Thursday, August 13, 2009

Media Jumps to Moronic Conclusions, Surprises No One

Over the past few days, the corporate-sponsored novelty acts who comprise the American media have been in a tizzy over an outburst by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The establishment's interpretation of the event can be stated, roughly, as: "Wow, that wife-lady is pretty angry. She must be on the rag or something, or maybe she's just upset because her dish soap is chapping her hands." I know, I know, it's hard to believe that in AMERICA, Hillary Clinton is getting trivialized by the media.

The worst part is, the most recent development in this story is sure to make absolutely no front pages at all. The Lede, the New York Times' fart-blog, is reporting that, "hey maybe that wife of that president isn't so wrong after all guys!" The Times reports:

"Two days after video of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pummeled by American commentators from The New York Post to Jon Stewart for getting angry at an apparently rude question from a Congolese student during a forum in Kinshasa on Monday, two reporters who were at the event say that the much-reported idea that the French-speaking student’s question had been mistranslated is incorrect.

In the video of the event embedded below [which I have also embedded below--JK], from Britain’s Channel 4 News, Mrs. Clinton can be seen listening and then responding to a simultaneous translation as the student asked: “We’ve all heard about the Chinese contracts in this country — the interferences from the World Bank against this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think, through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton, and what does Mr. Mutumbo think on this situation?”"

The fact that Clinton was there to bring awareness to the rape epidemic that women face in Congo only heightens the inappropriateness of the question, and further explains Clinton's reaction. The stated purpose of her trip is to seek ways to empower women, yet the media can only focus on idiotic, petty, pop-psycho-drama.

Whatever one thinks about Clinton as a politician, and to whatever extent one believes that this trip actually is about empowering women--not furthering American business opportunities--is irrelevant here. I disagree with Clinton on a host of issues, but that doesn't change the fact that when the media trivializes her, it perpetuates destructive stereotypes about powerful women that have to be challenged. This is true regardless of whether or not one agrees with the woman in question.

Here's the video from the Lede.

This video clearly illustrates that Clinton was not in the wrong, and that this entire controversy is completely fabricated and ridiculous. ComedyandPolitics does NOT recommend holding your breath to see full retractions and apologies from the media stars though. The day the Post runs with the screaming headline: Clinton Right, Post Fucked Up! will be the day that this blog will no longer be needed.

Afterthought: Can you imagine what would've been the reaction if instead of strongly responding to an offensive question, Clinton had held her hand over her mouth and giggled like a school girl? Or if she had said, "oh, here's what my husband might think..."? The television novelty acts would've lost their shit about that too. Questions about her strength, and resolve, and the image that she puts forward to the world would've been bandied about the TV like so many badminton birdies.

Again, there are plenty of policy-based reasons to not like Hillary Clinton. This episode, however, falls squarely outside that category.

1 comment:

Catskill Julie said...

Good post John. This cable news watcher got the facts of the episode quite clearly when one network showed the entire exchange with text. So I was thoroughly disgusted by the way it was otherwise reported.
But why the reflexive smack at Hillary at the end of the piece? de rigueur nod to politically correct Clinton haters?