Friday, February 08, 2008

The Shakedown, Roasting and Burning-At-The-Stake of David Shuster

"I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

French Guard from Monty Python's "Holy Grail"

There's insults, and then there's INSULTS!

MSNBC's David Shuster's "pimp" line was not an insult.

A conflagration has erupted in the media, the blogosphere, the Clinton Campaign over a comment made Thursday evening, by MSNBC's David Shuster, during his duty, hosting the "Tucker" program.

One saving grace for MSNBC was this occurred on the "Tucker" show, at the 6PM time slot, so damage was limited, based on the number of viewers who normally tune into the "Tucker" program

But back to the comment, and the hysterics going on over it.
Was it a bad choice of words, a bad phrase - Yes.

Was David Shuster, at least on this occasion, not of quick wit, not sharp on his feet, in coming up with a pithy comment to make his point - Yes.

Was David Shuster's "pimp" comment taken out of context - Yes.

Here's the entire segment, from the MSNBC transcript;



JOY BEHAR, “THE VIEW”: The phone rings and who is it? “Hi, this is Chelsea Clinton.” I said, really? Then I get a call from you five minutes later.


BEHAR: Hi, this is Chelsea Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like hi, this is Chelsea Clinton. What you doing now? She‘s like, you know, well, I‘m really proud of my mom. I‘m like, talk up. I can‘t hear you.

SHUSTER: For most of the Bill Clinton presidency, then teenager Chelsea Clinton remained out of political life. Political opponents like Mike Huckabee have credited the Clintons for raising such a poised and self-possessed young woman. Now just shy of her 28th birthday, Chelsea is out and about on her mom‘s behalf, campaigning in Nebraska as Saturday‘s caucuses approach.

What is the Chelsea factor? Here again are nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press and online columnist Bob Franken. Bill, there‘s just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea is out there calling up celebrities saying, support my mom, and apparently she‘s also calling these Super Delegates.

PRESS: Hey, she‘s working for her mom. What‘s unseemly about that? During the last campaign, the Bush twins were out working for their dad. I think it‘s great. I think she‘s grown up in a political family. She‘s got politics in her blood. She loves her mom. She thinks she would make a great president.

SHUSTER: Doesn‘t it seem like Chelsea is being pimped out in some weird sort of way?

PRESS: No. If she didn‘t want to be there, she wouldn‘t be there. Give Chelsea a break. I think it‘s great. Again, Michelle Obama is out there for her husband. What‘s the big deal?

SHUSTER: Here is the big deal. I will give Chelsea Clinton a break when she sits down and gives an interview to somebody like Bob Franken. If she wants to do all this stuff, she should face the questions.

PRESS: Oh, yes, did Oprah give an interview to Bob Franken? Did Caroline Kennedy give an interview to Bob Franken? Come on?

SHUSTER: Let‘s ask Bob Franken.

FRANKEN: No, and I‘m feeling very left out here. To be very honest with you, I would think it would be much more remarkable if Chelsea Clinton came out for Barack Obama. Of course she would be out there campaigning for her parents. They seem to have a nice relationship. And why not? Of course, what is really at the base of all this is the discussion about Obama and his young support. He is leading what we can cynically call a children‘s army with his message of change and a generational change and all that, not bad for a guy who is almost 50 years old.

But apparently the strategy is that she can go out there and neutralize it. More power to her.

SHUSTER: I say more power to her. But I also think that the collective Washington media, which has respectively these sort of unwritten rules of staying away from Chelsea, not asking her questions, that is now out the window. It‘s now fair game, that when you and I, Bob and Bill, when we see Chelsea out there at these campaign events, there‘s nothing wrong with going up to her with a microphone and saying, OK, which Super Delegates did you call.

FRANKEN: One teensy weensy problem, she has Secret Service protection. So it gets a little bit dicey.

SHUSTER: The logistics are complicated.

Now, I may be one of the only ones that sees this, but, it appears to me that Shuster was attempting to clip the Clinton's on a real, or alleged, double-standard.

That Chelsea Clinton can engage in campaigning for her famous mother, but she's off-limits to the press.

