If you, like me, have come to look forward to Maegan Vazquez’s “Young Politica” columns on Heartfeldt, you are going to miss her interesting take on the world through the students’ lens. During the past two semesters that she has interned for me, it has been my pleasure to see her grow and her writing develop.
Enjoy her last column here. I told her I predict we’ll be reading her in the Washington Post in a few years.
Today, airsoft rifles closely resembling AK-47s were found in the dorm room of a New York University student, according to the New York Post. The psychology student, Bernard Goal, 20, allegedly assembled and sold them for up to $500 each.
The story may not have been at the top of my radar (nor on the radar of the New York Post a few weeks ago, but in a post-Boston Marathon and post-MIT shootout world, I have become hyperaware of all things ammunition on campus—especially when that campus is my own.
As a member of the media, it would be naive of me to cite this as a reason for stricter gun laws on campus. Even I know that when in search for stories, a journalist often writes about what is most concerning to their audience at that moment in time. Right now, almost anything guns is a-go.
Up until recent events, campus gun laws were not an issue I was concerned with; mainly because my college doesn’t have a real campus. Rather, students take classes in buildings scattered across lower-Manhattan.
OK, I admit it: when I wrote about the sitcom Veep, I fretted over the less than buttoned up wardrobe that the first female vice president character, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, wears.
I’m looking forward to seeing the USA Network new series on Political Animals to see how they portray the Hillary-esque main character played by Sigourney Weaver. So much pop culture, so little time, and meanwhile a serious election is going on!
Recently when I talked with Americas Radio News network about how the media treats women candidates, I had a chance to say more about this fraught topic.
Surely Politico jests. I’m sure you can add to my examples:
Politico Arena asks:
Democrats are raising money with a petition against the “Republican War on Women.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, repeated the jibe Sunday on “Meet the Press” when asked about Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments on contraception.
Now that Limbaugh has apologized, will voters see “war on women” language as overkill? Particularly those who oppose the Obama administration’s contraception coverage policy on moral/religious grounds?
My Response: You’re kidding, right? There’s hardly even a truce.
Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute as she asked her university to cover hormonal birth-control and the subsequent fury that caused many of his advertisers to abandon him (and his very lame non-apology apology) was one small skirmish in the much larger and ongoing war on women being waged by an ideologically driven minority who would much prefer that women had remained barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
Just this past week, Roy Blunt and other Senate Republicans sought to pass legislation that would allow any employer to deny preventive contraceptive health services to their employees on the basis of any religious or “moral” objections. As though women are wanton hussies with no morals or religion.
It’s Women’ History Month. Let’s make Rush Limbaugh history. Here’s one action you can take. Stay tuned, and scroll down to the bottom of the post for more every day.
Politico Arena asks:
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has been heavily criticized by the Georgetown University law student who he called a “slut” after she testified on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception.
“I’m not the first woman to be treated this way by numerous conservative media outlets, and hopefully I’ll be the last,” Sandra Fluke said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “This is really inappropriate. This is outside the bounds of civil discourse.”
Although Limbaugh infuriated Democrats by calling Fluke both a “prostitute” and a “slut,” he has shown no signs that he’ll issue an apology.
Should Limbaugh issue an apology? Or will the media firestorm blow over?
My Response: No apology is good enough. Rush must go. Period.
Women have had to put up with his “feminazi” epithets for far too long,
Was MSNBC wrong to move Pat Buchanan out? I think that’s good news, but the better news is that Melissa Harris Perry is moving in. I had the pleasure of doing a practice run with her recently and look forward to the launch of her show this weekend. Vigilant media advocacy for fair treatment by groups like the Women’s Media Center (where I’m on the board) does pay off eventually.
Arena asks: Was Pat Buchanan’s Firing Fair?
My response: It’s time for these men, like Pat Buchanan, Foster Friess, and Rick Santorum to climb back under the prehistoric rock from whence they came.
I believe in making common cause with people of all persuasions, but here’s what I learned about the quest for common ground on issues where people have diametrically opposing worldviews. Originally published at On The Issues Magazine.
The day before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was expected to rule, rumors circulated that the agency would approve Plan B One Step emergency contraception as a non-prescription item and allow it to be sold without age restrictions. Freelance writer Robin Marty predicted via e-mail, “Conservative reaction will be a total shitstorm.”
For once I like title Arena gave to today’s question about whether Rick Santorum’s way out of the mainstream views about sex will get noticed after the media swarm in the wake of his IA caucus near-win. Please tell me you’ll help keep this buzz alive. Because in truth I don’t trust the press to keep shining a light on it–and there are devastating implications for women’s rights as well as gay rights if the public doesn’t know Santorum just how zealously would work to take them entirely away.
Arena Asks: In a recent CNN interview, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tried to put space between comments he made that appeared to equate homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality, Political Wire reports.
“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing,” Santorum told the Associated Press during a 2003 interview. Santorum recently told CNN: “I didn’t connect them. I excluded them.”
Will these comments haunt Santorum on the campaign trail? Or will they be lost in the hubbub of the election cycle?
My Answer: Right now Rick Santorum is the Flavor of the Minute with the press. That’s the best thing that could possibly happen IF reporters keep on finding (which they will if they look) statements like his “man on dog” comparison to homosexuality. Santorum made that comparison, from which he is now trying to distance himself, in a slippery slope litany of what he speculates might happen if social definitions of marriage were to include the possibility of homosexual unions.
But he can’t distance himself from his repeated disdain for gays and lesbians let alone same sex marriage, IF the media keeps on doing its job…
Hooray, just one more day till the Iowa Caucuses will be over. Then we can immediately start obsessing about New Hampshire. Meanwhile, what do you think about Rick Santorum’s chances for a strong finish tomorrow night?
Arena Asks: On the last full day of campaigning before Iowa’s GOP caucuses, Mitt Romney is working to hold on to his narrow advantage as he faces a surging Rick Santorum. A Des Moines Register poll released Saturday showed Romney and Ron Paul locked in a close race, with Santorum rising swiftly to challenge them.
Will Santorum’s surge last? How much of a threat does the former Pennsylvania senator pose to Romney’s lead?
My Answer: Elections are like rivers–never the same twice. Every election is a unique moment in time. And Iowa’s political waters are parting for Rick Santorum at the crucial moment, just before the caucus votes, leading some to anoint him the next Moses they hope can lead the party to victory next November…
Arena Asks: As Rep. Ron Paul rises in the Iowa polls he’s facing more scrutiny for newsletters once published under his name. Parts of the 1990s-era publications are suffused with paranoia, racial bigotry and support for the period’s violent militia movements. Paul denies authorship of the offending passages, though in his 1996 congressional run he admitted to writing some of them. Assuming others did write the material, the newsletters still went out under Ron Paul’s name. What does this say about the company he keeps? And if Paul didn’t have full control over content, does it raise doubts about his managerial/executive abilities?
My Answer:If Paul disavows the bigoted words, ripping off his inquisitor’s microphone isn’t going to help him prove it…