October 22, 2010

2 ways of looking at Michelle Obama.

1. She's "an incredibly graceful surrogate” for the President and inspires “warm and fuzzy” feelings.

2. "She's got this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going. If she starts talking... her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts to coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O. to being something of an albatross."

#1 is from Nina Totenberg, who still works for NPR. And #2 is from Juan Williams, who used to work for NPR. If statements like #1 are acceptable and statements like #2 get you fired, is that not viewpoint discrimination?

61 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

They are now calling Juan Williams a lawn jockey?

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

I think Frau Totenberg forgot to finish her sentence: She gives warm and fuzzy feelings to liberals. Not, however, to the rest of us.

traditionalguy said...

Nicely argued, Professor. #1 is of course what we are being told that we believe; while #2 expresses our actual thoughts, thus reinforcing them. From a mind controller's perspective, Juan Williams was poison to the edifice that was being slowly constructed by the old cult trick that says "everyone we know agrees with this" ( a serious effort of the Journolist group) and carefully isolating their controlees from interraction with outside family and society.

Pogo said...

My 2 ways of looking at her include turning away and turning the channel.

I don't follow first ladies much. They all bathe in reflected glory or animus.

It's only when they get directly involved with policy that teeth should be bared, like Hillary in healthcare, or Michelle in re: food.

Scott M said...

It's the point at the heart of the matter. Anyone else enjoying this as much as I am? It' ridiculous how much fun this is turning out to be. Especially in light of Williams' two million dollar contract offer.

jsled said...

Statement #2 is nothing like the statement that resulted in Williams termination.

Fred4Pres said...

The Left: We will fight bigotry with more bigotry.

Of course the lawn jockey is actually kind of nuianced as a racist trope.

rhhardin said...

1
Among twenty snowy mountains
the only moving thing
was the pieman coming.

- Victor Contoski

FormerTucsonan said...

@Clyde

I think Frau Totenberg forgot to finish her sentence: She gives warm and fuzzy feelings to liberals. Not, however, to the rest of us.

I'm sure Himmler said something similar!

1jpb said...

I don't have a problem w/ Michelle. Same for Nina and Juan. I would say that none of these three seem to be especially brilliant, but, living in a proverbial glass house, I'm not looking down while making that observation.

LilyBart said...

She is neither. Michelle is certainly not ugly, and she has a number of positive attributes, but she is nowhere near the accomplished, graceful creature the media describes. But for the media to continue to try to sell her as something she is not tends to build backlash and resentment toward the woman. I think this is largely why we’ve seen the level of ugliness directed at her (that and the rather strident comments she made during the 2008 elections)


Michelle enjoys fashion, but, like a lot of women who like fashion, she isn't particularly good at it (her clothes usually don't fit well, and she doesn't seem to understand what shapes flatters her).

She is not physically graceful in her movements, and she has poor posture.

Although she is well educated, she hasn't achieved anything particularly remarkable and noteworthy herself – not to warrant the level of praise she receives on this account.

roesch-voltaire said...

I guess I would like some sources or examples for these observation rather than suggesting that their feelings represent the current zeitgeist.

DADvocate said...

The NPR/Juan Williams debacle is just another example of liberal fascism and the overwhelming hypocrisy of liberal belief. Toe the line, or else.

America's Politico said...

I am not sure but I think Nina T. was once married to a Democrat Sen. She is OK to NPR. Nobody can touch her.

Juan is the best.

Now, the October surprise as made a mess of my polling.

I hope the House and Senate victories are there, but I am awfully nervous now.

Why, NPR, why now? Why not they do this after Nov. 2? Why?

Moose said...

How in gods name can they justify this after having Daniel Schorr ranting and raving on their evening newscasts for like the last century?

Methinks it's a bit hard...

John said...

Lilybart,

You are exactly correct. Michelle Obama is an average looking middle aged mom. It is the worst sort of racist patronizing for the media to claim she is glamorous in the way Sardozky's wife is or Jackie Kennedy was. And the more they try to shove such a rediculous falsehood down the country's throats the more there will be an ugly backlash against her.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ah the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.

