The N&O writes about Elizabeth Edwards' "catfight"

Here's the article from Sunday's paper: Attacks replace issues; politics turns poisonous.

Here's the first paragraph, and you should know from there how this article is going to go:

Claws were bared and tongues were wagging last week as a "catfight" took center stage in the presidential race.
The confrontation began Tuesday when Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, confronted conservative provocateur Ann Coulter on the MSNBC program "Hardball." Portraying herself as incensed over Coulter's personal attacks against her husband, Edwards demanded that the blond bomb-thrower stop "debas[ing] the political dialogue."

Coulter accused the Edwardses of attacking her as a stunt to bring attention and money to their campaign

.

He goes on to quote Carter Wrenn on political civility, and Andrew Taylor on the Edwardses motivations in starting this fight with Coulter.

Yeah. It's that bad. Here's my letter to Mr. Zane:

Dear Mr. Zane,

I found your article in Sunday's paper to be distasteful, misleading, and one-sided. Your use of the terms "cat fight" and "claws bared" is unfortunate, and not worthy of a professional political reporter. Women have been voting and participating in politics for over a century now. Perhaps it is time to stop condescendingly referring to disagreement between women with feline insults, whether you place those terms in quotes or not. If it was a quote, perhaps you could have told us which political insider used such sexist terms. If the person who used the terms was not worth mentioning, then why were the terms worth including in your article?

Furthermore, to characterize Mrs. Edwards as having had her "claws bared" makes it obvious you did not watch the exchange in question. Contrary to your article, Mrs. Edwards did not "portray herself as incensed" - she was in fact upset, and rightly so. Ann Coulter is beneath contempt, and her comments mocking the Edwardses for losing a teenage son, calling Senator Edwards a "faggot" and then joking about his death in a terrorist attack are beneath even her. And there is not much beneath Coulter. Nevertheless, Edwards was calm, cool, and polite, and she was exactly right. A reader of your article would have thought she and Coulter were involved in a chair-throwing brouhaha on the Jerry Springer show. In fact, Mrs. Edwards called in to a talk show, her voice even and controlled. She was the epitome of southern grace, while Coulter melted down.

Your article then went on to quote Carter Wrenn on the subject of civility in politics. This is like quoting Paris Hilton on chastity. Perhaps you are new here in Raleigh, as I don't recognize your byline, but Carter Wrenn ran Jesse Helms's campaigns. He was the head of the Congressional Club, which broke the rules, relied on barely-coded racist appeals, and essentially cheated to keep Mr. Helms in power. To top it off, you quoted Professor Andrew Taylor, who accepted a half-million dollar grant from the John William Pope Foundation.

In the future, rather than confusing false equivalency with professional detachment, perhaps it would help if you actually interviewed persons on both sides of the aisle and then called a spade a spade. Instead, in your article, you stated that both sides were equivalently wrong or negative, and then spent the rest of the article quoting Republicans.

There was nothing equivalent in the positions of Mrs. Edwards and Coulter. One occupies the public arena with class and dignity. The other is a boil on the body politic. Based on your article, one would never know.

Sincerely,

Me

And here's the best information in the whole article.

Staff writer J. Peder Zane can be reached at 829-4773 or peder.zane@newsobserver.com.

Have at it.

Comments

Ooooo these people get me angry....

Grrrrrr.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Right...because they couldn't possible be motivated

by an actual desire to elevate political discourse.

I saw something similar and I'll try to find it. The difference is that the author seemed to be implying that it is Coulter who starts these things at the end of fundraising quarters. As you recall, Coulter attacks first. John and Elizabeth aren't seeking her out.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

In a letter about a "catfight"

it was brave of you to use the phrase about calling a spade a spade as in (my emphasis):

perhaps it would help if you actually interviewed persons on both sides of the aisle and then called a spade a spade.

 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

well,

Since the term has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely politically incorrect, I don't see your point. I find nothing brave about using a term correctly.

