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Archive for the ‘Women in the Media’ Category

If you have seen the 2003 Irish film, Veronica Guerin, you are aware of the dangers  journalists face operating within conflict zones.

Two years ago I read what was to be Marie Colvin’s final tweet.  She was one of very few western journalists in Homs, Syria during the February 2012 siege.  She tweeted that night that she had seen a baby die that day.  The next morning she, herself, was dead.  She had lost an eye covering a conflict in Sri Lanka in 2001.  This time she lost her life.

Only weeks ago, in Afghanistan,   Associated Press reporters Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer were attacked.  Gannon was wounded, Niedringhaus was killed.

Today comes the sad news that yet another courageous young woman journalist has been murdered in the field.  This time it is French photojournalist Camille Lepage who has been cut down while covering fighting in the Central African Republic.

These women were passionate about what they did and worked without widespread renown, but their courage and dedication were boundless.  We regret these losses, offer condolences to their loved ones, and celebrate them and all of their cohorts for their steadfast reporting in  difficult and deadly locations and situations.

Camille Lepage was only 26 years old.  May she rest in peace.  May they all.  That includes David Bloom, who was not murdered but died valiantly covering war thoroughly and with great gusto while embedded in Iraq.  Bless them all!.

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Dame Helen Mirren has chosen to portray some strong female characters,  among some of the real-life ones:

In the run-up to the glitz and glamor of Sunday’s Oscars, Dame Helen hosted the annual Women in Film reception celebrating women nominees and made her voice heard on the issue of the gender gap in the film industry.   This year, as far as we know, she dodged the red carpet and was all business.

If the montage shown at the Oscars to illustrate  this year’s theme of “Everyday Heroes” was any indication of the current representation of women in film,  Dame Helen’s focus on inequity is right on target.  Of the 21 clips shown (that I counted), only three were of real-life women heroes:  Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and “Maya,” the CIA operative in Zero Dark Thirty.   That is fewer than 15% and deplorable!  Karen Silkwood, Anne Frank, Joan of ArcVeronica Guerin, the Mirabal sisters the machinists of Dagenham, and Barbara Castle were nowhere to be seen in that montage.  The Academy and the industry can and must do much better.

That this comes as we begin Women’s History Month is both appropriate and ironic.

Thank you, Dame Helen!

Helen Mirren Takes on the Gender Gap

Lupita Nyong'o and Helen Mirren at the Women in Film event.Getty Images Lupita Nyong’o and Helen Mirren at the Women in Film event.

WEST HOLLYWOOD –

“Shut up,” said Helen Mirren, “’cause Mama’s in the house.”

“That includes all you guys over there near the bar,” she added, as she waited for the crowd to quiet down at the Women in Film reception on Friday evening. The boys did as the Dame commanded.

Ms. Mirren was out and about on the party circuit on Friday – she’d also made a brief appearance at the British film reception beforehand – and was this year’s co-host of the annual event, held at Fig & Olive restaurant. It spotlights female Oscar nominees – each wears a fragrant white gardenia corsage – and also serves as a booster moment to reverse the continued gender disparity in the industry.

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I have been struck for some time by the similarities between Ted Cruz and Old Joe McCarthy (I even see a physical resemblance), so I was particularly pleased to see Karen Finney raise the comparison on her weekend MSNBC show Disrupt.  On Sunday, Karen and guests Mark Tapscott (Washington Post), and Michelle Cottle (The Daily Beast) discussed “McCruz’s” latest campaign to sow fear of Obamacare likening this effort to the fear-stoking and resultant paranoia of Communists  and spies in our government that McCarthy effected during the Cold War.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Apparently as a result of this piece, Karen was invited to call in to a conservative radio show hosted by Hugh Hewitt.  When Hewitt attempted to derail Karen’s argument and refused to let her make her point, she hung up on him.  Here is how Mediate described the encounter.

When To Hang Up On A Right-Wing Radio Host

ARI RABIN-HAVT

There is an odd excitement in the right-wing media over an exchange between MSNBC host Karen Finney and conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. The right-wing talker invited Finney on his program after she linked the rhetoric of Ted Cruz to that of Joe McCarthy, an unsurprising comparison considering the Texas senator’s previous hunts for communists on the Harvard Law School faculty.

Finney’s comparison was not unique as numerous others have observed the same thing, and Cruz claimed the comparison to the disgraced senator led him to conclude he is “doing something right.”

Instead of discussing Cruz’s behavior, however, Hewitt decided to discuss the history of McCarthyism, ostensibly defending the Wisconsin senator.

