Nuzzi bursting the false equivalency bubble

Far be it from me to note the superficial and inconsequential, but when I see Fluke I think more “chaste librarian” than raging “slut.”

By Olivia Nuzzi

The Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh drama has succeeded in sparking a national debate about false equivalency in the media. Of course, things like sexism and misogyny exist on both the right and left. But on which side is it worse? And on which side – if any – is it fundamental? 

In a piece posted here yesterday, Art Gallagher attacked “misogynists lefties” whom he admitted he had “never heard of” until The Daily Beast’s Kristen Powers brought them to his attention. Though, not knowing about these media figures didn’t stop Gallagher from blindly agreeing with Powers that they were “misogynists.” 

I have a big problem with anyone making a diagnosis from a distance. Is Rush Limbaugh a misogynist? I suppose to figure that out you’d have to talk to his mother and four wives. 

Does Rush Limbaugh say misogynistic things, and has he done so consistently throughout his career? From his claim that having “two or three abortions” is a part of a feminist “paying her dues” to his cracks about First Lady Michelle Obama’s figure, the evidence isn’t difficult to find. 

However, none of that means that Limbaugh is without insight. And liberals who nod in agreement with the establishment left – conceding that he’s a mere useless blowhard – are not doing themselves any favors. 

Limbaugh is right on occasion – there are indeed militant feminists, and what they espouse is arguably as harmful as Mel Gibson calling your daughter “sugar tits.” Admitting that doesn’t mean that I’m not a feminist, it means I’m not an ideological imbecile (though the readers on this website may disagree.) 

The assertion that “lefties” are never reprimanded for their sexist or racist remarks may read as accurate if you live in a bubble. Evidently, Gallagher’s bubble hasn’t yet been punctured by reality on this topic.

Last May, MSNBC host and converted-liberal, Ed Schultz, was suspended by the network after calling Laura Ingraham a “right wing slut” on his radio program. I condemned that statement, as did every one from Alyssa Rosenberg from the left-wing Think Progress, to the Women’s Media Center’s President Julie Burton, to Keith Olbermann – that’d be one of those “misogynists lefties” Gallagher had “never heard of.”

In 2008, the National Organization for Women (NOW) circulated a petition, protesting MSNBC host Chris Matthews’ “record of ‘overt sexism when discussing women.'” They based this claim on research conducted by the known-liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America. The left-leaning NOW denounced Matthews for “sexist comments” made about Hillary Clinton, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the female correspondents who he worked with at MSNBC.

Also in 2008, MSNBC suspended Tucker Carlson’s guest-host David Shuster for suggesting that the Clinton campaign had “pimped out” Chelsea Clinton. 

The late, great Christopher Hitchens was often the subject of liberal rage for his alleged sexism in the form of observations such as “Mrs. Clinton, looking like the dog being washed” and assessments of that same target as being “flagrant, hysterical, repetitive and pathological lying.” One of Hitchens’ later works, a Vanity Fair piece entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny” saw him denounced as “sexist” by Mediaite’s Rachel Sklar and comedian Sarah Silverman. 

In 2010, liberal hero Michael Moore, along with noted feminist author Naomi Wolfe, was the subject of a left-wing protest labeled “Moore and Me.” After making comments deemed “insensitive” regarding rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and offering to post his  $20,000 bail, Moore was declared a “rape apologist.” Also smeared with the label was Naomi Wolfe, who – along with Moore and a handful of others – refused to condemn and dismiss Assange by virtue of the unclear rape allegations made against him. 

And should you be under the impression that those on the left are only castigated when they’re criticizing fellow liberals, you’re mistaken.

Keith Olbermann has come under fire numerous times from the liberal and feminist establishments for his bombastic remarks about conservative women. In 2009, Olbermann was called out by the left-wing Air America’s editor of news and politics, Megan Carpentier, for “belittling” Malkin’s voice with his impersonation of her. Carpentier went on to suggest that Olbermann’s attack relied on “silly stereotypes” and “imagery that brings to mind victims of domestic violence.” 

This past November, Bill Maher – another one of those “misogynists lefties” Gallagher had “never heard of” – was scolded by feminists after he made a joke about the detention of CBS’s Lara Logan, wherein he suggested that America would be willing to send Elisabeth Hasselbeck to Egypt in exchange for the safe return of the foreign correspondent. 

The Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh episode is a unique one, mainly because Sandra Fluke is not a public figure. Limbaugh did not simply take a one-shot at a commentator – he used his platform as the loudest voice in radio to verbally batter a civilian for days. 

