luke Russert got his ass handed to him yesterday by a spokesperson for the administration when he tried to insist on the role of Hillary Rosen to either the DNC or the Obama administration. Hell, that was worth the day off I took yesterday to see that smarmy, little snot get his.

    • IrishGrrrl

      Was listening to NPR yesterday and that’s the attitude they took in the story as if Rosen was some kind of spokesperson for Dems everywhere. I thought WTF, I have never heard of the woman much less think she represents the Pres or Dems!!!

      • nicole

        She’s a Dem strategist.

        • IrishGrrrl

          But what does that mean? If I don’t know I’m sure the average American won’t know. Is she someone who gets hired by candidates to help them get elected who when she isn’t on a campaign engages in punditry?

          • nicole

            I don’t know that much about her. I do know she has worked on the campaigns of Dems running for office.
            That she is a “strategist”, I think, would also lead you to assume that she’s a pundit.

            But, i don’t blame her at all for what happened, since Republicans took what she said and twisted it beyond recognition.
            She is a mom too, and she knows damn well that Ann Romney’s experience as an SAH is vastly different from that of most women. I believe that’s all she’s trying to say.

      • i_a_c

        She works for CNN. That’s who she represents.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Ann Romney is as much a stay at home mom as Queen Elizabeth is.

  • deacrick

    The GOP are slow learners.
    Back in 2008, many on the left were cringing at how McCain won every news cycle.
    How then Candidate Obama wouldn’t fight back. The man just kept on message and remained reasonable.
    It all came to head when the financial crisis hit and Obama was large and in charge and McCain was an old man on the porch yelling at the kids on his lawn.

    Mitt will crumble, the GOP base wants anger, Mitt will try but the President won’t take the bait. Mitt will amp up the volume and look like a loon.
    book it.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    I’d like to propose a corollary to the Brock/Rabin-Havt “Fox Effect.” The Rosen remark and Mitt Romney’s “92.3% of job losses” claim are examples of this.

    Step 1: Take an isolated, picayune, carefully-selected “fact,” [X], in a vacuum, out of context, etc., but one that is in a strict, technical sense “true.”

    Step 2: Start programming your audience to believe that [X] means [Y], or “proves” that [Y] is true, where [Y] is a broad or blanket characterization or meme about someone or some category of people, even though [X] is not in any reasonable sense direct evidence of [Y], or even circumstantial evidence of [Y].

    Step 3: Shift the emphasis from [X] to [Y], as your audience becomes more comfortable saying and believing [Y] since you’ve “proven” it by virtue of [X], until [Y] becomes the “fact” equivalent to, and ultimately replacing, [X].

    Step 4: Keep repeating [Y] and characterizing it as a “proven fact.”

    Glenn Beck was, and remains, an expert at this. When he had his show on Fox, his viewers would constantly tell me they believed everything he said, that all his absurd and grotesque characterizations of the President and others were “absolutely true,” they said, because, “he has the facts to back it up.” Every night he would show video or sound clip [X], tell his audience that it revealed, indicated, meant or proved [Y] (even though it didn’t), and proceeded as if [Y] was a proven fact although it was nothing of the sort. One of the characteristics of the conspiratorial or paranoid mind is this: When you want to believe something badly enough, everything proves it.

    When I was an English teacher, one of the things my students had the hardest time with was connecting evidence with conclusions, in either direction. They couldn’t find evidence in a text to support a conclusion, they couldn’t extrapolate a conclusion from the evidence in a text, they couldn’t determine whether an item of evidence supported or did not support a conclusion, was relevant or irrelevant to that conclusion; in some cases they couldn’t distinguish what constituted evidence from what constituted a conclusion. Granted, they were only high school underclassmen, but I really believe that not only is this never taught to anyone, most people are really not good at it. They are therefore highly susceptible to this Fox Effect Corollary; they can be convinced of anything as long as someone presents them with a “fact” that is “true” and tells them that fact “proves” it.

    • IrishGrrrl

      Graf, nice analysis! I keep coming back to the idea behind your statement:

      When you want to believe something badly enough, everything proves it.

      That’s the crux of it….they WANT to believe so they do. Why do they WANT to believe? Having gone round and round with it since 2008 it comes from prejudice….the predisposition that causes them to WANT to believe the negative thing FOX et al are pushing.

      • Guest

        Irish, at lot of us are scratching heads on that one. So far the best things I’ve read are Michael Shermer’s The Believing Brain, Corey Robin’s The Conservative Mind, and Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain.

