I can’t leave this alone

Ever since I read that crazy Tom Shales hit piece on Christiane Amanpour, I’ve been thinking of Jeff Rosen’s similar hit piece on Sonia Sotomayor. I guess I’m not the only one (Adam Serwer via Atrios):

As with Sonia Sotomayor, no amount of personal excellence can calm certain kinds of skepticism, because the question really comes down to one of resources and tribalist rivalry. Amanpour would be the only woman hosting a Sunday morning show on one of the major three networks, just as Sotomayor became the first Latina on the court. Because of her gender and ethnic background, she is another challenger to a professional space traditionally reserved for white men.

So of course she’s not “objective.” Only white men can be “objective.” Which is how you know “objectivity” in this context is anything but.

There’s some kind of progress here, though. From what I understand, forty years ago, John F. Kennedy struggled with objectivity as a Catholic. And now Bart Stupak is as objective as they come.






65 replies
  1. 1

    I’m posting it again, because it deserves some follow-through. Patrick Kennedy wrote a note to his father.

    whatever you do, don’t read the comments!

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Yes, I saw that. Thanks for the link.

  3. 3
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Sadly that attitude is not restricted to TV critics or lawyers.

  4. 4
    Max says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: It made me cry when I read it.

    I love that Obama is President.

  5. 5
    Cat Lady says:

    Shales is more worthy of your scorn than Broder. Broder is just a pathetic husk of a columnist now, but I think Shales thinks he’s going to be the WaPo’s Ebert, without the self-awareness, the wit, or the writing skills. In other words, the perfect Kaplan hack. Go get’ im DougJ.

    ETA: Sucks to be old white male farts. Shorter Shales: get off my lawn!

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Despite the warning, I couldn’t resist. God, what a horrible bunch of people (not all of them, but definitely the majority of the commenters there).

    -dms

  7. 7
    JD Rhoades says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    whatever you do, don’t read the comments!

    Damn. I did.

    But don’t ever forget, folks, it’s the liberals who are filled with hate.

  8. 8
    ellaesther says:

    I knew change had come when I hated the Secretary of State and she was an African American woman.

    Change is an odd animal.

    Also, too, though, you’ll notice: They do what they can, they slow things way the fuck up, but ultimately, change comes, and slowly, the liberal agenda moves us all forward. Even fucking them.

    @arguingwithsignposts: And now I go, hanky in hand, to read.

  9. 9

    @dmsilev: yeah, i was thinking the same thing. I initially started cruising through the comments thinking “well, this will be a place where people honor TK for all he did that was right and good for the people …” Sadly, no. That’s why I inserted the warning. Sick fucks.

  10. 10
    Josie says:

    I can’t help but think that Shales has a friend (white, male) at ABC who is miffed at being passed over for the job. It is incomprehensible to me that one of the few real journalists on the planet could receive such a vicious review from him otherwise. The fact that she is female and Iranian is just gravy to those who are jealous of her success. I hope he suffers professionally for this.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    @Josie:

    Good point. Maybe Jake Tapper? He fluffs that guy all the time.

  12. 12
    Brian J says:

    @Josie:

    Does anyone really care what he thinks? Isn’t that suffering enough, at least for someone in his position?

  13. 13

    […] in Daily life, Media at 7:18 pm by LeisureGuy DougJ at Balloon Juice: Ever since I read that crazy Tom Shales hit piece on Christiane Amanpour, I’ve been thinking of […]

  14. 14
    Brian J says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    On another note, what do you think of FDL’s health care myths? Seems like the 44 percent figure in the first “truth” box isn’t in any proper context.

  15. 15
    eastriver says:

    Maybe Christi could dye her hair blond and get a perky outfit like those Foxy News Chicks? Then she’d fit in.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    I remember reading a humorous TV Guide article when I was a kid (is there still a TV Guide?) that said that men were discriminated against on TV. They were always the doofus husband, or the idiot retro sidekick.

