Remember that excellent Republican National Committee ad of, oh, two days ago? The one that succinctly exposed “Obama’s war on women”? About that …
CNN’s Erin Burnett isn’t happy the RNC clipped footage of her to include in the ad. At first, she says, she was “amused,” but the more she thought about it, the more she was “annoyed.”
“To be honest, at first, I was amused I was included,” Burnett acknowledged. “Then I was annoyed because I don’t agree the Democrats are in a war on women. Two influential and big money donors, no need to name them again, have recently used vile words to describe women. One of them made the bad decision to elaborate in a disgusting manner. The fact is neither party came out hard enough when the offender was one of its own. Now to say an entire party is at war with women? This is all politics!”
Burnett’s interview with Obama chief campaign strategist David Axelrod was showcased in the attack ad, and was edited showing the CNN anchor grilling him over Maher’s use of the c-word.
“Frankly, we’ve seen many references to a ‘war on women’ from Dems and GOP sympathizers. But both sides need to be honest that the words used like the s-word and the c-word aren’t acceptable. Not by someone who is a pundit, not by an entertainer, not by a coworker, not by anyone. There isn’t any defending it. this isn’t political. This should be personal for everyone. If you’re a woman, you get it because you deal with sexism in its mundane and offensive forms all the time. And if you’re a man, you have women in your life who needs respect and don’t want to hear those words used to describe them.”
While Burnett may certainly feel however she wants to feel, I can’t help but think she made a mistake expressing her emotions about this one. The RNC ad was edited to depict “Obama’s war on women,” yes, but the clips that included her speak for themselves. They show a conscientious reporter holding a public figure to account without regard for his political party. They show her putting into practice the very view she reflects above — the view that some words are just unacceptable no matter who says them. The clips reflect incredibly well on her. She could choose to actually look at this as free and positive publicity: The audience for the RNC ad probably isn’t identical to the audience for OutFront. Thanks to the ad, some hardcore conservatives might be more willing to give her show a chance — and she won’t risk many liberal viewers because most people watching the ad will know that Burnett didn’t volunteer herself to be in it. By venting her frustration now, though, she risks the appearance of living according to a double standard of her own. Would she have been equally as annoyed if the DNC had used her in an ad decrying the “Republican war on women”? According to her comments above, the answer is “yes,” but there’s no way to know for sure and her comments against the RNC ad raise the suspicion.
Sometimes, it’s OK — even for professional commentators — to not comment.