        Seems to be a problem with two different thinking styles, one centering on fearful intuitions, the other on novelty seeking. Amygdala vs Forebrain cage match. And both thinking styles are exceptionally smart at cooking up “reasons” to justify their initial bias.

        Three points:
        1) Get a Liberal drunk, and you get a Conservative.
        2) Libs need to get over the notion that you can reason with a Conservative. Facts and Reality have no impact whatsoever, they are simply unable – or, to be charitable, unlikely – to change their minds. Chris Mooney starts his book with the tale of Condorcet. If you don’t read anything else, read that.
        3) The war on science is really gonna cripple us, as it’s pretty much the only proven method to sort things out between the two thinking styles.

        So now what do we do – the Jacobin solution gets pretty messy for both sides.

        • IrishGrrrl

          1) Get a Liberal drunk, and you get a Conservative.

          I disagree, get anyone drunk and you get a more uninhibited person who will give in to the urges that come from the “amygdala”. That doesn’t always make you conservative–it depends. If you get drunk and sleep with several people, you’re definitely NOT conservative!

          I do agree on pt # 3 and the fact that a “Jacobin solution” is too messy and should always be the LAST option.

          I think, what we do is get off our duff and fight back by joining school boards, advisory boards for educational purposes, write more textbooks that use the Scientific Method, support more pundits and news organizations that support our issues, vote, run for office, financially support the candidates that will get us closer to our goals (note I am not saying the candidate that will do everything you want them to and give you a $100 bill shitting unicorn), protest to make ourselves visible and if we don’t get news coverage, give ourselves online coverage, etc.

          We’ve been asleep for the last few decades and what has happened is the lizard brained conservatives have taken over the institutions that are most likely to sway people and as a result we will have to work very, very hard on a grassroots level for many years to turn it back around.

          Overall, we will never be able to stamp out the human tendency to cook up “reasons” to justify our initial bias but we can replace the buffer (i.e., Science and self-recognition that bias exists) that was there but lost.

          • Guest

            “If you get drunk and sleep with several people, you’re definitely NOT conservative!”

            Umm…I can think of numerous examples from the Evangelical and Republican camps that give the lie to that. Or does gay sex not count, somehow?

          • IrishGrrrl

            What I was trying to say is that a Liberal (like other humans) when they get drunk is more likely to sleep around, get into a fight, etc, etc (neither of which is considered “conservative” values) so the conclusion that they become more conservative (either in behavior or philosophy) is wrong….

          • Dan_in_DE

            Hey IG,

            we were just talking about this the other day though — a newly published study proposes that conservative positions result from “low-effort thinking”, after demonstrating that survey respondents were more likely to hold conservative political positions when they were drunk, distracted, or forced to answer with less time to think it over. Check it out here:

    • i_a_c

      Granted, they were only high school underclassmen, but I really believe that not only is this never taught to anyone, most people are really not good at it.

      People do not know how to do this. I am certain that I did not polish my understanding until university logic classes.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I tried to combat this problem by giving my students LSAT-style logic questions for homework; they had to answer the multiple-choice and explain their answer in a paragraph, and also explain why each wrong choice was wrong. Needless to say, some did better than others. Most really struggled with it.

        But, get this: I had one student in particular who got just about every one of them wrong for the first month or so of the school year. When the parent came in on Open School night, concerned about the child being upset and discouraged because she kept getting the answers wrong, the parent asked me something I swear I’ll never forget:

        “Isn’t logic just a matter of opinion?”

        Suppressing a spit-take, I said, “No, it is not. That’s the whole point; opinions are inherently illogical.”

        “Well,” he said, “can’t people disagree about what is logical?”

        Again, trying to remain calm, I said, “No, they can’t. Two plus two can only equal four. It’s not a matter of ‘agreement’ or ‘disagreement.’ There is only one correct answer to a logical problem.”

        “Well, I don’t agree with that,” he said, and that was the end of the conversation.

        Another scenario; the question was something like this:

        Sam handed in his essay to the County Schools Essay Contest. The judges disqualified Sam’s essay for breaking the contest rules. The rules stated clearly that the student’s name was only supposed to go on the cover page, so the judges would not know whose it was when they read the essay. Sam wrote his name on every page, which violated the rule. Nevertheless, Sam’s essay should not be disqualified because his parents recently got divorced and he has been very upset about it lately.

        What is the logical flaw in this response?