    And I see this merciless persecution is continuing. The news talkies are the last refuge of doofus idiot retro white men sidekick types from 60s sitcoms. And now they are going to wipe them out in their last refuge.

    They are victims.

    I can hardly wait. I can name a few who I hope are fired on camera, which is mean and evil of me, but guess I have to face the hate in my guts sooner or later as the first step in overcoming it.

    Is there a 12 step program for that? Hatred of goofus idiot retro white men sidekick types from 60s sitcom hosts and guests ruining current affairs talk shows?

  17. 17
    Redshift says:

    Yep, forty years ago conservatives were telling the country not to elect Kennedy because he might take orders directly from the pope. Six years ago they were telling the country not to elect Kerry because he might not take orders directly from the pope.

    Such progress!

  18. 18
    mai naem says:

    I was genuinely surprised to see Shales’ name on the column. From what I remember, Shales has written some pretty good political programming related pieces. As far as Christiane Amanpour – uhm – does anybody know that she’s married to Jamie Rubin who happens to be Jewish and who happens to be the son of Robert Rubin, neither of whom are known as self hating Jews.

  19. 19
    KCinDC says:

    For those who missed Shales’s WaPo chat today:

    You make excellent points about Amanpour’s unsuitability for the job. And neither you nor I has stooped to mentioning that hair of hers — yipe. What’s the deal with that, as David Letterman might say.

    Take a look at the photo at the top of the chat and ask yourself whether Shales (like Limbaugh) has any business commenting on any other journalist’s appearance.

  20. 20
    hamletta says:

    @mai naem: Me, too. I’ve been reading him for decades, and this piece is uncharacteristically wankerrific.

  21. 21
    ellaesther says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Ok. Didn’t cry when Joe the Biden spoke. Didn’t cry when President Barack Hussein Obama spoke. Didn’t cry when the little African American boy who lost his mother to insurance company malfeasance stood next to the African American President as he signed health care reform into law.

    The instant I saw that little note in the photograph? Burst into tears. Oh my. Thank you for drawing my attention to it.

    (Did not, it goes without saying, go near the comments. Yeesh).

  22. 22
    eric says:

    The answer is simple: she is smarter than they are and she is better at her craft than they are. These are objective facts.

    What remains to be seen is if she can remain her strong self or if the role corrupts.

    having not watched a Sunday show in more than 15 years, I am sure that I am not the only one that will watch on the first Sunday she hosts, not because she is a woman, and not because I am a self-hating jew, but because I think she will press harder and accept less bullshit. I would like to see McCain on the very first show as a test of her mettle.

    eric

  23. 23
    ominira says:

    @KCinDC: I guess he sees Brad Pitt when he looks in the mirror. I do agree that he should lay off criticizing anything’s appearance, given his.

  24. 24
    KCinDC says:

    … neither of whom are known as self hating Jews.

    …yet, but now that this is out there, give it time. If that AIPAC announcement about opposing settlements hadn’t turned out to be a Code Pink hoax, then Marty Peretz and Leon Wieseltier would be denouncing AIPAC as self-hating Jews this very minute.

  25. 25
    Brian J says:

    @KCinDC:

    True that. She can see a stylist. Shales can’t erase the fact that he’s a fat, droopy bastard.

  26. 26
    williamc says:

    I didn’t know until today that Amanpour was Persian (didn’t much care either, don’t watch much TV, haven’t really been following her career, but I thought the same as Adam Serwer did when I read Shales earlier that some of these folks just can’t handle that there are people other than white dudes who can do professional jobs now. I don’t know anyone under the age of 40 who cares about women or minorities doing any job anywhere, outside of libertarians, who I find are libertarians because its a great wall to hide your racism behind (the gubmint shouldn’t do anything but let business exploit their workers, and by workers I mean colored people who eat my tax money, etc.).