One of those statements happens to be true. Yet the person who uttered the prescient warning gets fired.

cubanbob said...

NPR just blew their brains out. The next congress simply won't fund them and their stations. And with the government borrowing fifty cents for every dollar it spends, spending on NPR is simply not defensible. PBS should also be very nervous, they to will be on the chopping block soon enough.

The government has finally come to the outer limits of what it can borrow. The lenders will want to see a more disciplined spending scheme and that will require substantial spending cuts and non-essential spending such as NPR will be the easy low hanging fruit that will be cut first.

former law student said...

They didn't terminate Juan's contract for saying Michelle was a Mau-Mau, did they?

Robert Cook said...

But it was not Williams' statement about Mrs. Obama that got him fired...so I fail to see the point of this particular comparison.

GMay said...

"Michelle is certainly not ugly, and she has a number of positive attributes, but she is nowhere near the accomplished, graceful creature the media describes. But for the media to continue to try to sell her as something she is not tends to build backlash and resentment toward the woman."

Agree completely and would like to add the she brought a bit of it on herself by hectoring us on kids' diets. When public figures get into any sort of lecture on what is really none of their business, they'd better be able to live under an electron microscope.

Robert Cook said...

"How in gods name can they justify this after having Daniel Schorr ranting and raving on their evening newscasts for like the last century?"

Was Schorr a news analyst and reporter for them, or an editorialist, a more substantive Andy Rooney, if you will?

(I'm not asking this rhetorically...I don't know. I liked Schorr when he was on CBS, but I never heard him on NPR, as I don't often tune in NPR.)

GMay said...

Robert Cook said: "But it was not Williams' statement about Mrs. Obama that got him fired...so I fail to see the point of this particular comparison."

According to NPR's these statements violate their ethics code, which seems to be selectively enforced when hit by the light of day.

Shanna said...

Especially in light of Williams' two million dollar contract offer.

Which was a pretty obvious result. I just love that NPR, which has been a frequent targets of efforts to defund by fiscal conservatives, thought this would be an awesome thing to do two weeks before the election. During pledge week. Hee!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think that Obama should weigh in on this. He butts in on everything else.

Did NPR act stupidly? After all...they fired a Black man.

Or

Does that only apply if it is a Black man who toes the liberal/leftist mantra and hasn't gone off of the plantation?

former law student said...

Let's try this viewpoint discrimination thingie:

Professor Althouse is incredibly attractive, possessing an incisive legal mind.

Professor Althouse is a seething cauldron of rage, Tim McVeigh in a twinset and pearls.

Turtledove said...

They've been after Juan ever since he made comments about Rev. Wright and Obama. The official line at NPR and just about everywhere else except for Fox and talk radio, was that there was NO story there. I respected Juan for speaking out about Rev. Wright.

ndspinelli said...

two sets of rules for chrissake...when the hell did you think that changed prof Althouse??

edutcher said...

The dumbest thing the media tried to do after the coronation (really, beatification; he is a "sort of God, after all"), was try to turn her into Jackie Kennedy.

Ann Althouse said...

If statements like #1 are acceptable and statements like #2 get yet fired, is that not viewpoint discrimination?

There you go again, trying to be logical.

Fred4Pres said...

They are now calling Juan Williams a lawn jockey?

Isn't that what always happened to runaway slaves?

ricpic said...

She was never the new Jackie O. Not her fault. But those who insist on the aesthetically challenged being the aesthetically pleasing sin against the aesthetic order, which is part of the moral order.

lemondog said...

....is that not viewpoint discrimination?

No. From NPR perspective if it toes the party line it is not discriminatory but TRUTH incarnate.

Toe .......or be purged.

Bring me the head of......

Used to be a PBS supporter and would watch the various news broadcasts including an early (6:am) Saturday morning Wallstreet Journal Editorial Report with Paul Gigot until PBS officials frightened by the 1st Amendment and diverse opinion, drummed them out of their hallowed halls.

