MSNBC has suspended anchor David Shuster. The brouhaha started yesterday after Shuster suggested that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" because she worked the phones to call Democratic super delegates in support of her mother.
Today, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson blasted the comment as "beneath contempt."
The remark does seem unfair since the children of candidates commonly campaign for their parental units. Mitt Romney’s handsome male brood has been heavily featured in the press.
Shuster reportedly issued an on-air mea culpa and "told The Associated Press he has tried to reach Clinton to apologize."
UPDATE: more details plus entertaining comments here on Politicsblog, the on-line hang-out of SFGate’s Joe Garofoli. Says Joe:
…..Shuster said it was "a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea’s out there calling up celebrities, saying support my mom, and she’s apparently also calling these super delegates," in a conversation with Bill Press. Then he said "Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
Ohhhhh, Davey. Early Friday a.m., called in on-air and apologized for using the "slang" and "I didn’t think that people would take it literally, but some people have." Yeah, Davey, we know you’re trying to be down and all — and yes, "pimped out" has become a more benign part of the language of ahem, Chelsea’s generation — but save it…
UPDATE: Feb. 9, 2008. Okay. Enough already. Shuster groveled. He apologized on air, he was suspended AND he attempted to contact the Clinton camp - all over a tasteless but relatively harmless remark. (By "relative," I’m comparing Shuster’s slip to Ann Coulter’s vicious comment about John Edwards’ deceased son.)
But Hillary continued to milk the incident today during a press conference at the University of Maine, complaining about MSNBC’s pattern of "demeaning" remarks. The Clinton camp is using a bunch of charged words: "demeaning," "debasing," "degrading."
While Hillary’s note to NBC News president Steve Capus may have appeared reasonable (on the surface), it was sprinkled with the aforementioned charged words. And she seemed to imply that Shuster should be fired.
It’s the martyred, wounded woman schtick. And I have a problem with the Clinton mob blowing these incidents out of proportion. It feels calculated.
Hillary & Co. are framing this as women vs. the old boys in the press. They’re playing the gender card. It’s more of the same politics of division. Hillary’s proxies are behaving very badly.
In his blog ABC’s Jake Tapper cites an over-the-top threatening letter sent to NBC Senior VP Phil Griffin by Emily’s List president Ellen Malcolm. Malcolm used hot verbiage like: reprehensible, misogynistic, sexist and demeaning, odious etc. And then in a fit of hysteria, she concludes with this strident graf -
If you refuse to take action, women across the country, viewers, sponsors, and consumers can only assume your implicit endorsement of this type of sexist commentary on women and repugnant treatment of our children.
Repugnant treatment of our children? Seriously? Give us a break. Sorry that your girl, oops! woman, is getting trounced but, you know, park the distractions and take it like a man.
Here’s Obama’s latest music vid set to Obama’s stirring "yes we can" (or si se puede, a phrase coined by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta) New Hampshire concession speech.
Celebrities featured include: Jesse Dylan, Will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas), Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon.
A little Marin election intel: according to Marin County’s weekly, the Pacific Sun, "Marin County led the way in percentage of votes for Barack Obama in Tuesday’s presidential primary. Statewide, Obama received 42 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 52. Obama carried Marin with a margin of 55 to 39 percent, his largest spread of any county in the state."
The Marin Independent Journal, the county’s Gannett-owned daily, further reports that the biggest support for Obama came gushing out of the village of Ross where he landed almost 70% of the vote. Marin is super-affluent (highest per capita income of any county in the U.S.) but Ross is the wealthiest enclave, on par at least with Tiburon/Belvedere.
Marin’s Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who endorsed Hillary, is already under pressure to change her super-delegate commitment.