Unethical Quote of the Month: Talking Points Memo Blogger Alana Levinson

Biden Harassment

Now I’m wondering whether I’m a “bad liberal” to call him out. That means aligning myself with conservatives who love crying “double standard” on issues like this, not because they actually care about feminism, but to push their liberal media bias agenda.

—–Alana Levinson writing at Talking Points Memo about Joe Biden’s blatant “creepy uncle” sexual harassment at public events, and the news media’s failure to condemn it.

Wait, what?

Is this some kind of weird mutation of logic that only liberals and journalists understand, like the unique language identical twins make up for themselves?

Alana makes a strong case–it’s not hard to make, however—that Vice-President Biden routinely, publicly and shamelessly engages in the exact same conduct that gets employees and executives warned, sued and fired all over America as feminists cheer (as well as non-feminists with a brain, because the employees and executives should be warned, sued and fired).  It’s called “abusing power and position to cop a feel.” Then she writes the quote above, which I don’t understand at all:

Sexual harassment is unethical, disrespectful of women, and illegal.

Liberals have been at the forefront, to their credit, of making this recognition a cultural sea change.

The Vice President of the United States regularly undermines this signature liberal and feminist achievement by flaunting his cluelessness and archaic sexism at public events, either because he’s not paying attention to his own party’s rhetoric (scary) or because he knows he can get away with it (disgusting).

So she’s being a bad liberal if she points out that this is wrong and needs to stop forthwith, and a good liberal to allow it continue, allow the Vice President to act as if women (and, ick, little girls)…

Biden grope2

…are his personal fondle-toys while they silently endure public humiliation and silent discomfort?

And this is because it’s wrong to agree with conservatives even if they are dead right?

Well, this insanity explains a lot—Bill Clinton, for example—but it is so devoid of ethics and common sense that I can barely type.

Good god,  Alana, do you even read what you write??

The reason people like me point out this stuff  and cry “double standard”  is because it is a screaming, undeniable DOUBLE STANDARD! In the previous passage you wrote “What would I say if a Republican did the same thing? I’m pretty sure that the kind of “uncle” he is would change from endearing to lecherous.”

What have you just described? D-O-U-B-L-E  S-T-A-N-D-A-R-D, and fairly revolting and inexcusable one at that, though all media double standards are unprofessional, irresponsible  and unfair.

And this—“not because they actually care about feminism, but to push their liberal media bias agenda” is certifiably bats. The employment of this kind of double standard * is hypocrisy that proves that liberals care less about feminism than they do about demonizing conservatives while they let their heroes, standard bearers and icons violate supposed feminist ideals and values without fear of consequences.

In the end, Levinson does the right thing, unlike a liberal colleague she properly embarrasses in her post, who offers  the same lame defense of Biden that dirty old men have been using for centuries. She also proves how hard it must be, as a woman and a feminist, to support these hypocrites without breaking ranks and telling the truth.

Here’s my advice:

Stop supporting them.


* Interestingly, the Ethics Alarms tags “Joe Biden” and “Double Standard” have significant overlap.

17 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Month: Talking Points Memo Blogger Alana Levinson

  1. This is just the apex of the concept of entitlement that starts with congressmen like Charlie Wilson saying that you can teach secretaries to type, but not to grow large breasts (or so he says in the movie Charlie Wilson’s War, I don’t know if he actually said it in life, but I’m using it to illustrate a point). DC is a gathering place of the powerful, and the powerful, who have the power to give special interests what they want, tend to want something in return. It’s not even always money, by the time people reach that level they usually already have money. Frequently it’s the ability to use members of the opposite sex. This can be the relatively low level of hiring a bevy of cute interns and just ogling them, but frequently it goes higher and we know where it tops out (Monica).

