Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has publicly apologized after ordering one of his aides to rape a pregnant journalist.
Zhirinovsky said he had “spoken out of turn” when addressing the female reporter at a press conference on Friday, and claimed he did not know that she was pregnant when he began his tirade.
"I apologize to her and to everyone in general that I may have offended," Zhirinovsky said on Vladimir Solovyov’s Sunday evening talk show on the Rossia-1 channel.
I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone that I think this is a particularly terrible apology.
"[E]veryone … that I may have offended" is always a bad way to go because it suggests the offender thinks a fair number of people weren’t or wouldn’t be offended; it’s an especially bad choice of words in this case because everyone who saw or heard about this man’s insane tirade was offended.
Worse, though, was his attempt to minimize his offense, saying only that he’d “spoken out of turn.” In fact, what he said was that one female reporter should be raped, that a second female reporter who refused to stand idly by during the tirade was a lesbian, and that pregnant women in general should remain home where they belong.
That he attempts to excuse himself by claiming “he did not know that she was pregnant when he began his tirade” compounds his repugnant behavior by implying that none of this would have been seen as a problem if he’d said these things to or about a woman who wasn’t pregnant. In other words, he seems to believe that telling his aides to rape a female reporter who asked a question he didn’t like is only offensive if that reporter turns out to be pregnant. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t realize she was pregnant” might be something to say if you fail to offer your seat to a woman on the subway. Given what Zhirinovsky said, whether or not the reporter was pregnant isn’t an issue.
It’s pretty stunning and horrible to have to write any of this, but certainly not more stunning or horrible than Zhirinovsky’s behavior.
1. This isn’t breaking news.
2. You spelled “Seinfeld” wrong.
Otherwise, great work.
I’m pretty sure CNN is now a very clever parody of a news network.
CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatives. Now, it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy.
He’s talking, of course, about Stephen Colbert … who hates “traditional American values” so much that he teaches Sunday school.
I can only imagine that Rush is upset about CBS choosing Colbert to replace Letterman because he believes the real traditional values are taught in synagogues on Saturdays.
I’m going to go ahead and guess that Rush doesn’t know the first thing about Colbert — which is bolstered by the fact that he calls him “Kohl-burt” rather than “Kohl-bear” — except that his Comedy Central persona satirizes conservatives. And that was enough for Rush to give his well-reasoned opinion.
On the plus side, at least his ridiculous opinion wasn’t as off-the-wall as this.
Breaking News: No News To Report On This Story In Days.
It’s impressive the way that CNN went all in on this story, just dropped everything and decided that they were going to be the missing airplane network.
But at what point does CNN give up on this and report news again? Ever?
CNN’s headline reads “Hillary Clinton must once again win over some in Jewish community” and the text of the article implies that Clinton might have some problems with the Jewish community in 2016 because of her affiliation with the Obama administration and its refusal to be as belligerent toward Iran as the Netanyahu administration insists is always appropriate.
The trouble is that all the data about “the Jewish vote” in the article itself completely undermines the headline — unless by “some” the author meant fewer than 30% of Jewish voters:
According to a 2012 report by The Solomon Project, a nonpartisan public policy organization, Jewish support for Democrats has grown since the 1990s. When Republican Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980 and 1984, he garnered between 31% and 37% of the Jewish votes. But starting in 1992, when Bill Clinton was first elected to the White House, American Jews began to gravitate to the Democratic Party.
In fact, at no point between 1990 to 2008 has a Democratic candidate for the presidency won less than 70% of the Jewish vote. In 2008, Obama won nearly three-quarters of the Jewish vote.
But history is also changing.
In 2012, Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to win less than 70% of the Jewish vote when 69% of the community supported the president.
In other words, if Clinton fails to make herself seem any better than Obama, who has been vilified for no reason as the worst American president when it comes to Israel, she might only manage to garner 70% of the Jewish vote.
So, yeah, I’m sure her advisers are telling her to spend as much time and money as possible in order to ensure that the four decade stranglehold that the Democrats have had on “the Jewish vote” doesn’t somehow magically disappear for no reason.
I’m not sure the death penalty has really been on the national radar since the execution of Troy Davis back in 2011, but I’m pleased to see CNN producing a show on the topic. My hope is that it sparks a conversation about the many ways in which the death penalty is a miserable failure and why our society is better off without it.
Judging from the comments [don’t read the comments!] on the stories on CNN’s website right now, though, I think death penalty opponents are going to need more than an hour-long CNN special report because people who love the death penalty don’t really know much about it, but they definitely know they love it when someone gets executed and they don’t much care about anything beyond that.
Here’s my lone (and pretty tongue-in-cheek) contribution to the wailing and gnashing of teeth inspired by Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday op-ed about the lack of real world engagement by university professors (especially political scientists).
No word yet from Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth or Kristof on their reactions to my argument. I assume I’ll hear back once they’ve had more time to read and digest the points I made about the way a philosophical grounding that works in a pluralistic society impacts people who want to shore up the idea of human rights and prevent real world abuses.
