Update

Hey all. Long time, no read, and I’m sorry about that. My recovery was complicated by the fact of a very bad cold and the need for much sleep last week.

For those keeping tabs, I did not get a second interview, nor did I get any notice whatsoever that I did or did not get a second interview. I have to assume I didn’t because I’ve had no contact at all, not even a return phone call for the message I left on Monday. Professionalism really sucks these days.

Tomorrow I intend to bite the bullet and finally offer you something to read. I’ve been thinking that our problems aren’t political so much as cultural, so look for something along those lines tomorrow afternoon. Until then, take care.

Resolve

I spent the weekend getting used to the idea that, for the fourth election in a row, Americans have chosen the most manipulative, unworthy man for the job. This election there was a person offered who truly was not the lesser of two evils and may have been just what the country needed, but through much trickery and deceit, and an unhealthy dose of obstinate, blind partisanship, that fact was well-kept from the general public. I truly believed that the American people could not and would not be fooled all of the time. I now own that error in thinking, and perhaps I am cured of my naiveté. Time will tell.

After spending a few days taking it all in, and then another few tuning it all out, I am as resolved as ever. The election didn’t change the facts on the ground, which are that W. Bush and Obama are cut from the same cloth, and to the same ends: the fabrication of a wholly different America than we have previously known. The main difference between W. Bush and Obama is that W. Bush was held accountable for everything, and Obama is held accountable for nothing. What the election did change was the will of the opposition to persevere. Thus I do believe we are in for much worse. Continue reading

Abramson, Raddatz, & Crowley: How Women Hurt Women

In my continuing exploration of what, exactly, it is that holds women back, I have had to confront some ugly truths. This is a necessary process for anyone interested in advancing their own cause and interested in the politics of self-preservation. For a long time I agreed with conventional feminist notions about what the problems were that women faced, and who was responsible for them. Several years ago I began to undergo a profound metamorphosis in these areas.

In addition to questioning the hallowed ground of abortion and reproductive rights and whether such extreme defensiveness was even necessary anymore, I began to explore other areas in which women had not made progress. These other areas had been ignored by both traditional feminists and those political players who insisted they were there to help women. I began to understand that professional and economic opportunity, and parity in power needed to be the focus of an emerging feminist transformation. To help with the latter we began to see a shift on the right as more and more women entered the conservative mainstream and electoral politics. But what about that latter? What are the causes of women’s unequal opportunity, and how do we address those issues of inequity?

This electoral season has offered the opportunity for tremendous insight into some of the problems women face in the workplace. And in the last few weeks it has become apparent to me that there is a kernel of truth in the old adage that “women are their own worst enemies.” I’ve often heard some women say they do not have many women friends because of the petty, back-stabbing nature of women in general. And I’ve often heard it said that women will not make progress until they can manage their emotions better. I never wanted to believe those staples of common thought, even though I have seen threads of them over the course of my life. This year we got a close look at these dynamics in action with the women who wield power in the professional world of media.

Abramson

First up we have Jill Abramson, who was appointed the executive editor of the New York Times in September of 2011. With her tenure, the very tenor of the New York Times reporting has changed. While the New York Times has for some time been known as a stalwart of the “liberal media,” the change it has taken this year under her leadership has been pronounced. This is most evident recently in the handling of the events in Libya and subsequent Congressional investigation. The handling of both has been questioned by other media outlets, and by the NYT Public Editor.

On September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack that killed a sitting Ambassador and three other Americans, the New York Times added heft to the Obama administrations reporting of this as a result of a YouTube video in this article. They reported (via a “contract reporter” on the ground in Benghazi) that there were militants and unarmed protesters on the ground in Benghazi and were saying this was a response to the YouTube video. We have since found out that this was not the case at all, and there were no protester on the ground that day in Libya, which makes their reporting fabricated at the very least, a calibrated, coordinated lie in the worst case. Yet the New York Times stands by their report, even as they refuse to identify the “contract reporter” so the information can be verified.

When congressional investigations began two weeks later, the New York Times buried the story on page 3. On the front page were stories about “affirmative action at universities, one on Lance Armstrong’s drug allegations, two related to the presidential election, one on taped phone calls at JPMorgan Chase, and one on a Tennessee woman who died of meningitis.” Every other major news source in America led with the story of Congressional hearings, in which an amazing amount of information was revealed and the Obama narrative of the video began to be effectively dismantled. When asked by the public editor what happened with the New York Times reporting, Abramson acknowledged that she “she may have set in motion [the decision] while running the morning news meeting on Wednesday,” and has this to say:

“I said that I wanted us to weigh the news value against the reality that Congressional hearings are not all about fact-finding,” she said. In other words, they are often deeply politicized.

