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In the past 24 hours I have seen 20 diaries on the despicable comments made by David Shuster and vast majority by Obama supporters claiming that the response is way out of proportion, that Shuster has done nothing worng and that Hillary was using the controversy for political purposes. So let's see what really went down.

In April 2007 Don Imus on MSNBC, called the members of Rutgers University women's team "nappy-headed hos". Subsequently Imus went on his apology tour after refusing to apologize immediately saying that the word "ho" was an integral part of the hip-hop lexicon. That same month Hillary Clinton came out swinging demanding Imus's resignation and gave this stirring speech against racism and sexism at Rutgers University.

Imus' defense was that he was a "good person". Should Imus been fired? Yes. Everyone who heard that flippant remark knew that there was no place for such talk on national TV.

In October 2003 everyone's favorite comedian Rush Limbaugh had this to say about Donovan McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles' qb:

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,'' Limbaugh said. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

There was a huge hue and cry and rightly so. Wesley Clark, Al Sharpton, Howard Dean all wanted Limbaugh fired from ESPN and eventually Limbaugh resigned.

Added to this was David Shuster's comments about Chelsea Clinton. Keep in mind he is not addressing the candidate but her daughter. Chelsea has played the role that Edwards' eldest daughter did for his campaign. Stumping for her mother politely without raising controversy but at the same time staying away from the media the best she could. Here is what Shuster said:

Doesn't it seem like she (Chelsea) is being pimped out in a weird sort of way?

In other words the Hillary campaign has turned her daughter into a whore. But hey "pimped out" is in the modern MTV lexicon. But look again the word used in this context is not the same as "pimp my ride". This use of the word pimp is the way it is meant to be used in a degrading sort of way. What followed is more bizarre. A email exchange where Shuster refused to concede that he had done anything wrong let alone apologize:

-----Original Message-----
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 7:14 p.m.

David - how hard is it for someone, anyone, in the vast MS/NBC universe to contact any one of us at the campaign for comment about Chelsea before going on air and saying that she is being "pimped out" ? It's absurdly offensive. And what the hell does that even mean?

I just don't get MSNBC - does GE not allow you to make toll calls? What's the problem.

Philippe Reines
Press Secretary
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

-----Original Message-----
From: David Shuster
To: Philippe Reines
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 8:51 p.m.

Nice to hear from you, philippe.

It is a fact that chelsea has made calls to superdelegates, as your campaign colleagues have acknowledged. It is also a fact that the campaign has reacted quite harshly to any media who have sought to interview chelsea. That was the point. By slamming any reporter who seeks to chat with chelsea while simultaneously having chelsea do campaign tasks such as trying to convince super delegates to support her mom, that's the reference.

Chelsea is polite and does a fine job of saying "I don't want to talk.". But for campaign staff to then jump down the throat of a reporter who seeks to talk to chelsea...that's an issue.

Sent using BlackBerry

-----Original Message-----
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:00 p.m.

Since you guys asked for the transcript - here specifically is what David said on air:

SHUSTER: "But doesn't it seem like she's being--but doesn't it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"

I have a hunch that such offensive and unacceptable language was never used on MSNBC's air about Karenna Gore, the Bush twins, Venessa & Alex Kerry, Kate Edwards, the Romney sons - or any other adult offspring who chose to campaign on behalf of a parent.

-----Original Message-----
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:16: p.m.

David - I want to make sure I'm crystal clear here - you're saying that because she doesn't grant interviews and makes calls on behalf of her mother, you are right to say that she is being pimped out?

I don't need to read a the whole transcript for context, you were way out of line. Nobody's jumping down your throat about asking for an interview or talking about calls she made. And you know it.

There is simply no excuse for being so offensive.

By actually rationalizing your behavior rather than accepting responsibility and apologizing, you become the poster child for everything wrong with tv journalism, and it's a shame your NBC colleagues have to be associated with this (expletive).

-----Original Message-----
From: David Shuster
To: Philippe Reines
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:29 p.m.

No. That's not what I'm saying. And if you bothered to look at the transcript and saw all of the glowing things I said about chelsea and the way she was raised, you would know that.

The issue is not her making calls. As + said on the air, I have no problems with that what so ever. The issue is not her refusing interviews. The issue is that the campaign has come down hard on reporters who merely sought to ask chelsea questions. You can't have it both ways. Reporters have long respected the clintons desire that we avoid chelsea and let her have her space. But to get angry at reporters seeking to talk to her now is patently unfair. And you know that.

Sent using BlackBerry

-----Original Message-----
From: Philippe Reines
To: David Shuster
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 9:49 p.m.

I think we've each said what we have to say on this matter. Based on this email exchange, we're assuming two things:

  1. You are not disputing that you said on air: "But doesn't it seem like she's being--but doesn't it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
  1. You have no intention of apologizing for the above.

Then followed a rather half hearted apology on Morning Joe only after the Clinton campaign threatened to boycott MSNBC debates. Huffington Post had the following headline:

MSNBC Reporter Begrudgingly Apologizes For Chelsea "Pimp" Comment

So under threat the reporter in question makes a half-hearted apology. In the face of mounting controversy and bad publicity NBC head Steve Capus "temporarily suspended" Shuster. This after Savage, Imus was just a slap on the wrist. There was deep rooted culture of misogyny on MSNBC as documented by Jamison Foser at MediaMatters.

This time Hillary Clinton herself wrote to Steve Capus. Her letter is below:

Dear Mr. Capus,

Thank you for your call yesterday. I wanted to send you this note to convey the depth of my feeling about David Shuster's comments.

I know that I am a public figure and that my daughter is playing a public role in my campaign. I am accustomed to criticism, certainly from MSNBC. I know that it goes with the territory.

However, I became Chelsea's mother long before I ran for any office and I will always be a mom first and a public official second.

Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.

I would urge you to look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language.

There's a lot at stake for our country in this election. Surely, you can do your jobs as journalists and commentators and still keep the discourse civil and appropriate.


Hillary Rodham Clinton

(emphasis mine)

As one sees she is in fact addressing the pattern of racism and sexism at MSNBC. At this juncture I expected outrage and a sense of solidarity from all people regardless of who you are supporting this primary season. Instead I give you the greatest hits:

Criticizing Hillary for defending her daughter:

Hillary Clinton has gone too far.
On Hillary's claims of victimization
Why Hillary is a bad example for my daughter
In Hillaryland, Fox News > MSNBC
Hillary Clinton is cowardly running from MSN NBC Debates
UPDATE: The Clintons Jump the Shark: They Are Willing to Take Us All Down With Them

Defending David Shuster:

Help Keep Shuster from Being Fired

I would love to list all those wonderful inflammatory comments here as well but just writing this much is making me angry and irate. Is this the state of DailyKos these day?

Originally posted to tarheel74 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 06:15 PM PST.

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