    Conservatives don’t get a pass, because they supposedly stand for “family values” and to some degree they have brought that on themselves. If you build yourself up as a white knight you can’t complain when someone points out that your shield is stained. Liberals too often do, because special interests, including feminism, have become very tied to them and indeed stake their progress on them. If they want more protection for women under the law, or federal contract set-asides for companies owned by women, or looser standards to prove rape, or broader free health coverage, a liberal is going to be the one to give it to them. As such, if one of these liberals, especially one who’s carried water for them in the past, crosses a minor line, or even a major line, as Bill Clinton did, they really have no choice but to close ranks around him and tell the aggrieved woman to “take one for the team.” The alternative is to risk not getting what they want when it comes time to vote. They point a finger at some Congressman who patted an intern once on the butt, maybe that new bill they wanted him to fast-track gets put on the back burner and never gets out of committee. They say a Senator gave some pretty staffer too long of a goodnight kiss, maybe he doesn’t bring their pet bill to the floor for a vote. Force an executive who’s otherwise on their side to resign over an affair, and they don’t know what his successor will do, but I guarantee he won’t be taking their calls.

    It’s completely wrong and unethical. It amounts to essentially offering one of their own as a sacrificial lamb to the greater gods of their cause now and then. However, by the twisted ethics of “it’s all about what advances the cause” they find it permissible.

  2. I think you are overly harsh with Alana. The scare quotes around “bad liberal” and the rest of the article are a pretty strong indicator to me that she doesn’t actually think that way, and is baffled by her compatriots who do. Enough so that they have have her questioning herself maybe, but I don’t see it as evidence that she thinks that way.

    Perhaps I’m being overly generous to her.

    Title typo: bogger

  3. The key words are “political capital”.

    If you have sufficient political capital, you can get your allies to close ranks if accused of wrongdoing.

    If you have no such capital, you will be left high and dry.

  4. Of course conservatives don’t mind sexual harassment. I mean, duh. Have you ever been to a Baptist church? Can’t even walk across the foyer without catcalls, whistles, and cheek-grabbing from all of the sloshed male parishioners.

    And the conservative and Christian clubs at high schools and colleges…good luck to any woman at one of those! Five minutes in and you’ll be called all sorts of demeaning names, propositioned by 20 angry, sexually frustrated guys, and if you try to say anything, they just tell you to go home and get back in the kitchen.

    Liberals and freethinkers are at the forefront of stopping sexual harassment. That’s why atheist conventions don’t have any kind of rampant problem with sexism or harassment of women, and why party schools and government institutions are much more respectful of women, and safer, than conservative hangouts.

    If you don’t believe me, just look at who talks about sexual harassment and how wrong it is the most. Liberals do, right? Therefore, they care the most. Case closed.

    • Despite apparent correlation and statistical commonality, it’s hasty to switch the argument from Conservatives to Christians…or Liberals and atheists…

      God knows it’s utter folly to conflate Liberals and “Freethinkers” or Atheists and “Freethinkers”…

  5. “Now I’m wondering whether I’m a “bad liberal” to call him out.”

    As you note, this apparently means that good liberals ignore sexual harassment/assault from their own, which IS a double standard.

    “That means aligning myself with conservatives who love crying “double standard” on issues like this,”

    Yeah…because Leftists don’t utilize accusations of double-standards as a primary tool in their playbook.

    “not because they actually care about feminism,”

    Well poisoning or strawman…not sure which. Conservatives do not have to subscribe to the Leftist definition of feminism to oppose sexual harassment/assault. There is no inconsistency here.

    “but to push their liberal media bias agenda.”

    Way to ultimately deflect from Biden’s problems and make this a “Don’t Point Fingers” rationalization…or even a “Haters Gotta Hate” rationalization…

    This entire brief snippet is an admission that, by having to break the mold, the media DOES have a liberal bias agenda….

    This fits my before noted formula of liberal arguments- “I don’t actually believe X, here’s what I really believe: X….”

  6. >> >>“Now I’m wondering whether I’m a “bad liberal” to call him out.”

    >> As you note, this apparently means that good liberals ignore sexual harassment/assault from their own, which IS a double standard.

    I really do not believe the author is saying that at all. Her point may not be well stated, but she ultimately states that it is the duty of a “liberal” to call out loutish behavior, even if it is the loutish behavior of other liberals.

    Stripping the quote in question and the following paragraph to a rhetorical minimum:

    >> “Now I’m wondering whether I’m a “bad liberal” to call him out. …

    >> But not wanting to cede a point to the right doesn’t justify ignoring questionable behavior, …

    In the paragraph following the “unethical quote of the month”, she disavows that very point made in her quote. She describes her initial reaction of blind political loyalty, and then describes her rejections of that reaction. By analyzing her reaction, and correcting it, she shows that listened when her Ethic’s Alarm rang!

