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Sisterhood of the Protected Female Liberal Journalists

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 10, 2008 10:29 AM

My syndicated column today picks up on Obama official Howard Gutman’s odious comments on the Laura Ingraham show last week and applies his standard to working mothers in the liberal media elite.

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Sisterhood of the Protected Female Liberal Journalists
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Sisterhood of the protected female liberal journalist

Let’s talk Mommy Wars, double standards, and the media elite. Last Friday, Obama Campaign National Finance Committee member Howard Gutman attacked Sarah Palin’s ability to be a good parent and have a high-powered public life at the same time. In a finger-wagging appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show, Obama’s operative scolded the Republican mother of five children for not putting her professional career on hold.

“Your responsibility is to put your family first,” Gutman lectured as he singled out Palin’s Down’s Syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter. “The proper attack is not that a woman shouldn’t run for vice president with five kids, it’s that a parent, when they have a family in need,” should get out of the public sphere and stay home.

The Gutman standard has now been proffered by countless Obama hacks and water-carrying commentators. Damningly, it’s high-powered working mothers in the journalism business helping to broadcast the anti-Palin slams or doing nothing to defend her.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien denied Palin attacks on her network, even as her colleague John Roberts asked: “”There’s also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down’s Syndrome…. Children with Down’s syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?”

NBC’s Meredeith Viera asserted that only blogs went after Palin’s motherhood abilities while running for veep, even as her colleague Brian Williams slyly raised feminists’ “fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this.”

How would CNN’s O’Brien like the Gutman standard applied to her? She’s been working overtime covering the presidential campaign season, anchoring daily coverage, nighttime conventions, and producing documentaries that require large chunks of time away from home. Disney’s Family Parenting website lauds her as “a modern mom balancing a thriving career as one of America’s top news anchors along with her four children” – two daughters now ages 7 and 6 and twin boys who are 4. Where are the Palin-bashers to lambaste O’Brien’s professional pursuits?

How about Katie Couric? Her husband died at 42 when her daughters were 6 and 2 years old. With two young children devastated by the loss of a father, she opted not to quit journalism. She anchored NBC’s Today Show through his illness and death, continued working an intensive, time-consuming schedule as one of America’s most visible broadcast journalists while a single mother with two fatherless children at home, and then jumped to CBS News, where she maintains a rigorous on-air schedule, travel plans, and off-air social calendar. Where are the finger-waggers?

Also at CNN, Campbell Brown flew to Las Vegas last year to moderate a political debate while 8 ½ months’ pregnant. Fox News host and left-wing blogger Alan Colmes, last seen questioning Sarah Palin’s commitment to prenatal care because she worked and traveld late in her pregnancy, had no comment. When she initially left the Today Show in 2007, Brown said she was stepping down to devote more time to family and baby. She immediately turned around the next day and jumped ship to CNN, where she has anchored wall-to-wall CNN Election Center coverage and will launch a new nightly show in November.

And at NBC, famous balancer of work-and-motherhood Viera replaced Couric on the Today Show. She has three children at home and a husband who has battled multiple sclerosis and two bouts with colon cancer. By the Gutman standard, Viera should have left the business years ago to tend to her family in need.

As a working woman in the media for 16 years and a working mother in the media for the last eight. I know the commitment and energy it took for these women to get to the top. I’ve filed columns from hospital beds, written books while nursing, brought my toddlers to TV studios, and told bedtime stories on the cell phone while boarding planes. I’ve worked hard to strike the “balance” we all seek. I’ve made good choices and bad choices, and have no regrets about the opportunities I’ve taken and the opportunities I’ve rejected. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive husband willing to forego his own career goals – the kind of spouse that the media has ignored in Todd Palin and the kind of spouse I’m sure the Sisterhood of the Protected Female Journalist all have.

I don’t challenge the commitment these fellow working mothers in the media have to their home lives. What I challenge is their silence and complicity as the Palin-bashers impose a “Family First” double standard on conservatives. The sorority is closed to the Right.

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K-Lo has a point here. But it’s not “whining” to expose double standards. It’s an object lesson.

John Hawkins has a video show of solidarity from the conservative sisterhood.

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