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Being in Georgia, I find myself arguing with teatards all the time now, and man they love them some Sister Sarah down here no matter how the next dumb thing she does will make her look even stupider than the last dumb thing she did, and sometimes I feel like I should let up with the mockery and the lecturing; that they are just uninformed, small-minded, inexperienced bigots who aren’t wealthy and aren’t smart enough to create wealth with a money printer and slaves to run it, and then I read any article anywhere on the web having to do with the President (aren’t we still at war Patriots?) or Teddy Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi and I realize that they are also evil people who obviously have no emotion response except “I’m right, you’re wrong, die liberal scum, I want my country back”. Guess they really did destroy empathy when they tried to destroy Sotomayor…

  27. 27
    hamletta says:

    @KCinDC: OK, I’ll give him the hair. I’m about the same age as Amanpour, and I had that haircut, too—when I was 15.

    But who cares? She’s a fantastic journalist, and her perspective will be a breath of fresh air compared to all the Beltway bobbleheads.

  28. 28
    BombIranForChrist says:

    I really thought Krugman summed it up best:

    Shales: The Sunday talk shows are shows for us! The insider elite! She’s not part of the insider elite!

    Krugman: Maybe that’s the point, jackass.

    I am paraphrasing.

    What’s sad is that Shales probably doesn’t even realize how silly he looks. He may now, for the very first time, realize that he is not, at long last, objective at all, but a victim of his own biases.

  29. 29
    Annie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I, too, couldn’t help but read the comments. Disgusting. This is the legacy of the Republican party and their marriage with the religious right. Hate, hate, hate….

  30. 30
    Shade Tail says:

    I read both Shales’ piece, and Serwer’s take-down, and the difference in quality is rather frightening. Seriously, these “journalists” are actually wondering why people aren’t reading them anymore?

    Sheesh.

  31. 31
    Keith G says:

    Shales’ colleague, Ceci Connolly, puts in a great turn in this behind the scenes look at Obama’s actions during the past three months to get HCR done. A cool narrative.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....29_pf.html

  32. 32
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    They don’t want anyone to realize just how conservative and biased all of those white, male, traditional Sunday show hosts are.

    Someone like her in the mix and the rest will pale in comparison, pun intended.

    Those guys are supposed to represent “the middle”, and people like Shales don’t want that whole pretense retroactively shown to have been a farce.

  33. 33
    Ming says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: thanks, aws — i think i was waiting for something like that. means a lot.

  34. 34
    tripletee says:

    @eric:

    The answer is simple: she is smarter than they are and she is better at her craft than they are

    Maybe so, but she has ladyparts. Foreign ladyparts.

  35. 35

    While I was living in Bangkok for a year, the only english speaking news we got was CNN Asia. I got to see a lot of Christiane Amanpour and I am really thrilled she got the nod for this. She’s the real deal.

  36. 36
    slag says:

    @KCinDC:

    And neither you nor I has stooped to mentioning that hair of hers—yipe.

    Wow! I thought you were kidding or that someone asked this question of Shales. But no. This was him saying this. What a grotesque person.

  37. 37
    Comrade Mary says:

    Oh.My.God. From the chat:

    New Orleans, La.: Tom,
    __
    I normally consider your views to be nearly infallible, but I think you’ve struck out on the Amanpour selection. With our country still involved in two overseas wars, our country’s increasing tensions with China and Russia, why shouldn’t we have someone who has some serious knowledge of foreign affairs discussing them. NBC’s and CBS’s shows focus on domestic inside-the-beltway politics. Why not differentiate yourself and make a show that can look a little more broadly? It might also help to have a roundtable that includes at least one person under the age of 65 who isn’t the son or daughter of a career politician.
    __
    Tom Shales: Well you’re talking about reworking the whole show — so not discuss domestic politics? It’s George Will’s specialty though of course he can discuss international affairs as well. But it was conceived (for David Brinkley) as a discussion show about Washington DC, capital city……. I wonder if ABC is really going to revise the show or if they aren’t going to try to turn Amanpour into Little ms Politics

    Fuck you, Shale. Fuck you with a sandpaper dildo.

