The following is a PoliticusUSA editorial by co-publisher Sarah Jones.
The media’s obsequious circling of the wagons around the White House Press Secretary over a brutal roasting by a comedienne is more troubling than anything Michelle Wolf said.
The video in question has caused media personalities from the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman to Mika Brezinski to move the goal posts to pretend this was an attack on Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ looks, when in point of fact, the only mention of her looks was a compliment on her “smokey eye,” made from the ashes of lies. Brutal, but not a personal attack. It was an attack on the actual actions Sanders takes every day while defending a man whose relationship with reality is hostile at best.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 29, 2018
It’s not just the Right who don’t trust the media anymore, and this is exactly why. Because media personalities took that and moved the goal post to pretend it was an attack on her looks.
Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) April 29, 2018
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 29, 2018
Yeah, it was a roast. So. Remember when the roast was about the failure of Obamacare and Obama’s birth certificate? LOL! Just healthcare for the masses. So funny, apparently. And hey, so funny when the dark skinned dude is accused of not being born here and not a legitimate president. These things didn’t require the moral arbiters of the press to speak up, apparently, because LOL.
This confused Michelle Wolf, who no doubt was pretty familiar with her own material:
Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://t.co/slII9TYdYx
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
I am the first person to defend women against attacks on their looks and sexist attacks. I have, in fact in these pages and on Twitter, defended Mika, Melania, Megyn and many other conservative women from attacks on their looks, their sexuality, their naked or sexual poses, and so much more. I stand up for women when they are being grossly attacked over their sexuality no matter from which side of the aisle they come.
But that did not happen Saturday night.
I stand up for women because it is an actual value for me, not a Get Out of Jail Free card or a way to attack a political person whose ideology is different from my own. I do not recall an instance of a Right wing woman standing up for a left wing woman being attacked, but if there is one please correct me. I find it doubly grotesque for people to use “attack on a woman” as a defense for anyone representing this president and a person who has never stood up for other women when they are not Republican.
Standing against sexism does not mean that no one is allowed to question a woman’s actions at work. And surely all three of these women know when someone attacks their looks, because it happens every day to women in the media (e.g., I was told by a very angry Trump supporter that I was so hideous no conservative alpha male would want me, for example, for posting this video and I was told by a “journalist” at TownHall that it was a mistake for the left to use “destroy” in a tweet when the Right has all of the guns. Both of these reactions are scummy, but only one of them is sexist.)
I have heard from many sources that everyone adores Sarah Huckabee Sanders. They like her as a person. They didn’t want to see her hurt. But that protective instinct is not appropriate, especially when they have to use their power as media stars to beat up a comedienne and demand an apology for the person who lies for this president every day, over something the comedienne said at a roast.
Was she supposed to leave the daily lies out of it? The very thing that is helping to undermine our democracy? The media at the White House Correspondents Dinner would prefer if the jokes were not personal, as in, about reality? What is a roast for if not to touch on real things.
That is an inappropriate use of the power of the media. They need to stop making things up just because they like Sanders as a person.
And frankly, I question how anyone can actually find themselves liking someone who is assisting this President in harming vulnerable people across the world, who is undermining democracy on a daily basis with her lies. How nice does one have to be as a person to make that okay?
But no matter how they feel about Sanders as a person, it is not the media’s job to protect the person speaking for the most powerful man on Earth. Talk about bullying. This is clearly bullying of Michelle Wolf, and it is actually more troubling than anything she said.
The job of journalists is to go after those in power, not to hobnob with them and become their buddies. Access journalism has all kinds of problems, but in this day and age because of TV, people can justify it.
Access journalism has brought us to this point where journos defend those in power instead of the people. This is one reason why people are mad as hell. The obsequious reaction of the media defending Sarah Huckabee Sanders from accusations that she is lying to us every day, when she is actually lying to us every day, is exactly why they are mad.
The media needs to get out of the D.C. bubble.
I suspect a big reason the media is actually angry at Wolf is because she called them out on getting Trump elected and profiting from it. That this actually happened and yet the media is catering to the Right’s hatred of it is troubling.
A. The media is guilty also ob they behaved with searing hatred toward Hillary Clinton, reported on hacked emails they know they shouldn’t have.
B. Clinton campaign also treated the media like total crap. So, double hit there (hard truths).
C. B doesn’t justify A.
Many of the people who have risen to fame over covering Trump are the same people who are defending SHS. This is not a good look. When Michelle Wolf took down SHS, she was speaking about Trump’s proxy since he decided once again not to show. She was speaking for THE PEOPLE and COUNTRY Trump has crapped on.
There is reason more people viewed Michelle Wolf from my video alone than watch Fox News. There is a reason the Resistance marches are so huge. It’s because Trump and his administration are assaulting the liberty and basic dignity of multiple vulnerable groups.
The media doesn’t need to defend that from a comedienne.
Lastly, did these same journos, who have appointed themselves arbiters of morality so must have weighed in before, demand an apology when Republicans accused Obama of not being born here for 8 years? Surely fueling that lie for 8 years is equal to 1 night of a comedian.
Yes, the media is under fire constantly under Trump, and they like to make serious speeches about the first amendment which deserve attention. But the people who own these huge corporations are profiting like mad and the huge media corporations are getting all of the love under Trump, pushing out independent voices.
So really, the first amendment is not at risk for them. It is at risk for small publishers like us, who do not hobnob with DC elite and do not have a relationship with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The corporate media is making out like bandits under Trump, and I say with all due respect because I there is a place for access journalism and we use it ourselves, if they don’t get a grip on their heady power trip they will be guilty of aiding the Trump undermining of the free press, and yes that press was supposed to work for the people not for big corporations.
Their job is to afflict the powerful and comfort the afflicted, not to comfort the powerful. Censoring a comedienne and demanding an apology from her over jokes about powerful people that she told at a roast is a disgraceful way for the media to pretend their helping hand to the access door wasn’t self-serving.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.