Far be it from me to note the superficial and inconsequential, but when I see Fluke I think more “chaste librarian” than raging “slut.” Not to mention, Fluke’s testimony itself had nothing to do with sex. Which leads me to believe that Limbaugh didn’t even bother to listen to her speak – and perhaps he didn’t even bother to look at her. Had he done so, he would’ve witnessed a civil woman discuss a friend who paid, out of pocket, for the birth control pills she was prescribed to treat a medical condition. 

It’s true that both the liberal and conservative movements have leaders, followers and mouthpieces who often thoughtlessly employ incendiary rhetoric. But it’s also true that those with sharp tongues on both sides of the aisle face consequences. 

Unfortunately for ideologues, more people are governed by their sense of Right and Wrong than Right and Left. 

Olivia Nuzzi was briefly a MMM contributor until Dan Jacobson’s triCityNews lured her away with money and colorful language. We’re glad to have her back, even if only to set us straight.

Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Art Gallagher, Media, misogyny, Olivia Nuzzi, Sandra Fluke, sexism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments »

28 Comments on “Nuzzi bursting the false equivalency bubble”

  1. Olivia's kind of hot said at 8:39 am on March 6th, 2012:

    The difference, sweetheart, is that the Today Show, the NBC Evening News, etc. did not cover the criticisms of Olberman et al for days, leading to advertisers pulling dollars and jeopardizing the careers, such as they are, of those commentators.

    But I still think you’re cute.

  2. ArtGallagher said at 8:48 am on March 6th, 2012:

    I’ve heard of Bill Maher. Even saw him perform at Rascal’s in West Orange when he was a mere Jersey Guy.

  3. MLaffey said at 9:54 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Why do we care what any of these people on the right or the left say? They are not serious political commentators. Unfortunately that is a dying breed. They are really entertainers making outrageous comments and engaging in hyperbole to increase their ratings and make more money. Meanwhile we all get sidetracked from the real issues arguing about whether someone is or is not a misogynist

  4. Sonja Blade said at 10:17 am on March 6th, 2012:

    A very well written article from a truly intelligent young woman. Political commentators love to take soundbytes and exploit them, which is dangerous in this day, considering all anyone has the attention span for is a soundbyte of a soundbyte.

  5. Ronald Reagan said at 10:35 am on March 6th, 2012:

    I’m sorry, but since when did Art post articles from true bigots?

    I guess today. Here is a twitter post from this author on Ash Wednesday of this year:

    “I like Ash Wednesday because the silly people are marked.”

    Supposed she said, “I like Yom Kippur because all the silly people don’t go to work and are busy forgiving everyone.”

    Or, “I like the dots on Indian people’s head because now I can just be kind to the rich people.”

    Or, “I like turbans because I now tell who all the terrorists are.”

    You get the point. This woman is worse than an idiot or a slut, she’s an f’ing bigot.

    Besides that, she doesn’t even understand the definition of public figure and now been outed at a anti-Catholic bigot.

    While she might see Sandra Fluke as a chaste librarian ( who somehow needs birth control – maybe for her acne problem {re: sarcasm}) the rest of us actually will do some research on her and find out she is a lefty activist who proposed that greatest bigotry was defined by insurance companies not paying for sex changes.


    Com’on Art, we can do better than this intellectual neophyte knocking on the door of religious persecution.

  6. Ronald Reagan said at 10:39 am on March 6th, 2012:


  7. It just keeps getting better said at 10:50 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Olivia as a homophobe:

    Olivia Nuzzi ‏ @Olivianuzzi

    Even when my hair is literally on fire it’s not as gay as Rick Perry’s.

    Olivia mocking Tea Party members:

    Olivia Nuzzi ‏ @Olivianuzzi

    Rape is never funny. However in fairness, I imagine there’s never been a rape at a Tea Party rally because no attendees can get it up.

    On some derogatory comment about CPAC attendees:

    Olivia Nuzzi ‏ @Olivianuzzi

    I bet there are a lot of daddy issues at CPAC.

    Under the catagory of WTF:

    Olivia Nuzzi ‏ @Olivianuzzi

    “Man, that Rick Santorum is inspiring.” – a fetus taxidermist

    On fat people:

    Olivia Nuzzi ‏ @Olivianuzzi

    Chris Christie and Oprah sharing a stage? I hope the infrastructure of American television studios is like that of our bridges and roads.

    And that was just this year… the hits keep on rollin’.

  8. Hoodrow Trillson said at 10:56 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Twitter is where I look to find out about how a person thinks at their deepest level.