  38. 38
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @KCinDC:

    Wow. Thanks for posting to that chat. I’ve never read this guy in my life before, as far as I remember anyway, but he seems like a true Millbank-level Beltway clod:

    Tom Shales: Well you’re talking about reworking the whole show — so not discuss domestic politics? It’s George Will’s specialty though of course he can discuss international affairs as well. But it was conceived (for David Brinkley) as a discussion show about Washington DC, capital city……. I wonder if ABC is really going to revise the show or if they aren’t going to try to turn Amanpour into Little ms Politics

    The high praise for George Will as a fine example of punditry explains sort of a lot about his opinion on the choice of Christiane, and that last crack was wankerific.

    @Comrade Mary: Owe me a Coke. Except I don’t like Coke, so maybe a vodka tonic.

  39. 39
    Cat Lady says:

    OT, but OMG this. I even love his handwriting. Approved, indeedy.

    /O-bot

  40. 40

    @Cat Lady: Well…it’s kind of his handwriting…he had to do that with about 24 pens…

  41. 41
    MikeJ says:

    @Cat Lady: I’m gonna start drawing an O around my last name and it doesn’t even have an O in it. Just an extra one to give to the ladies.

    /O-bot

  42. 42
    Martin says:

    Colbert is right of course – he is the default race, gender, religion. Everyone not like him is some kind of social freak.

  43. 43
    Slaney Black says:

    The AIPAC crowd is going full Tea Party insane. Something strange happens to people – previously half-sane people, even – when their world starts to crumble.

  44. 44
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Ha! I was there first, but I’ll be gracious and offer you a gin and tonic, OK?

  45. 45
    Cat Lady says:

    @MikeJ:

    The Big O.

    Works for me.

    :-O

  46. 46
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Pigs & Spiders: I live overseas also, for many years, and have seen her a lot. The thing is, she’s actually not any sort of flaming liberal, not in anything that shows up on screen.

    I’ve seen interviews of her and she doesn’t seem so there either, so it’s not like she’s hiding some major left wing bias in the interest of professionalism, as far as I can tell. I mean she seems totally professional and keeps any bias out of the work on screen, but there actually doesn’t seem to be much of one.

    Compared to George Will and Coke Roberts, of course, she’s a flaming radical, but then compared to them so is most of the country (in favor of things like the public option, which everyone on those shows knows is a “far left” position).

  47. 47
    Mark S. says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Well, Shales did have a good dis on Luke Russert:

    There was something eerie and bizarre about the whole thing. As if they were saying, “Wait – we had Tim cloned just before he passed away,” and now you’ll see the happy result…. except he wasn’t especially good, just glib.

  48. 48
    slag says:

    @Martin:

    Colbert is right of course – he is the default race, gender, religion. Everyone not like him is some kind of social freak.

    I had this exact reaction. I love the fact that Stephen Colbert not only understands this underlying assumption but brings it up on his show and makes it explicit.

  49. 49

    @Bill E Pilgrim: No, she’s certainly not a liberal by any means, but she’s SANE and she lives in the reality based community.

  50. 50
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Comrade Mary: Make it a bloody Mary and you’re on.

    No pun intended, it’s just closer to morning here than evening, and the last time I had anything but wine, that was it. My traditional airplane drink, for some reason.

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I live overseas also, for many years, and have seen her a lot. The thing is, she’s actually not any sort of flaming liberal, not in anything that shows up on screen.

    I’m back in the USSA, but when I lived in yurp it was a shock how sane CNN International was. Since my other choice in English many times was Bloomberg, and even they didn’t seem that awful since you knew upfront what they were about.

  52. 52
    williamc says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I don’t get the George Will fluffing by folks at all. He is still wearing bowties in the fucking 21st Century, just a couple years ago he wrote a column in the Washington Post (and it was syndicated!) decrying wearing denim jeans (what next, outlawing dancing in the town limits?!), and it took him what, 6 years in to decide Afghanistan was not worth it?