Video with final words by Paul Gigot

Fen said...

During pledge week.

Well, Soros owns them now.

DADvocate said...

The story of George Washington and Jocko Graves and the lawn jockeys supposed use in the Underground Railroad have no basis in the historical record.

I live within 5 miles of Rankin House, a stop on the Underground Railroad and work within easy walking distance of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and have never heard of either reference.

However, black jockeys used to be big in horse racing. Black jockeys won 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbys.

Michael McNeil said...

They didn't terminate Juan's contract for saying Michelle was a Mau-Mau, did they?

Blogger (and former California Democratic senatorial candidate) Mickey Kaus wrote today: “It's clear from this interview, for example, that Williams' firing was in part delayed punishment for him saying that Michelle Obama had  ‘this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going on.’”

Michael McNeil said...

Not sure what happened to the formatting on that posting. A Blogger glitch perhaps?

Nals said...

Statement 2 is not what got Williams fired. He made a statement about a group of people that is the definition of bigotry: that one's motives, their very soul, can be derived from appearance.

Quick show of hands: who among the commentators would back a law requiring Muslims to register with local law enforcement?

Marshal said...

" jsled said...
Statement #2 is nothing like the statement that resulted in Williams termination."

Many comments along these lines. The problem is, NPR has said they have long been concerned about Williams' comments on Fox. Was this quote one of them?

Williams is clearly on a shorter leash than other reporters, which is why he was canned for something as innocuous as this. Is there much doubt his willingness to deviate from the liberal party line is the reason for his short leash? Is there any other reason for it?

Marshal said...

"He made a statement about a group of people that is the definition of bigotry: that one's motives, their very soul, can be derived from appearance."

Why do you believe this? It isn't true.

We all know a certain subset of that religion would like to kill us. Williams notes that this fact occurs to him when he sees a member of this group.

But he goes out of his way to establish that the group should not be tarred with the actions of a subset. Your accusation is not consistent with this clearly stated view.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Let's try this viewpoint discrimination thingie:

Professor Althouse is incredibly attractive, possessing an incisive legal mind.

Professor Althouse is a seething cauldron of rage, Tim McVeigh in a twinset and pearls.



Since both of those viewpoints are matters of opinion, do you think that you should be fired from your job for expressing either one?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Quick show of hands: who among the commentators would back a law requiring Muslims to register with local law enforcement?


Are you insane. No one would back such an unconstituional and discriminatory law.

vnjagvet said...

Quick show of hands: who among the commentators would back a law requiring Muslims to register with local law enforcement?

What makes you think that anyone here would raise their hand?

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

"...is that not viewpoint discrimination?"


YES!

Michael said...

Nals: "Quick show of hands: who among the commentators would back a law requiring Muslims to register with local law enforcement?"

This is not only outrageous and incredibly stupid but clearly the suggestion of a liberal. If you asked the same question on one of your silly sophomoric lefty blogs and substituted the word Conservative or Christian for Muslims you would actually get a response.

Meanwhile, fuck off.

Hagar said...

What this is about, is that PBS/NPR is a largely publicly funded non-profit foundation organized for educational purposes and is supposed to be strictly politically non-partisan, and it has now exposed itself as being anything but.

Furthermore, Juan Williams, whatever one may think of his opinions - and in my case, that is not much - is an idealist without a mean bone in his body, so we just automatically rise to his defense.

Plus, of course, the current political climate.

Ankur said...

I wonder if Juan Williams would cross the street if he saw me approaching. I mean, I am not muslim, but I am from the same part of the world that a lot of muslims live in.

http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com/

Marshal said...

An update for those claiming Williams wasn't fired for comment #2:

Here's an interview from the AJC with Shiller specifically referencing the quote as something that was over the line. So your comments are like saying strike one is irrelevant because only strike three matters.

"Q: So did Juan really get fired over just those Muslim comments? [He said he was uncomfortable with Muslims dressed in traditional garb on airplanes during a Fox News telecast yesterday.]