    C’mon son! At least this chicks jokes are funny. But I bet chain e-mails from your relatives are more your style when it comes to humor.

  9. Suzi said at 11:04 am on March 6th, 2012:

    You cite a bunch of one off incidents and compare them to a 4 day long sustained attack, which is itself a false equivalency.

    Also, I won’t defend Bill Maher’s overall views of women, but to be fair, he made the Lara Logan/ Elisabeth Hasselbeck “joke” a few days before it was reported that Logan had been sexually assaulted. I think that context is important, since the assault story is what everyone remembers now.

  10. Taft said at 11:13 am on March 6th, 2012:

    I suppose her having a sense of humor that doesn’t appeal to you completely negates the argument she presented? That’s very forward thinking of you, good job.

    I can’t quite figure out your angle. Do you disagree with her? Or are you just mad about some tweets she made? And if you do disagree with her, are you trying to say that slut shaming is a good thing? Help me out here.

  11. Thomas Scarano said at 11:18 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Ms. Fluke is indeed a public person. She became so years ago when she became a public pro choice feminist

  12. Ronald Reagan said at 11:56 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Taft: perhaps I wasn’t clear. My angle is that Art should not post an article about hate speech by a person who is a bigot.

    Suzi: you are trying to defend the indefensible. At this point, just like Rush, Bill M. should just apologize and/or HBO should drop him. {ah, but intellectual honesty was never a liberal’s strong suit.}

    Hoodrow Tillson: First, yes, twitter reveals this author to be a bigot so I’m grateful for you to point out what I just pointed out. My guess you have a flair for the obvious. Two, you exhibit a wonderful example of a loser during a losing argument; you went to a personal attack instead of a logical retort. To all those who are watching this conversation, please mark this as Exhibit A in “How you know a loser is losing a losing argument.” BTW – if your idea of humor is your username please keep your day job. (ba-da-da-crash) I’ll be here all week, please remember to tip your servers and you can drink all night but can’t do it here. Good night and drive safe. PS – yes I went personal. Because, and this is Exhibit B, when your loser adversary goes personal, mock them and make sure everyone knows they are funny, not funny-ha-ha but just funny.

  13. Clint Eatswood said at 12:05 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    You’re right, Reagan. The comments section of a blog post is definitely conducive to logical retorts and a back and forth that will change peoples’ minds.

  14. Taft said at 12:26 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    I’m not all that certain that an abbrasive sense of humor equates to bigotry.

  15. AAG said at 1:15 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    While Olivia’s humor can be sometimes seen as pushing the envelope, I believe that she is right in her arguement that at the end of the day their is no double standard. when the left does make such statements, they are quicker to police themselves. When the right does it well, then here comes the excuse train.

  16. suzi said at 1:17 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    @ Ronald Regan

    Providing context is not a defense. But I don’t expect any conservatives to understand that since they have proven time and again they don’t understand what context means in framing an argument.

    Example: Say “insurance companies should cover contraception the same way they cover any other prescription drug benefit” and conservatives hear “give us government money to have sex.”

    There’s no arguing with crazy.

  17. Ronald Reagan said at 2:18 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    ahhh… the context argument.

    Appendix B in “How to know when a loser is losing a losing argument”:

    When the loser realizes that they are being mocked and laughed at because you have pointed out that they attacked personally and you have rebutted with a witty and mocking comment the will inevitably go to the Relative Argument, sometimes referred to a context argument. The Relative argument always states that the words/activities they are defending have to be seen from a larger viewpoint where such minutiae doesn’t matter. For example, when they are confronted as being a bigot for a bigoted speech they will say, “you have taken it out of context.” -or- “it’s relative to your viewpoint” -or- “well you have to understand the circumstances.” They will seek to nullify your comments, retorts and statements by pointing out you are not considering the context or relative. You may answer with a quick anecdotal story that goes something like this:

    “A professor of science argued that we are made up of 99.99999% space since the vast majority of the space around an atom is the distance between the protons and the nucleus of the atom. Whereby an astute student then asked if we are all just space then how come when you are stabbed the knife doesn’t just pass through you. The professor answered, It’s all relative.”

    See the contextual or relative argument always failed when confronted with facts.

    So when Bill Maher and the author of this blog make bigoted comments they are just that, and nothing more. When, where and how the comments does not matter, no matter how hard the loser argues that it does.

    The likelihood of liberals to understand this can be best described by quoting “suzi” above:

    There’s no arguing with crazy.