She described The Times’s Libya coverage in recent weeks as “excellent and very muscular,” and she said that for her and the managing editor Dean Baquet, “it’s been one of the absolute key stories – getting to the bottom of what happened and why.”

She suggested that she puts more emphasis on The Times’s original reporting. “We have done a lot on the security issues in Libya and will continue, with our own reporters, to pursue this,” she said.

Clearly Abramson, in contrast with every other major news source in America, was choosing what she wanted to be news, not what was actual news. And in so doing, she set back the cause of women’s professional opportunity. When a woman can’t be trusted in a position of power because her vision is muddied by her desires instead of her job, it feeds the narrative that women aren’t in positions of power because they can’t be trusted in them. It shows it to be true. Yet while Abramson’s choices hurt the opportunity other women have to move into a positions of power and perform with competence and excellence, she is hardly alone.

Raddatz & Crowley

In the presidential debates this year, two women were chosen to moderate two of the four debates, an extraordinary development of gender balance for the first time ever. Continue reading

5 Things To Expect From The VP Debate

For the record, this is just a load of buck-shot. I have no idea what will actually happen. Let’s just see if my wild guesses come true.

  1. Like John, I also expect Biden will come out swinging, but I expect Ryan will be totally prepared for that. Ryan will not get lost in the numbers as so many on the left predict, and Biden will not have any gaffes. That said, it won’t be a boring debate.
  2. Biden will lose his cool at least once, near the end. It won’t be a gaffe, it’ll be an attempt to school his young opponent as to the ways of the political world. It will fall flat because Romney & Ryan are interested in re-writing the rules of the political world, and they will have a smart rebut to this anticipated point. Plus, everybody except Boomers themselves are just sick of Boomer arrogance, which is how it will play.
  3. Ryan will have the zinger, not Biden. Biden will have one, of course, but Team Romney-Ryan will anticipate this every which way to Sunday, and will have a retort for every conceivable potentiality. Ryan will have the last zinging word here. It’ll be quotable.
  4. Biden will win Boomers; Ryan will win Gen Xers. This is obviously advantage Team Romney. The debate will ultimately pit Ryan “Hey Girls” against Biden grannyboppers. Biden has high marks for being attractive to women over 60. Ryan has high marks for being attractive to everyone attracted to hot young males, period. This will be the battle of the Too Fine Candidates. Expect some flirting with the audience as a result. And broad smiles. Lots of broad smiles. Yes that’s a pun.
  5. Martha Raddatz will make news the next day. It has nothing to do with her wedding 20 years ago and who attended it. It’s because she’s an uber-liberal, and has even written for The New Republic, she’s so faithful to the cause. She will have seen Lehrer’s hands-off approach and will have been super-critical of it in her personal discussions. Her aim will be to help team Obama, and it will show. Even if Biden wins this debate—and he might score a technical knockout—Raddatz interference will mean middle America will give it to Ryan. They are simply that sick of media interference.

No Apology & The Mind of Mitt

Every now and again I’ll stumble across a media item wherein we are treated to the “news” that Barack Obama hates Mitt Romney to his very core. I’d always been puzzled by these pieces because a) why does it matter, and b) what is there in Mitt Romney to hate so vociferously, so irrationally? Why is it so personal for Obama? Right now I’m two chapters in to Mitt Romney’s last book, No Apology, and in it Mitt Romney is laying out the case for why and how America is in decline, what we need to do about it, and–here’s where it gets personal for Barack Obama–how the current president is a symptom of this decline.

All in all it’s a fascinating read, and a well written one to boot. I like his style. I don’t know if this is one of those “ghost written” books that so often comes from the political world, but if so, it seems to be one that authentically captures Romney’s voice and ideas. You should be able to find it at your local library, which is where I picked up my copy. I’m dedicated to reading a chapter a night, because you don’t want to take something like this in too quickly. It takes time to reflect on what he’s trying to communicate.

Right now it’s making me think about the state of our nation and the current political horse race. And it’s helping me understand his strategy in this election, as well as his game plan for the presidency should he be elected to it. So far he has outlined the four dominant and competing visions for the world, and is making the case for why American supremacy is ultimately the moral vision. It’s been a long time since people like me were treated to an argument for why we should maintain out super-power status; mostly we hear about how we should surrender it. In the context of his arguments, I find my own thinking shifting.

Romney says there are four competing visions. Continue reading