Leave it to Fox News to leap on a political molehill and start shoveling feverishly in the hopes of building a mountain.
Yesterday Hilary Rosen, who works for a democratic public relations firm, appeared on CNN and made the mistake of not parsing every single word she said before opening her mouth. The result was a firestorm of criticism aimed a short immaterial phrase that is hardly representative of her full statement. Here is what Rosen said with the part conservatives have latched onto in bold:
“With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right that ultimately women care more about the economic well-being of their family and the like. But he doesn’t connect on that issue, either. What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why we worry about their future.”
Clearly Rosen was addressing the absurdity of a wealthy housewife assuming the role of Home Economics expert and pretending that she relates to people who have to struggle to make ends meet. Nothing in her comments suggests that she was talking about the difficulty or the satisfaction of raising children. But that’s how the right is spinning this matter, and they are spinning it as hard as their little gerbil feet can spin.
Take a look at the coverage on Fox News where it was the headline story. And their wingnut affiliate, Fox Nation, has posted at least seven articles on the subject – more than any other topic including the presidential election, the Trayvon Martin shooting (and Zimmerman’s arrest), the economy, etc.
Fox News, the Republican PR Agency, has launched a full-blown campaign to help dig Mitt Romney out the hole he has dug for himself with his anti-woman rhetoric and policies. The 19 point deficit Romney suffers in polling for women’s votes was seen properly as an electoral red flag and the flacks at Fox jumped in to rescue the floundering candidate.
Much of the criticism has expanded from jabs at Rosen to swings at President Obama. Never mind that Rosen is not attached to the President or the campaign in any capacity, and those who are have repudiated her remarks.
Jim Messina, Obama campaign manager: I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.
David Axelrod, Obama campaign strategist: Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.
What’s more, Rosen herself has apologized:
“I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. [...] I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”
None of that has prevented Fox News from slathering their unique brand of propaganda and hyperbole over this affair in an effort to keep it bubbling up in the news cycle. Megyn Kelly spent a good portion of her program on this issue alone, interviewing several guests including former First Lady Barbara Bush (In a moment of ironic overflow, Kelly raised the issue of women who were fortunate not to have had to struggle financially, to which Mrs. Bush said “It wasn’t always that way for us.” Remember, this is the wife of the wealthy son of an oil baron and former president. Nah, they aren’t out of touch at all, are they?).
Also on Fox, they brought in their resident “Psycho” Analyst, Keith Ablow, who opined that “Hilary Rosen provided a clear psychological window on women who despise other women.” That’s the patented Ablow remote diagnosis of people he’s never met. He then projected this flaw onto Obama, who had nothing to do with any of this.
The whole point of this manufactured controversy is to lay into Obama for having the temerity to be popular with America’s women voters. And if they have to lie and distort reality to pull him down, well, that’s why Fox News exists in the first place.