    The only good thing he’s done in decades is act condescending towards Sister Sarah, and that wasn’t all that good, as I’ve seen it done better here…

  53. 53
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @williamc: He can be curmudgeonly contrarian about wingnuts now and then but his wingnutting on climate change should forever remove him from just comically archaic to true evil of the far right.

    He’s had people he “cited” in his columns write in to say “Huh? Our report showed exactly the opposite of what he claims!” and he doesn’t give a shit. Nor does the paper, according to the apologist of an Obudsman, apparently.

  54. 54
    williamc says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I have friends that defend him, friends of the environment friends, who say, “he’s one of the good ones, he makes sense sometimes, and I think he says some of those things just to be contrarian”, I think to make themselves feel better because Will sounds smart and reasonable (he’s no confused teabagger) and some folks just want to believe that their nemeses aren’t all just evil idiots who love to hear themselves talk, but all signs are pointing to evil idiot on Will…

  55. 55
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Annie: They are the epitome of hate & fear.

  56. 56
    Alex S. says:

    With Amanpour at This Week, McCain/Graham/Lieberman lose one place to spread their neo-con garbage.

    By the way, a typical shallow Kaplan argument: Amanpour’s Iranian family lives in exile. Reasonable people might think that she doesn’t exactly have a reason to support the Iranian regime, but no, since she is iranian, Shales believes that she is inherently anti-Israel.

  57. 57
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @williamc: Amazing. Your friends I mean.

    I have a friend who was one of the authors of the IPCC report, and she tells me we’re basically heading off a cliff and doing nothing to stop it. Even with all the effort we think is being made, in the scheme of things it amounts to zip.

    These people devote their lives to the study of climate, these are the best in the field, and then someone like George Will comes along and willfully misrepresents what their reports say, telling readers “Oh don’t worry…”

    I mean, we don’t have censorship and he should be free to write this stuff at some wingnut forum, but the fact that he’s doing so in the Washington Post is just… astonishing.

  58. 58
    bayville says:

    @KCinDC:

    Take a look at the photo at the top of the chat and ask yourself whether Shales (like Limbaugh) has any business commenting on any other journalist’s appearance.

    Disagree. Better, clearer photos of Shales show an eerie resemblance to a younger, leaner Alec Baldwin.

  59. 59
    bago says:

    So the Iranian refugee married to the New York Jew with decades of frontline international reporting experience is unqualified to talk Washington politics. Says the T.V. Critic.

    Is this approaching some hypothetical limit, like the wingularity = Milbank * BowTie ^ 2 ?

  60. 60
    kansi says:

    @Keith G: Sorry, refuse to read her after her vicious snide coverage in 2000. No room for her “insight” here.

  61. 61
    Nancy Irving says:

    It’s sad that we seem to get this sort of thing from liberals who would defend to the death the right of women (and minorities) to become cops or electricians. But when it’s an elite job–a job THEY might fill–somehow a different standard applies.

    Sigh. We’ve come a long way, baby, but we have a long way yet to go.

  62. 62
    zhak says:

    Um. I agree with the theory that we’re regressing terribly. That’s what happens when our current crop of Republicans are given the blank check they’ve had since Reagan.

    But, um, 40 years ago, JFK was, you know, dead.

    Tempus fugit & all that, I think you lost a decade somewhere. Goodness knows I’ve tried to forget the Bush years as well …

  63. 63
    Betsy says:

    Maybe I’m just seeing everything in rose-colored glasses this week because of HCR, but it makes me inordinately happy that we’ve gotten to the point where male commenters notice and comment on this kind of sexism. Yay, DougJ and Adam Serwer!

    But holy god, that Shales guy is repulsive. And I’m not even talking about his looks. “little ms politics,” seriously? I reiterate Comrade Mary’s call for him to fuck himself with a sandpaper dildo.

  64. 64
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    To the Villagers, “objectivity” can reside only on the right side of the Overton windo.

  65. 65
    Colin Laney says:

    Objective smobjective. She has criticized Israel. That’s the problem.

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