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19970115

"To call a spade a spade, which means, ironically for this discussion, 'to speak plainly and bluntly; to speak without euphemisms', is first found in Ancient Greece. The exact origin is uncertain; the playwright Menander, in a fragment, said "I call a fig a fig, a spade a spade," but Lucian attributes the phrase to Aristophanes. Later, Plutarch notes that "The Macedonians are a rude and clownish people who call a spade a spade." (It is worth noting that the Greek word translated as "spade" seems actually to mean something like "bowl" or "trough"; the "spade" may be based on a Renaissance mistranslation. In this case the original expression was "to call a bowl a bowl," and thus the "spade" expression is "only" 500, rather than 2,500, years old.) "

The article does go on to caution that some people may find it offensive, but that's based on a misunderstanding and complete misinterpretation of the phrase.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I think DQ was trying

to point out the irony of using a euphemism in a strident letter complaining about a euphemism. :)

Corporate Media

Whether or not he was wrong in calling that particular dustup a catfight, he'll probably have little difficulty defending it to his editor, even if he does take heat for it.

In the world of a corporate media, it's easy to simply say he was trying to sell papers by jazzing up the story. Of course, if you go too far with that, you get Fox "News."

--Gideon

I've tried the temper tantrum approach

....didn't work. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Hit'em in the Wallet

In the case of newspapers, your best bet is probably to find a bunch of like-minded people and cancel your subscriptions.

The News & Observer reads just fine online.

--Gideon

Subscribing and buying newspapers

I've given up subscribing to and buying newspapers. I've found that it only encourages them.

And who reads the newspapers anymore? I'm curious, because few of the people I know do. Regardless of their political affiliation.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Not I.

The Sunday New York Times was a staple for a long while but, I just don't think there's a paper worth cutting down a tree for left. The thing that did me in where mainstream news is concerned is this. The 2 huge marches in Washington that I attended in the last 2 years were barely mentioned. The speakers at the starts of the marches had a little press but the volume of the crowd was never conveyed as it was with...say...the Million Man March or the Immigration marches.

When you've been part of something that big and see how ignored it is, well. it just puts thing in a different light.

Democracy Now
Air America
BlueNC

that's where I get the latest.

I do.

Voraciously.

I read a lot them online - but I admit, I have a hard core addiction to the actual feel of newsprint in my hand. Can't help it - I love them. I get mad at them, I write notes all over them, and scribble furious letters that often never make it to the editor. But I do read them. I religiously purchase our local paper, The Pilot, in Southern Pines, because I do like to keep up with what's happening. It doesn't seem like all of the content is online. Maybe it is and I just can't find it. I occasionally purchase the Fayetteville Observer, or the N&O, but that's usually because I'm following a particular story. However, I like the small town papers better - and you can't always get them online. I also read the Hoke-Raeford Journal, and the Standard-Laconic from Snow Hill. That latter I read for sentimental reasons - my great-grandfather, J.E. Debnam, was the first publisher of that one, and my great-grandmother is in the NC Journalism Hall of Fame for keeping it going after he passed away in the early 30's. According to family legend, J.E. started the paper because the existing paper in Greene County at the time was run by a Republican. J.E. wanted to shout him down. The Standard-Laconic is still being published today. :-D.

That's very cool...

about your Greats. I still have some copies of old newpapers when the writing in them seemed so educated and informative and stylish even. The difference is stark compared with papers today.

Actually -

In the small town papers, I find it usually refreshing. Sometimes it's quaint. There are some good writers at The Pilot. There are some not so good, too. Because of my job, I need to keep up with stuff that's happening around the area, and you just get addicted to it. And it's a lot easier to carry the newspaper to the porch with a cup of coffee.

I don't like the big city papers -- stopped reading them along time ago. They're more "corporate", and it's too much effort to read between the lines. But with the small locals, I'm fairly certain I'm getting a fairly clean perspective. Not unbiased, by any means, but not corporate.

For instance, here's the take on the Coulter-Edwards fight from The Pilot. The local paper doesn't usually cover national politics, but covers Edwards because his parents live in the county, and because he grew up here, graduated from school here. He is probably not the most popular politician here, to be sure, although I think many of my fellow Dems are ardent supporters.

The reporting is straightforward, without any of the sensational language used by the N&O or other news outlets. I thought it was actually balanced - I give the reporter a lot of credit for being able to write about Coulter without saying something like "spawn of Satan", or sucking black hole of hate.

That is so fascinating and cool

I love small town journalism. I wish I'd done more with my degree.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

You do a lot.

You're an incredible writer. As your girls get older, who knows what you'll do?

Thank you

I do hope to do more and the girls are almost there. I keep threatening to go back for my masters so "we can go to college together". I say that just to see the looks on their faces. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

thats not right n/t

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Nobody said I was a nice mother :)



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.