“Was Alger Hiss a communist?” Hewitt asked. Finney responded, “I think that’s distracting from the point I was trying to make.”

Finney continued, “And the point I was trying to make was, you had Joe McCarthy was on a mission to root out communism in the government, and he did it in such a way that created a hysteria that was very unhealthy for this country. Do you really disagree with me on that?”

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Long-time fans of Karen’s can remember numerous times when she, as a guest on various MSNBC shows,  was prevented from making her point. Many of us tweeted at those times: “Let Karen talk!” Now that she has (finally!) her own spot, she is free to make her own points in her own time. She is also free to hang up on rude radio hosts that try to hijack her message.

Good going, Karen! Thank you for raising the topic, and thank you also for not letting Hewitt drag the discussion off course.  The tack he chose to take deserved disruption.

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MSNBC finally heard the cries of her fans, and Karen Finney starts hosting her show there today at 4 p.m. EST.  Not to be missed!  Check her out and “like” Disrupt’s page on Facebook!

 

Welcome to the Disrupt with Karen Finney facebook page! This is your place for exclusive content and conversation. You can also stay up to date when you follow us on twitter at @msnbcDisrupt http://bit.ly/12wOKzI

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A friend and former colleague of Huma Abedin (profiled here last week)  my favorite political analyst, Karen Finney  at The Hill,  has taken on Michele Bachmann and her crazy allegations.  Karen correctly points out the dangerous direct impact Bachmann & Co. are having on our fragile relationships with newly democratic Arab states.  Those who pelted Hillary Clinton’s car with tomatoes and shoes in Egypt believed allegations they read on blogs by Frank Gaffney and Lucianne Goldberg.  Michele Bachmann and her minions have endangered our Head Homegirl, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Karen Finney rightly and justifiably calls for her to be removed from her post on the Intelligence Committee.  We applaud Karen’s strong defense of Huma, her loyal concern for  Hillary Clinton, and her firm demand for Bachmann to answer for her dangerous claims. (I am filing this under “violence against women” among other categories because of the true physical danger this insanity poses to our hard-working Secretary of State and her Deputy Chief of Staff.)

So!  Once again the homegirls and boys here in the  Hillaryhood say “Go Karen!  You rock!”

Punish Bachmann

By Karen Finney – 07/23/12 06:51 PM ET
During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to Egypt, protesters threw shoes and tomatoes at the motorcade because they believe the Obama administration rigged recent elections to ensure the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi (now elected president), would win, all part of a secret pro-Islamist agenda. Reports indicated protesters cited American blogs like Lucianne.com (founded by conservative Lucianne Goldberg, who played a role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal); former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, known for his theory that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to impose Islamic Shariah Law and infiltrate the American government; as well as recent claims by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by loyalists to the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically naming Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary Clinton, and that billions of American dollars had been paid to the Muslim Brotherhood rather than aid to the Egyptian military.
SNIP
Bachmann and the others who signed on to her call for an investigation have abused their position as members of the House of Representatives, making baseless accusations that recklessly jeopardize an already tense situation in the Middle East, and endangering the life of an American secretary of State and Americans in the region by stoking anti-American sentiment.

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While everyone is paying attention to Greece and Spain, Italy is teetering  on the brink.  Some pundits say that the real  fate of the Eurozone lies in Italy’s ability to weather the current economic winds. It occurred to me that I did not know whether the Vatican was part of the EU.  It is not, but, oddly, its currency is the Vatican Euro which is made in Rome.

With brand names like Prada, Ferrari, and Armani continuing to do well, Italy may come through just fine.  That is not why I raised the subject.  It is pretty clear to anyone who knows anything about the Vatican why that sovereign state would eschew EU membership.  Legendary accumulated wealth and perennially resurfacing Vatican Bank scandals hint at roiling financial and economic storms beneath the serene surface.  A two thousand year history of borderline incestuous relations with European royalty may have established much of the Vatican’s wealth, but a side effect might be the belief that the tiny city-state gets to dictate what happens politically in other countries.  When Vatican officials tried to bitch-slap American nuns recently, the nuns not only stood their ground, but, in an all-American huff, decided to take their message on the road.

Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues

By
Published: June 5, 2012

In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Sister Simone Campbell is organizing a bus tour to draw attention to nuns’ work with the poor and to protest planned aid cuts.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The bus’s decal.

The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

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I am reminded of this incident.

5 Nuns in New Jersey Break Away Over Break With Tradition

By ROBERT HANLEY, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 08, 1988

Five cloistered nuns are protesting at their monastery here over the relaxation of rigid monastic lifestyles rooted in the 16th century.