  18. Charles M said at 4:02 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone’s daughter, why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million he got from a rabid misogynist? AKA Bill Maher who called Sarah Palin two horrible names, referred to Gov. Palin and Rep. Bachmann as “two bimbos,” and made a joke about Sen. Santorum’s wife using a vibrator.

  19. TR said at 8:56 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    “insurance companies should cover contraception the same way they cover any other prescription drug benefit”

    Really, you want to stick with tha?. Other prescription drugs are usually medically required. Contraceptives are so people can engage in a recreational activity.

  20. You're Out of Touch said at 9:12 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    Is Viagra medically required? Are vasectomies medically required?

    What about hormone therapy? Fertility treatments?

    For the record, BCPs are routinely prescribed for regulation of menstrual cycles and menstrual pain and a host of other medical reasons. You really have no clue because you are either a man or a very very old woman.

  21. Sancho Panza said at 9:46 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    Neither the two most prominent vulgar insulters of women they don’t like, Bill Maher and David Letterman, have not for all purposes suffered anything close to severe consequences. The minor jerks have apparently not been chastened that much, either.

  22. AmericanHorrorShow said at 10:02 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    I see the “Children of the Corn” have once again descended upon More Monmouth Musings. What a treat.

    Perhaps “He Who Walks Behind The Rows” can remind them via Facebook, that it’s way past their bedtimes.

  23. A Man in Love with Olivia said at 2:42 am on March 7th, 2012:

    Wow, great article. The stereotypes of left and right are used too often without anyone ever seeing past them, ya both right and left share certain affinities as they are not exact opposites but more alike than not, especially in areas of social norms. And I totally agree with Suzi, context is everything; it seems to me conservatives lack context with most of there arguments and therefore the lack of true intellectualism whereas liberals for what I can tell tend to show a bias to a context, even if they are harsh in that context; in short liberals are open to understanding even if they are harsh. But in all reality like I said above, social norms cross party boundaries, ethics are dead, morality is on the rise! eeeek!

  24. TR said at 2:51 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    To: Your out of Touch
    From: TR

    I will answer your question with a question.
    Does the Goverrnment MANDATE that Viagra, vasectomies, hormone therapy and fertility treatments be covered? If they do they shouldn’t. The question is not can insurance companies contract to offer this coverage the question is should the Government FORCE them to cover it. Do you even comprehend that distinction?

    When birth controll pills are required for medical reasons rather then for recreational purposes then insurance usually does pay for it. I have personal knowledge about that because even though I am an old man I have women in my family. Once again the debate is not about should insurance companies be forced to provide it for medical reasons but should they be forcrd to provide it for recreational purposes. Even the Catholic Church allows birth control pills to be used for purposes other then contraception and will allow its insurance companies to pay for it.

    End Memo

  25. Tom Stokes said at 8:19 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    You’re Out of Touch said at 9:12 pm on March 6th, 2012:

    Is Viagra (sildenafil citrate) medically required?

    The answer is YES …this drug is a vascular dilator originally designed for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. The other use was discovered accidentally as a side effect of the above mentioned treatment. The treatment for PAH is a 20mg pill, 3 times a day the pill is under the brand name Revatio). The other use requires a 100mg pill about two hours before engaging in “recreational” activity.

    BTW, the other use is medically required in many instances to combat depression in a male suffering from a medical condition (erectile dysfunction or impotence). It is also NOT a contraceptive.

    Most plans do not allow a 30 or 90 day supply of Viagara; they are quite limited as to how many pills a covered individual may receive in a 30/90 day period. Will the government now mandate that men receive the same amount of pills as a woman does with birth control pills?

    And yes, it is well known some contraceptives are also used to regulate menstrual cycles (with the side effect of preventing a pregnancy).

    This entire discussion is getting off track – it should be about the government forcing companies (and shareholders) to provide something which is not being currently provided.

    Why not just ban plans from providing any coverage for Viagra and contraceptives unless required for a serious medical condition (not for recreational activity)? Those who wish to use it for engaging in recreational activity should be allowed to buy it on their own.

  26. TR said at 7:57 am on March 8th, 2012:

    Mr. Stokes,
    Just as coverage should not be mandated neither should plans be banned from providing specific coverage. The issue is FREEDOM. Freedom to contract with an insurance company for the benefits you want and do not want or in the case of an employer want to provide or not provide.

  27. Tom Stokes said at 11:15 am on March 8th, 2012:

    to TR – BINGO!

  28. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Weiner Called His Interns “Monica” said at 6:32 am on July 25th, 2013:

    […] wife, we should remember, works for Hillary Clinton.),” wrote former MMM columnist Olivia Nuzzi in a piece for her current gig at […]