In what Mediaite calls a great cable moment, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren went at it with The Daily Caller founder and conservative media figure Tucker Carlson over sexist comments made by former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson about Sarah Palin, reported on by The Daily Caller (read the original POST here).
When it comes to Sarah Palin, Van Susteren almost seems to be a female Sean Hannity . She clearly has a personal friendship with Palin and is highly protective of Palin. Her husband has done consulting work for Palin. and when she talks about her or has her on it’s a virtual p.r. piece. While the segment below may be illustrative of what is considered “great cable” (see my note below under the embedded segment) by many more than the must-read-for-media-junkies site Mediaite, even more illustrative is what has happened to Van Susteren: the days when those who deliver media content to news consumers felt they must keep a certain distance to appear overtly detatched is not necessarily over but quickly waning. She’s one of the most glaring examples of it.
But Van Susteren CANNOT be dismissed as an inflexible partisan or ideologue: when Ed Schultz made sexist comments about conservative talker Laura Ingraham and profusely apologized, Van Susteren was the first major conservative camp media figure to say Schultz sounded sincere and to urge others to let it go and move on.
In this case, both Van Susteren and Carlson are correct: a)Tyson’s comments were reprehensible — but, honestly, coming from Mike Tyson where they that much of a surprise? Really? Honestly?? b)Carlson is correct that when a new or old media site REPORTS something it does not mean they are ENDORSING IT.
And do websites have an obligation to those who supporting or are promoting certain candidates to let them become unofficial publishers and censors, determining information content? I’ve been critical of Carlson on some things in the past, but on this one he is correct and Van Susteren cannot separate her rage over Tyson’s sexist comments with her personal friendship, links and political affinity to Sarah Palin. Even if The Daily Caller had a done straight report of Tyson’s comments or run it as a kind of Quote of the Day FEW readers would take it as endorsing Tyson’s comments but, rather, reporting comments that say something about Tyson (not that we didn’t know it already). it would have been a report. Which is not an endorsement.
But you watch this segment, judge for yourself and leave your reaction in comments.
What has now become great TV and great television? More than ever it is the yellfest…left versus right…or right versus right. It’s not the thought, the ideas. It’s the anger, rage and conflict. On cable shows when two guests start yelling and talking over each other and just watch the smug look on the hosts face — and usually the host will say, “We have to leave it here but we want to have the two of you back!”
SOME MORE COVERAGE AND REACTION ON THIS:
—The Huffington Post:
A seething Van Susteren took to her blog to denounce Tyson’s comments and Carlson’s decision to publish what she called “vile” content. While she called Tyson “a thug,” she reserved most of her ire for Carlson, a friend whom she said should have exercised better judgement as a journalist, a husband and a father.
The Fox News host called him “a pig” and a “purveyor of smut,” insisting that the post constituted “violence against women.” She accused him of publishing the sensational quotes to boost traffic to his website, which she suspected “is not doing well.”
She also insisted that her reaction was not about being for or against Palin, but standing up for women in the media.
Carlson defended the publication of the story as newsworthy to Politico on Monday..
Carlson said his publication ran the story so people “could see what an animal Tyson is.” He added, “The truth is, we were not attacking Sarah Palin for a second, as you know.”
But Van Susteren, perhaps the fiercest Palin defender around, does not know. What’s more, her husband, John Coale, has served as a Palin consultant. She went after Carlson once again, saying, “I’m saying you are the purveyor of the worst smut against women.” With that, she shouted over him and returned to butchering his editorial note. “That’s just cover! That’s just cover. We’re not that stupid,” she said angrily. “You tried to hide your motive with that editorial note.”
Carlson had the final word. He looked at her almost sadly and remarked, “Read the piece Greta.”
What They Say They’re Fighting About: Sarah Palin and if the article was offensive. Van Susteren lays out some pretty hefty charges about the vulgarity of the article. Carlson and his team seem to agree with Van Susteren with their amended disclaimer–only after Van Susteren’s complaint and e-mail.
What They’re Really Fighting About: The state of The Daily Caller. Van Susteren sees this as “quick last breath to create buzz to keep it [The Daily Caller] afloat.” As appalled as Van Susteren is with Tyson’s comments, she seems more disturbed by her “friend’s” decision to post the story. Carlson claims that the lewd comments, in all their vulgarity, are newsworthy.
Who’s Winning Now: Van Susteren, but possibly both. Van Susteren has strong points–strong enough to make the editors at the Daily Caller add a disclaimer to the story*. But Van Susteren’s strong words weren’t enough to get the story pulled from the site. In fact, the Tyson story is still one of the most popular stories on the site, garnering a number of social media recommendations and their ensuing page views. Whether those views are viewers there to gawk at Tyson’s comments or admonish the website for its judgment, it’s the numbers that matter to Carlson–more so if his website is sinking as fast as Van Susteren asserts.
*Update: A Representative of The Daily Caller presented visual evidence that its editor’s note was published on Saturday morning, not Sunday like the time-stamp and Van Susteren’s response indicates.
I had hoped that Tucker and I would have a strong debate about violence against women and how women are treated by some in the media and it just deteriorated to the two of us yelling at each other. This was not about Gov Sarah Palin but rather repeating filth to demean women…any women. You could replace Palin’s name in the debate with other womens’ names. She was just the “poster child” of the debate since the filth was written about her – I had hoped to discuss that journalists should challenge women on issues rather than repeat vile filth that denigrates and even makes light of violence against women. I have defended women on both sides of the aisle and even in the middle. I agree, it is not very productive to yell at each other – which we did to each other. On the bright side, perhaps our unhappiness with each other will provoke discussion about the more important issue.
Carlson has responded that the Daily Caller in no way endorses the remarks made by Tyson and, in fact, condemns them. Carlson will be on Van Susteren’s show Monday to explain further.
While one cannot have sympathy with Van Susteren’s position, the fact that Palin has a certain effect on people is news and needs reporting. Palin has been the target of the most vile personal attacks in the history of the American republica, in large part because she is a woman, conservative, religious, intelligent, and may well become president of the United States. The phenomenon says more about her attackers, not only McGinniss, but HBO ranter Bill Maher, who has said things about Palin that would start fisticuffs in most social situations.
he assaults by people like McGinniss and Maher have actually garnered a degree of sympathy for Palin, even from people for whom her politics cause bouts of rage and revulsion. This is because there are limits, even in American political discourse. The attempt to not just destroy a woman in the public eye but to annihilate her, her family, and anyone who ever had regard for her has caused something remarkable — a backlash and a serious, as opposed to bogus, questioning about the level of political discourse. This too is something worth reporting, in this writer’s opinion.
One of the most hilarious Fox News segments ever aired tonight as Greta Van Susteren followed up her internet attack with a live confrontation with her colleague, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson. Carlson, you see, had the gall to report Mike Tyson’s disgusting comments about Sarah Palin in an effort (according to Carlson) to attack the mainstream media for ignoring them. Van Susteren accused Carlson of lying and called him “the purveyor of the worst smut… violence against women.” Must see TV!
As I posted earlier, disgusting, violent comments about women have been made many times on Fox News. But of course, they never involve Sarah Palin. In fact, when Governor Rick Perry made threatening comments about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Van Susteren dismissed them as “a touch of Texas swagger.”