Since Tuesday, the five have secluded themselves in the monastery’s second-floor infirmary, fearful they face eviction from the monastery because of their opposition to the recent introduction of a television, classical music and brighter lighting in the prayer chapel.

To the five sisters, these 20th-century society elements are distractions to their dedication to solitude, silence and daily contemplative prayer, and the abandonment of the reclusive principles of their order, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, founded in 1562.

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A brilliant friend, mentor, and colleague of mine, a naturalized American able to see our culture through eyes more objective than our own and trained in anthropology,  and I were driving past that cloister a few years later.  “I wish I could have spoken to the Pope during that stand-off,” she said.  “He didn’t realize he was dealing with protestant nuns.”  Her larger thesis was that all Americans, regardless of the religious tradition in which we are raised, are essentially protestants.  It’s what we do.  We protest.  Our nation was born in protest and the founders enshrined that right in the very first amendment to our constitution.  That is the importance they lent to the role of protest in our infant culture.

Sister Simone Campbell and her bus mates along with Sister Margaret Farley (whom the Vatican officials appear to regard as a ring leader in all of this disruption to their traditional message of vilification for the practices of birth control and gay marital union) stand with the grand majority of Roman Catholic American nuns who have not missed the connections between these practices and the economic health of the greater society.  Gay marriage more than affords equal rights to gay couples.  It permits medical coverage,  pension and social security benefits to dependents of those marriages – benefits that parties to straight marriage accept without the blink of an eye – to which, in fact, they feel entitled.  Birth control permits reproductive responsibility in families that calculate their fiscal ability to support a family at $235,000 per child per year 0 – 17 years (not including post secondary education).

The nuns are very much part of the fabric of American life.  Their long tradition of working on the ground with children and families allows them insights that men isolated in Vatican enclaves cannot possibly appreciate.  The Nuns on the Bus are out to educate Americans – voting citizens (which Vatican officials are not) – as to the dangers inherent in the proposed Ryan budget.  Les eminences grises could learn a thing or two from them as well.  American nuns have been educating Americans for more than two hundred years.  We applaud this effort by our all-American protestant Catholic nuns.  Go Sisters!!!!!!

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Perhaps Adam and Stacy closed down Texts to Hillary a  day too soon.  While many would agree that, indeed, they closed it at its absolutely unforeseeable pinnacle, events over the past two days resulted in a situation that simply cries out for one of their meme texts.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that for many weeks Republicans in a variety of positions: Congress,  presidential campaigns, state governments, have waged a brutal war on women, specifically our right to have access to and make decisions about our own health care.  One presidential candidate has maintained that according to his wife, who regularly meets with women on the campaign trail, the economy is of concern to women and birth control … not so much.

This position ignores the elephant in the room that women’s health care is in the context of the economy, but let’s not worry about that little wrinkle.  Mitt Romney believes that this is not an issue because his wife,  Ann,  has told him so.

Yesterday, CNN consultant  Hilary Rosen  remarked on the air  that Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life igniting the age-old (it seems) battle between working moms and stay-at-home moms.  So now we have a war within a war.  Now we have a war among women – again.

The meme I was thinking of had Ann texting HRC for advice on how to answer the other Hilary based on this National Journal article.

Ann Romney Tweets; What Would Hillary Do?

April 12, 2012 | 8:59 AM

You’ve come a long way, baby? Somehow the 2012 campaign has regressed  back to 1992 (some would say even decades earlier) when Hillary Clinton kicked up a storm for saying “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.”

The perceived knock on homemakers by the Yale-trained lawyer who went on to become First Lady came to mind when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen scoffed on CNN Wednesday that the wife of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney “has never actually worked a day in her life.” It was an insulting comment that revealed a lesson still unlearned from 1992. Work is work, whether it’s a paid office job or unpaid and generally thankless child-rearing. In a move clearly aimed at ginning up outrage among stay-at-home moms, Ann Romney joined Twitter to shoot back: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Reinhard makes excellent points.  In the course of the war on women, many have cited our preponderance in the population and pointed out that this majority is under the control of the minority faction, that this 52% of the populace should pull together and grab the controls.  Why should we not have a larger voice?   Well, my sisters, that is never going to happen while there is division in the ranks.  She may not have meant to, but Hilary Rosen opened an old wound.  She has countered that her remark was not about Ann Romney but about single, working moms.

So, on second thought, perhaps it is fortunate that the meme site closed.   The last thing we need is gasoline poured on this fire.  Women need to get past this false division and focus on what unites us and is in our best interests.   We will never prevail and have control over our own destinies if we do not.

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