        The answer, obviously, is that it is an appeal to emotion rather than reason; it seeks to excuse Sam’s breaking the rule by explaining why he did it, and giving a reason (i.e., an excuse) that is entirely irrelevant to the rule or its purpose.

        One of my students chose the answer, paraphrasing, that the judges’ decision was not based on any supporting factual evidence. In her explanation she wrote, again paraphrasing, that he had a good reason for breaking the rule and may have had other good reasons as well that nobody mentioned, and added that “no one can tell him what to do with his name.”

        I think there’s a connection between narcissism and an inability to think logically or solve logical problems. This was a remarkable example of a much more prevalent problem; students gave the answer that felt right, that allowed them to empathize with someone as the victim of arbitrary meanness (like the fictional Sam in the question); viz., the right answer was the one that made them feel the best, not the one that made the most sense.

        • IrishGrrrl

          Suppressing a spit-take that would have been the least of it…..

          I’ve never understood that kind of thinking, even when I was a small child. I’m kind of a Spock-person though….stranger in a strange land. Must of felt like that for you Graf.

          • GrafZeppelin127

            Ohh, you have no idea. The incredible illogic and weapons-grade stupidity that go into running schools these days, drove me right out of the profession. Some things in some schools are so completely backwards and counter-intuitive that one wonders how kids ever learn anything.

        • i_a_c

          That’s pretty enlightening. Thinking back on my high school days, I believe we only got a little bit of logic training in a required speech class for sophomores. I don’t think we did appropriate exercises to develop that kind of thinking. Just “match the word with its definition” kind of stuff.

          So no, I don’t think there is an understanding of what logic really is, let alone how to apply it. I would say that not nearly enough is done in our education system to teach students how to think objectively. “Does the evidence support the conclusions?” is a very fundamental question, but maybe not a trivial one either, as it requires people to think abstractly.

      • IrishGrrrl


  • eljefejeff

    this is such a bullshit story, and I believe it will be a nonfactor in November because the average American voter won’t fall for it. And this is probably an overgeneralization, but stay at home moms are probably more likely to be conservatives anyway, at least the 2 that I know are. I don’t even know what’s offensive in what she said. I don’t get offended that people don’t put me in the ‘2 jobs’ category because I work and raise a family. We all know what Rosen meant.

    Fortunately, this story will die because it isn’t part of a larger trend by progressives to erode women’s rights.

    • stacib23

      This “story” is making me more aggravated than some of the bullshit contraceptive stuff. I’m no Hillary Rosen fan, but what she said, in context, was absolutely true. Ann Romney doesn’t have a clue what it’s like to live the life of the average mother who is struggling just to get to the next paycheck. It’s even more bullshit for the media to disparage people for being distracted by shiny objects, as they’re breaking their arms waving shit around while yelling “hey, look at this”.

      • IrishGrrrl

        stacib, I thought the same thing. I mean, being a stay at home mom whose family struggles from paycheck to paycheck versus being a stay at home mom whose family is filthy rich is an incredibly different experience. So yeah, I’m calling bullshit on this story too.

        • Brutlyhonest

          You’re both spot on. I can’t believe the way democrats have handled this. Actually, I can because it’s what they always do: let the asshats frame the discussion then, rather than call them on their BS, wail and gnash teeth while abandoning the person being maligned. FFS dems stop the sniveling and throw the BS flag when it’s appropriate.

          Outside the vacuum of the teevee news spin-cycle, Rosen never maligned stay-at-home moms; she, correctly, stated that ann romney is not qualified to give economic advice to anyone.

          Also, too: are mormon women allowed to speak without permission?

          • IrishGrrrl

            I am drafting a blog post about it because no one is being brave enough to say out loud that Ann Romney is not like the average stay at home mother and nobody is addressing the fact that Rosen was mostly right (her phrasing could have been better tho).

          • stacib23

            ABL and wilbur both did great posts on this over at Raw Story. It’s worth a read.

      • pgeorge

        Not only does Ann Romney not understand the broad economic arguments relative to most women, she doesn’t understand the health care issues. Her experience of breast cancer with dressage as mental and physical therapy is like a made-for-TV movie where terminal illness means going to a beach house to die beautifully. Keith Olbermann understood that the pain he went through during his father’s death – with plenty of quality insurance – was NOT the level of pain that most people experience, dealing not just with grief but with overwhelming bills and lack of physical help.

        And “not speaking about the candidate’s spouse” ends when that spouse gets up to speak for the candidate.