What Really Matter to the Media

We’ve frequently complained about the media’s reluctance to cover Obama fuckups and scandals. From IRS harassment to the inflation of Obamacare numbers, they’ve shown a reticence to take him on until they basically have no choice.

Well, you’ll be pleased to find out that the media has found a scandal they can get exercised about: some staffer saying something dumb:

Five days after Elizabeth Lauten published a Facebook post criticizing the outfits worn by President Barack Obama’s daughters, the previously obscure Republican Hill staffer is being inundated with threatening messages and major media outlets are pouring resources into tracking her moves and digging into her past.

Two network news vans camped outside of Lauten’s parents home in North Carolina on Tuesday, one day after she resigned as communication director for Rep. Steven Fincher (R., Tenn.) due to the controversy. Lauten was not at the house.

That morning, the Washington Post also assigned one of its foreign affairs correspondents to comb through an archive of columns Lauten wrote for her college newspaper in 2006 and 2007. The investigation found that Lauten had supported intervention in Darfur, criticized Facebook as an invasion of privacy, and warned people against “making race an issue.”

Lauten must have done something really awful to merit this kind of attention. Here is the entirety of what she said:

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

The response was a storm of criticism and threats on social media, segments on major news networks and a resignation from her job.

Look. I get that the children of politicians are off limits. I’ve never said anything about Obama’s daughters. And there really hasn’t been much to say. They’ve been mostly out of sight and have always crossed me as fine young ladies. They did have a bit of “daaaaad” body language going on during the turkey pardoning. I joked about it (at Obama’s expense) but I didn’t see anything worthy of criticizing. Lauten’s comment crosses me as a dumb over-reaction to nothing.

But what is the reaction to her comment but a dumb over-reaction to nothing. Lauten’s comment is not racist or particularly cruel. It’s certainly not as harsh as the kind of criticisms that were frequently thrown at, say, the Bush daughters or John Robert’s kids:


Now, Lauten is in communications and her job presumably included an assumption that she wouldn’t embarrass her boss. Besides, in a city where you can keep your job even if you’re involved in serious scandals at the IRS, State Department, Veterans Affairs or the Department of Justice, an actual job loss is refreshing, in its own way. She even gave a full-throated apology — within hours of the initial post — for being mean, not one of these “I’m sorry if” constructions that politicians frequently use.

Still, what in the world was the media doing reporting on this non-story and firing up the mob? The Washington Free Beacon reported that “major media outlets are pouring resources into tracking her moves and digging into her past.” This included two network news vans camping outside of her parents’ home in North Carolina and a search of Lauten’s leaked juvenile records and college writings.

This is insanity and each and every person involved should be ashamed of himself or herself. If you were involved, you are a big part of what’s wrong with journalism and you need to check yourself.

Hemingway goes on to compare WaPo’s non-coverage of the Kermit Gosnell mass murder and their non-coverage of the HRC head’s arrest for child molestation charges to nearly a dozen articles about someone no one had ever heard of sniping on Facebook. She notes the hours of media coverage against their non-coverage of Jonathan Gruber. She notes, as I did, their hypocrisy when it came to criticizing the Bush daughters. Or Bristol Palin. Or Willow Palin. Hell, the Left Wing Echosphere just erupted in a huge feeding frenzy over a drunken brawl the Palin family got into because … Palin! The gleefully played audio of Bristol tearfully talking to the cops.

I have really come to hate these social media jihads against people who say something dumb. We all say dumb things. Probably thousands of people have said something dumber or meaner than what Lauten said. But all it takes is for one comment to “go viral” and someone’s life gets wrecked.

Enough. It’s one thing to call someone out and ask for an apology. It’s another to hound them relentlessly. With someone in a position of real power, fire away. But let’s stop singling out random individuals for unending harassment because their particular dumb comment, in the sea of dumb comments out there, happened to get our attention.

Comments are closed.

  1. Xetrov

    It appears the MSM put more resources digging into this chick’s past for one Facebook post about Obama’s kids than they did to investigate Obama’s past in 2007.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    It appears the MSM put more resources digging into this chick’s past for one Facebook post about Obama’s kids than they did to investigate Obama’s past in 2007.


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  3. Technomad

    And let us not forget the hell Sarah Palin’s family was put through by the “unbiassed” media. They were so firmly in the Black Messiah’s camp that they’d have accused the Palins of ritual murder if they had thought of it.

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  4. InsipiD

    None of what was said was anywhere close to as mean as the people who (still) suggested that then 17 year old Bristol Palin was Trig’s mother. As I recall, nobody was fired or forced to quit.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    None of what was said was anywhere close to as mean as the people who (still) suggested that then 17 year old Bristol Palin was Trig’s mother. As I recall, nobody was fired or forced to quit.

    That was one of the most bizarre and eventually disgusting things I’ve ever seen. It all started with a picture of Bristol where they were speculating on where her fat was versus where it should be. And it didn’t matter that Bristol was pregnant and the only way she could have given birth to Trig was if she got pregnant again about four weeks after giving birth. It was absurd. And the ringleader — Sullivan — still refuse to answer for it. He falls back on the “well, I was just asking questions” bullshit dodge.

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  6. ilovecress

    I’m pretty sure the bias is towards laziness. You could investigate and research, draw conclusions, fact check and try and educate the public about the grey moral and legal areas within the workings of national Governments.

    or you could retweet.

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  7. Xetrov

    I’m pretty sure the bias is towards laziness.

    I’m sure the evident bias in your statement was very lazy. I’d say completely lacking any rational thought concerning media bias, actually.

