Friday, September 12, 2008
This shit just stopped being funny.
As this space noted recently, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America has recently begun listening to local right-wing radio host Jim Quinn. Which is great, because it means the rest of us don't have to.
It also means that this priceless bit of hypocrisy will be preserved for the world to see on the internet.
As you'll see from the link, Rose Tennent, Quinn's co-host, professed to be outraged by Barack Obama's now-famous "lipstick on a pig" line. The McCain campaign, in an empty-headed stunt that still leaves me breathless, has insisted that this old cliche -- which McCain himself has used -- was a sexist remark directed at Sarah Palin.
Here's Tennent on the matter:
I was so offended by that. I was so appalled by that ... You know what, you're a pig, you're a chauvinist pig is what you are, Barack. OK, you're a sexist pig. You want to talk about pigs? You're a sexist pig. I can't believe it. You know, the sexism, the ageism, is there no end to the -isms with the Democrats?
As MMFA notes, this is coming from a radio show that plays "The Bitch is Back" as its Hillary Clinton theme song. Quinn himself refers to the National Organization of Women as the "National Organization of Whores." Hilarious.
It gets better. Moments after Rose offers this deeply-felt expression of sisterhood, Quinn says:
"It's only an -ism if we do it. And, of course, for the most part, we never do."
Yes, indeed. For the most part, it never happens that conservatives engage in sexism. For the most part, it never happens that conservative radio hosts are sued for sexual harassment. And for the most part, juries never rule against those radio hosts, to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.
But it does happen at least part of the time. And it happened to Quinn.
Some of us recall that in 1988 Quinn -- who was then the cohost of the B-94 morning program -- was sued by B-94 Liz Randolph, for remarks that went far beyond references to barnyard cosmetics.
Quinn and "Banana Don" Jefferson verbally bullied and belittled Randolph repeatedly on the air, accusing her of being promiscuous and of having contracted sexually transmitted diseases. After being exposed to that sort of humiliation -- in front of an audience of tens of thousands -- Randolph had a breakdown. Quinn and Jefferson then made jokes that Randolph was crazy to boot.
Randolph sued in February of 1988. Two years later, an Allegheny County jury found in her favor, awarding her nearly $700,000. Quinn has repeatedly cited this as the moment in which the scales fell from his eyes, and he began recasting himself as a die-hard conservative with no patience for women who complain about sexism.
And this is the host who is so concerned for the well-being of that delicate flower of the Yukon, Sarah Palin.
There's really not much you can say here. If you've gotten this far in the post, there's no need for me to rail at the laughable hypocrisy. I will say that Quinn and Tennent used to work for the parent company that owns City Paper. I don't think they're dumb. I think they probably know better ... and I think they figure their audience doesn't. And they're probably right.
My optimistic friends tell me this whole lipstick thing will blow over, that it won't hurt Obama. Maybe it will even make reporters a bit more suspicious of transparently trumped-up accusations like this one. Maybe. Then again, perhaps the real point of seizing on this bullshit "issue" wasn't to make Obama look bad, but to make virulent misogynists like Quinn look good.