Now, maybe that is a hard rule of the Clinton's.

Maybe Mama and Papa Bear Clinton don't have any problem with it, and it's been Chelsea that has blown off the Press.

As you can see in the transcript, yes Shuster used the phrase "Doesn‘t it seem like Chelsea is being pimped out in some weird sort of way?", yet, he doesn't follow up on that line-of-thought, he doesn't call Chelsea, or her mother, a whore, or anything like that and, he eventually gets down to his point, the one I believe he was attempting to highlight, of the media blackout around Chelsea Clinton.

I believe we have evolved in our speech patterns, our communications, the common lexicon, that using the word "pimping" to describe someone's activities, doesn't automatically infer, or have meaning, that it is about an abusive male, with a blindingly, over-adorned automobile, wearing clothes that even a pro golfer wouldn't hang in his closet, forcing woman to perform sexual acts and taking the money for those acts for himself.

I, in most cases, take it in as describing someone shilling for, or selling, a product, or person, when their position, or station in life, suggests they shouldn't be doing said "pimping", or, perhaps, they are unqualified, and it is laughable, that they would be out there "pimping" for said product or person.

Which is, I believe, the point Shuster was attempting to convey.

Actually, Jane Hamsher, over on Firedoglake is somewhat on the same page;
"And on that awkward segue, I'll bring up the latest contretemps -- comments made by David Shuster to the effect that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by the campaign. It may surprise everyone but I actually wasn't bothered by them. The phrase is ubiquitous, I use it all the time and although it is a loaded term my initial impression was that in the wake of all the truly awful sexist stuff that's come down the pipeline from MSNBC over the course of this campaign, much of which I have personally railed about, this just didn't fall into that category."

For my money, Shuster's work is, typically, sharp, dead-on and he digs in to ask the hard questions.

More importantly, as professional and thorough Shuster's reporting is, it's always about the story, the subject, and not about himself.

On this occasion, he attempted to be pithy, and he failed.

And for this one-time, grievous offense, he gets lumped into the Tweety Matthews/Joe Scarborough mug shot.

For not being pithy, MSNBC has suspended him.

For not being pithy, the blogosphere is roasting him, burning him at the stake.

For not being pithy, the Clinton Campaign is blowing this up, surely to drain out of it, exploit it, for some level of gain out in the campaign.

Actually, check out Attytood, and see what the worst thing that has been said about Chelsea Clinton, and who said it (Hint - He's a Republican, and he's a presumptive presidential nominee).

This, hopefully, will blow over, and, hopefully, the MSNBC brass will come to their senses, recognize just what it is, and not flog Shuster for the sins of others (and I don't plan on staying up all night, to detail all of the sexist comments and bullshit that does come from a number of MSNBC's Talking Heads)

Hopefully, David Shuster will be back on the air, banging away at the dwarf, finks, phonies and frauds (i.e. The Bush Grindhouse and their henchmen), banging away as he does so well.

The Rundown

Digby: Here We Go Again

Melissa/Shakespeare's Sister: What New Dissed Hill Is This?

The Carpetbagger Report: Clinton campaign takes on MSNBC over ‘pimped out’ comment

Pam's House Blend: An election cycle that breaks all the rules - and the establishment is in knots

Howard Kurtz: MSNBC's Shuster to Offer On-Air Apology to Clinton

Associated Press: MSNBC's Chelsea comment angers Clinton

1 comment:

db said...

I agree. I can only hope that this broo ha ha will eventually expose Clinton's team for the drama queens that they are. It reminds me of a child saying "he hit me first." Grow up Clintonians! I'm 43 years old and even at my old age I would never get offended by "pimped out"-- it just means that Schuster felt they were using Chelsea for this one purpose.

I am equally horrified by NBC/MSNBC's crawling for forgiveness. Olbermann should be ashamed of himself for the way he sold out Schuster.

People, what Schuster said was not "shocking," it was not sexist, it was not racist. It may have been in poor taste, but only just barely.

I hope she does cancel the debate. Let the young people of America hear about what a baby she's being about language that nearly any 20-something would barely bat an eye at.