    It’s “laziness” to park two network vans outside the parents home of someone who made a Facebook post that was negative to Obama’s kids? It’s laziness to assign someone specifically to dig into said Facebook poster’s past? That’s a little more than a simple retweet.

    Let us not forget the WaPo’s “factcheck” of a flipping SNL skit last week, meanwhile the majority of people still think Palin said she could see Russia from her house in 2007.

    All spawned from laziness according to cress.

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  8. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  9. Section8

    Well she resigned as she should have. As far as the kids looking bored, I’m sure they were. I would have been at that age. Her resignation is about as far as this needs to go. As far as kid bashing, keep that shit in the hands of the left where it’s not only tolerated, but celebrated half the time.

    Why didn’t Palin speak up earlier about what Putin was doing in the Ukraine?

    When in 2007 (because she should have been clairvoyant) or now? She’s not in office now so this is irrelevant. New age “intellectualism” would say this is important, but in reality we should be more concerned about the opinions and policies of those who are actually in office. Perhaps she could have sent someone on her behalf saying Putin was pissed off over a youtube video. That type of “deep thinking” seems to resonate with the new age intellectuals on the left.

    In the end, she was running for VP. Perhaps a more apples to apples comparison would have been to compare her to Biden, who was portrayed as some distinguished senator back then rather than the bumbling idiot we see today. Perhaps a little more vetting would have exposed this.

    What was Obama’s foreign policy experience compared to McCain’s? Oh yeah Obama had a PR trip to the Wailing wall to put in a note. Maybe an SNL skit would be in order there. Palin was simply stating her proximity to Russia as reason that she had to have least some interest in what was going on there, not that she’s an expert. Of course no one bothered to ask the actual PRESIDENTIAL candidate what his experience was.

    Lessons learned from all this that hopefully America will not repeat.

    1) The GOP shouldn’t have put in more of the same with McCain when they already had enough, on both foreign wars and domestic spending. Of course weren’t we supposed to be out of Afghanistan by now with the guy that was voted in? What happened there? How did ISIS explode from out of nowhere with no one noticing? Is that Palin’s fault? Which leads to point number 2

    2) We should avoid voting advice and education from purely entertainment and gossip outlets like SNL, clowns on HBO and Comedy Central, and MTV

    Hopefully this country has learned its lesson.

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  10. ilovecress

    It’s “laziness” to park two network vans outside the parents home of someone who made a Facebook post that was negative to Obama’s kids? It’s laziness to assign someone specifically to dig into said Facebook poster’s past? That’s a little more than a simple retweet.

    Absolutely. To take your own example – all that resource could have gone towards, say, investigating the IRS Stuff, or picking through which bits of pork are in which bill, or what lobbyist meetings are being held and are influencing which bills. All of which would take weeks to write a long, nuanced story before being published.

    But no, sit a couple of vans outside a staffers house, and report on something that went viral on facebook. Hopefully you catch her topless. Write a story about SNL and the famous face in the lead picture will increase web traffic.

    It’s how the media works these days. I can honestly tell you that no matter how biased the journalist is, if they aren’t getting pageviews, then they don’t get to work any more. And the quicker you can get more pageviews, the better you do. Then once you’ve got that hit, scour twitter for something else to write about.Quality doesn’t pay, quantity does. It’s about ‘content’ now.

    See the Daily Mail for an awesome example – and it totally works.

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  11. AlexInCT

    I’m pretty sure the bias is towards laziness

    No it is not Cress: there is fucking definitely an agenda behind this, and they are willing to do anything to push it. There are so many examples to pick from that it require a blog of its own to do this. But just look at the current bruhahah Rolling Stone has found itself in telling another bullshit “War on womenz” story about some frat guys raping some poor girl. When I read that story it immediately felt fake and reeked of the myths about how bad frat boys are, and I suspected we would spend another year or two hearing how this poor victim was not getting justice only to end up with another Christen Mangum story. The only thing I could not see was how fast this narrative would fall apart this time.

    The left has had a monopoly that allowed them to control both the narrative and do damage control for their side, but whatever magic they had that allowed them to get away with this shit is evaporating at record pace. As more of these attempts to control people through propaganda favorable to the left blow up in their face and people walk away from them, we might finally get back to some real reporting. That or we need another republican president. Of course then we will need to deal with all the mad up lies about said president (TANG anyone?).

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  12. Section8

    Hmm turns out Palin did comment on the Ukraine in 2008, and was pretty much accurate.


    You can tell Politifact had to grit their teeth to give her any credit, but it’s there somewhat. Well as best as you can expect from Politifact, and we know our press wouldn’t make a big deal of it. Better just to have an SNL skit to educate the populace. New age intellectualism at its finest.

    Of course we also had Obama after 3 1/2 years of Presidential experience telling Romney the 80’s called and want their foreign policy back.

    Anyhow, say what you want. It’s pretty obvious the true idiots are the ones hand picked by the left in this case.

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  13. Hal_10000 *

    This press laziness has really blown up in their faces this week. Rolling Stone had to withdraw their explosive story of gang rape at UVa after it turned out they hadn’t talking to almost anybody except the victim.

    I might blog on that. I was in Italy for the last week for a conference and have a long blog backlog. At least four big posts I need to crank out.

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  14. Xetrov

    Obama the petulant child –


    I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off the record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals. Another where he took us to task for not understanding the limits he has with foreign policy and the way he’s dealing with the Middle East and Iraq, and Afghanistan. And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell.

    If he were a Republican facing the media, he would have imploded by now.

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