A: There have been several instances over the last couple of years where we have felt Juan has stepped over the line. He famously said last year something about Michelle Obama and Stokely Carmichael. [The quote on Fox News last year: Obama "has this Stokely-Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going" and that she'll be an "albatross" for President Obama.]. This isn’t a case of one strike and you’re out."

former law student said...

Since both of those viewpoints are matters of opinion, do you think that you should be fired from your job for expressing either one?


If my value to my employer depended on the credibility of my utterances, then I would deserve being fired for utterance 2 (not based in reality) more than I would deserve being fired for utterance 1 (flattery-enhanced truth).

c3 said...

Mr. Cook:
Was Schorr a news analyst and reporter for them,

He was a news analyst. He was on every Saturday reviewing the weeks news. I couldn't stand it because:
1) He didn't analyze , he just regurgitated. As much "analysis" as reading the headlines on Google News
2) Always managed to mention Watergate in any analysis. It seemed Mr. Schor's insight and worldview never matured beyond Watergate.

And that's not even mentioning his politics.

LilyBart said...

Marshal - I think the real problem is that he was on Fox News at all. I have heard that Mara Liasson has been given grief over this as well.

NPR and their 'types' hate Fox News and think nobody should have anything to do with it.

Whis is funny if you think about it. They complain that Fox News lacks balance. But Fox brings on intelligent thinkers from the left to debate politics. You'd think this would make them happy. But it appears that they only want to see the END of Fox news.

Marshal said...

LilyBart,

I agree 100%. The left lives BAMN. Liberals who like to believe they are moderates close their eyes and whisper grace so they can pretend they don't see it.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Nals said...

Quick show of hands: who among the commentators would back a law requiring Muslims to register with local law enforcement?

Nobody.

Ankur said...

I wonder if Juan Williams would cross the street if he saw me approaching.

No.

Geez, did Professor Althouse declare this Dumb Question Day while I wasn't looking?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

As the visitor approaches the fascist Tea Party camp, he/she is challenged, 'Who goes there?' The response, 'Stokely Carmichael in a dress.' to which is responded (as to Juan), 'Come on in!'

AST said...

If a white man had said that . . .

NPR made it clear that they fired him because of complaints and pressure from "listeners" who knew that Fox wouldn't buckle to pressure, so decided to go after his job. Talk about standing up for your principles.

MamaM said...

Very often it's a single comment or insight that snags my attention and either opens a door of awareness or challenges me to think differently.

Today, tracking a pieman through 20 mountains led to a similar comment made in an Althouse post in 2008 on pie

Behind that, this illustration a year later.

By what trick did the raven in Wallace Steven's poem turn into a pieman?

The magician: a former KU English professor, Victor Contoski, with a penchant for puns. Since retirement he's "developed an interest in spiritual matters and the concept that thoughts can have an effect on the physical world."

lemondog said...

Behind that, this illustration a year later.

The pieman cometh

Fen said...

NPR made it clear that they fired him because of complaints and pressure from "listeners"

Yes. Islam was offended. Now that their complaints are backed by the threat of violence, all they need do is write a few letters for the West to fold.

/via wiki:

dhimmitude represents a behavior dictated by fear (terrorism), pacifism when aggressed, rather than resistance, servility because of cowardice and vulnerability.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jamboree said...

I was surprised at what Nina Totenberg actually looks like. My picture all these years was completely different - more of a Rachel Maddow precursor.

Did she major in medieval poetry? Does she play the cello?

Yeech.

Just checked - she comes from a violinist family, but has NO DEGREE AT ALL HERSELF. Only one year of college making Sarah Palin more educated.

Hahaha. Not that I hold it against her. You should not have to have degrees for many, many jobs that now require them in their devalued state. There was a cereal maker near me who wanted an MBA to market KASHI - give me an effing break.

WV: Calishi: The new MBA-approved name of the California version of kashi. It's Calicious.

deborah said...

Well, I just got the 2 ways of looking at Michelle and the 13 ways.

I'm slow as Moses.