Tom Perkins is doing anything he can to stay in the news:
"The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said.
"But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?"
The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: “I intended to be outrageous, and it was.”
Perkins seemed to be aware that he was courting controversy, saying that his voting proposal would “make you more angry than my letter to the Wall Street Journal.”
In all seriousness, though, an undergrad wrote up this idea a year and a half ago and his peers in my class laughed about it for about twenty minutes. If Perkins is looking for more ideas to make people angry and pay attention to him, he should consider getting in touch with that undergrad, since virtually everything he writes gets lampooned all over the internet.
Alternatively, Perkins can just see what else he can compare to the Holocaust.
In what might be the most poorly thought-out letter to editor I’ve seen outside of a student newspaper, venture capitalist Tom Perkins foresees a coming Holocaust of rich people in America:
Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.
Everything is Nazism all the time … especially the way rich people are treated in America.
I hadn’t written anything about the controvery created by a piece of reporting at Grantland earlier this week, but then I heard this take on it from the Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis and decided I needed to write something.
Bill Simmons, Grantland’s editor, published a long piece a few days ago that explained and apologized for what happened with an investigative piece that ended up outing its subject as transgender (to one of her investors while she was still alive and then, when the piece was published, to the whole world after she had killed herself).
Lewis, in this short video clip, takes issue with Simmons’ apology because he feels that the backlash against the Grantland piece was PC thuggery and damages people’s ability to do good investigative reporting.
What’s interesting — and terrible — about Lewis’ commentary is that he absolutely fails to consider the depth of Simmons’ mea culpa, lampooning what I take to be the most important point that Simmons makes.
But that speaks to our collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community in general, as well as our biggest mistake: not educating ourselves on that front before seriously considering whether to run the piece ….
Whether you believe we were right or wrong, let’s at least agree that we made an indefensible mistake not to solicit input from ANYONE in the trans community.
What Simmons recognizes — albeit so very, very late — is that no one on his staff stopped for even a moment to think about things from the perspective of a member of a community that is radically misunderstood, marginalized, and persecuted.
Lewis bemoans and ridicules the notion that a reporter or an editorial staff ought to consider things from the perspective of the Other, making clear that he completely missed the central lesson of the whole Grantland controversy.
Can you do investigative journalism and follow a story’s unexpected twists and turns? You bet. Is it possible to also take into account how your reporting might impact people who are unlike you in some important respect? I would certainly hope so.
Almost 70 years ago, South Carolina electrocuted 14-year-old George Stinney, the youngest person to be executed by an American state since the 1800s. Family members today say he’s innocent, and while they can’t bring him back, they want his name cleared.
A black teen in the Jim Crow South, Stinney was accused of murdering two white girls, ages 7 and 11, as they hunted for wildflowers in Alcolu, about 50 miles southeast of Columbia.
Stinney, according to police, confessed to the crime. No witness or evidence that might vindicate him was presented during a trial that was over in fewer than three hours. An all-white jury convicted him in a flash, 10 minutes, and he was sentenced to “be electrocuted, until your body be dead in accordance with law. And may God have mercy on your soul,” court documents say.
Fewer than three months after the girls’ deaths, Stinney was escorted to an electric chair at a Columbia penitentiary, built for much larger defendants. The chair’s straps were loose on Stinney’s 5-foot-1-inch, 95-pound frame, and books were placed on the seat so he would fit in the chair.
On its website, CNN is asking: “Was execution of boy, 14, justice?”
This seemed to me like such an unbelievably ridiculous question for so many reasons that I was planning to do nothing but lampoon CNN in this blog post …
But then I read the comments.
And — guess what? — plenty of people think that the confession of a 14 year old is all the evidence you need for justice to be done; that the word of a white police officer who says a black boy confessed to killing two white girls is clearly unimpeachable in the Jim Crow South; that due process clearly doesn’t matter all that much when it comes to justice; and that, even if he was guilty, executing a 14 year old somehow equates with justice.
Melissa Harris-Perry has publicly apologized to the Romney family (and to all families who were offended by the segment that aired last week in which her guests made fun of a Romney family photo).
It’s a fine apology, better than the one she posted on Twitter earlier in the week (because an apology on Twitter seems to me to be the lowest of low-cost apologies). Though Harris-Perry spends some time explaining the intention behind airing the photograph, and explains that the panelists were meant to provide “off-the-cuff” comedic commentary, she recognizes in her apology that the intent doesn’t matter and that the result was unacceptable.
One thing that’s nicely highlighted by Harris-Perry’s apology is the way that a good apology tends to be bound up with the person’s conception of herself. This is, I suspect, why Harris-Perry becomes so upset toward the end of her apology. She had to offer an apology because the segment on her program was offensive to others … but also because she recognizes that it was violative of her understanding of herself. The apology, then, differs from many public apologies because it isn’t offered simply to placate others. What she hopes, with her apology, is to restore the public’s positive perception of her by demonstrating that the way the segment unfolded was very much out of line with who she is and what she believes.