    She then discusses the motivation of other “liberals” to excuse Biden’s borderline loutish behavior; she then describes why this excuse is wrong:

    >> Liberals do this [excuse Biden] because we like his politics. In terms of women’s issues, he’s got the gold stars. [Quotes a list of issues he has consistently voted for]

    >> Being an ally to women is about more than just positions or legislation. The kind of sexism that Biden exhibits is perhaps the most pernicious kind, because it’s so easily waved away.

    And finally, in the concluding paragraph, she more or less unambiguously states that a “good liberal” must speak out against harassing behavior, no matter the source.

    >> But besides that, being a public figure who supports women means more than just supporting political causes. It also means treating them with respect, especially in public. [***] If progressives are really committed to combating sexism, they have to be indiscriminate about calling it out—even if it means indicting one of their own.[***]

    The author admits that she herself gave Biden a pass for this kind of behavior in the past in her columns; any one of those previous posts would deserve the label of “double standard”. However, in this column, she owns up to that mistake, and while not necessarily apologizing, explains why that position was wrong.

    The “Unethical Quote of Month” here was appears to have been misread to to be her actual position; it is very much not the position or type of thinking she endorses. She describes the appeal of blind political loyalty, but then rejects it as disloyal to the cause of combating misogyny, no matter the politics of the perpetrator. If anything, she is exposing the hypocritical thinking of other “good liberals”.

    • While as the author, she has a duty to write clearly, my interpretation of her muddle quote is a follows:

      >>Now I’m wondering whether I’m a “bad liberal” to call him out. That means aligning myself with conservatives who love crying “double standard” on issues like this, [The conservatives love crying double stand ] not because they actually care about feminism, but [instead call double standard] to push their [agenda of accusing the] liberal media [of] bias agenda.

      She is heaping way too much into a single sentence. She is calling the motives of “conservatives” making the accusations impure, but not denying accusations of a double standard. This is possibly part of her rhetorical strategy of presenting her initial viewing of the situation with blind political loyalty, but then rejecting that view.

      >> But not wanting to cede a point to the right doesn’t justify ignoring questionable behavior, …

      She then says that it is a duty to confront the issue, even it means “conceding” that there is a double standard. Fear that such a concession might hurt them politically is no excuse.

      😡 If only she could clearly write her own point!!! ):<

    • I will concede her post is still unethical where it needlessly maligns the intent of the Republicans; she might have only intended to described the irrational liberal’s view of Republican motives, but the sentence was too jumbled to conclude this for certain.

    • Great, my damn keyboard lost my comment, so now I’m ticked off.

      The statement was lazy and horribly written, as well as sly, lazy, risk-averting, two-faced double talk. Does she really mean that conservatives “love crying “double standard” on issues like this, not because they actually care about feminism, but to push their liberal media bias agenda” or not? She didn’t disavow that, did she? Ok, so she says she’s not really being a “bad liberal” to agree with those who “love crying “double standard” on issues like this, not because they actually care about feminism, but to push their liberal media bias agenda”…except that that’s not why anyone, me included, flags the double standard, and screw her for implying that it is.

      Conservatives and fair people object to double standards because double standards are unfair, misleading, and encourage hypocrisy and abuse of power. Pointing out the the media uses a double standard forwards an agenda??? Telling the truth advances the truth. If the truth shows the media is biased, the revealing of the truth isn’t done as some sinister tactic to “get” the media—it’s proof that the media is biased, which the public needs to know. Her statement is like saying that the prosecutors “love proving defendents guilty of murder, not because they actually care about the victims, but to push their anti-underclass bigotry.”

      So she’s really saying, “Hey libs, it’s really Ok to agree with conservatives on this, because we’re doing it for the right reasons, and everyone knows they don’t care about Biden’s harassment, they just want to further their evil agenda.” That’s ethical? The hell it is.

      Conservatives and fair people object to Biden’s act because 1) it’s disgusting 2) it’s an abuse of power 3) he’s a big part of a party that’s been pushing the lie that conservatives are disrespectful of women and 4) he’s an atrocious role model and a hypocrite. These are good reasons all.

      She wrote that quote so ambiguously either because she’s incompetent, or so that she could claim that she was mocking the paranoia of the left, or say that she made it clear that she wasn’t really agreeing with conservatives.

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