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MSNBC and the Hopes of Adolescent Girls (with pithy update)

Here is the letter that I sent to MSNBC this morning:

Dear MSNBC,
You’ve probably gotten a lot of letters like mine in the past couple of days so I’ll keep this short. But I would like you to pay attention to WHY I am taking these actions.
Due to the macho, frat boy behavior of your hosts on MSNBC in the past couple of months, I am removing Countdown with Keith Olbermann from my DVR schedule. You can find more details on my reason for doing this at my blog https://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/thats-it-im-taking-countdown-off-my-dvr-schedule/. According to my blog statistics, this post is number one among the people who were referred to my blog.
And here is my #1 reason for doing it: I have a 12 year old daughter who is a regular consumer of Countdown. She’s very gifted. She’s at a crucial age, a turning point, where there are both subtle and overt pressures put on girls like her to squelch their interests in math and science. It’s not womanly to be so smart. Think about how much talent the world loses when girls like her turn off their minds so they can fit into the world of men.
So, I can’t let her be exposed to the systemic and pervasive sexist behavior at MSNBC. The worst offender is Chris Matthews but I don’t have him on my DVR schedule. I am recording Countdown nightly. And I know that at 3am every morning, my satellite company does disk diagnostics on my DVR, looking at what I’ve recorded and watched. And I suspect that they pass that information on to you so you can present it to advertisers and Keith can brag about it. And Jack Welch, that master of “Rank and Yank”, the uber salesman whose bottom line at all costs method of getting ahead in the world is probably the source of this aggressive machismo, will use the ad revenue to decide what program stays on MSNBC. (See? We girls aren’t stupid)
In any case, you’ve lost me as a viewer. You suspended Shuster but you should have suspended Matthews. You apologized but an apology is insufficient. We’ve heard apologies before and Chris has said that he “gets it”. Subsequent shows of his indicate that he does not get it at all nor do many of your male hosts.
So, I can’t let my daughter’s self-image be tainted by this anymore. I’m sure that if more of your hosts had adolescent daughters, they’d think twice about behaving this way.
Too late now.
Sincerely,

My name, etc, blah-blah-blah

UPDATE: ARghhh! Don’t you just hate it when the point you’ve been trying to make crystallizes after you’ve hit the send button? Here’s the nugget at the core of the MSNBC controversy:

Throughout the American experience, we have said that the aspirations of boys are unlimited. Every boy in America has the ability to grow up to be president if he wants to. He just has to set his goal and work hard and someday he could be President of the United States. bill clinton shakes JFK’s hand

MSNBC is saying the exact opposite to girls. It is saying: no matter how hard you work, how much you accomplish, how you aspire or dream, you will NOT be President of the United States because we won’t let you, you’re a girl.HR delivers commencement speech

That’s it. No other reason. We just don’t let girls be president. We will make sure to promote the boy at your expense and we will make fun of you. Your self-worth is meaningless to us. It’s tradition. Now run along and bring me a beer.

This is what MSNBC is saying.

Alegre has a another take on this in her diary at DailyKos. Check it and rec it.

By the way, if anyone has sent me email recently and didn’t receive a reply, please send it again. There was a glitch in my account but it’s been fixed now. Unfortunately, the previous email is irretrievable.

8 Responses

  1. Right ON! So glad to see that there are women like you around. I am proud to be a woman, and I am hoping that this resonates will all women across the country. We must overcome!!

  2. What a teriffic email…you said it all so beautifully…thank you for that, you put into word exactly what has been running in my head every since I heard the last remark coming out of Schuster’s mouth about Chelsea….

    As a mother of (3) girls and a grandmother to (8) granddaughters, I was repulsed with that comment. and as I said somewhere on some blog, if anyone ever…ever….said that about my offspring, I…at (67) would wipe the floor with that man’s face for his filthy remark…that..I might add….he thought was CUTE…cute my arse…that’s all I will say!

    Thank you again for your eloquent remarks..you write beautifully…

  3. Hi Nancy! Pleased to meet you. Thanks for your kind remarks.

  4. Great letter. you spokes for me too.

  5. Nice piece. Thank you. Finally MSNBC went over the edge…and the dam has burst…it’s time for all women
    in this country to rise up against Hillary-bashing aka women-bashing.

  6. Hey riverdaughter, could you send me an email or contact me through my contact page? I’d appreciate it.

  7. I’ll keep this brief.

    I’m a woman. I keep a blog and have found myself (as a non viewer of Faux) to be monitoring CNN and MSNBC the last yr, and finding my seething outrage to be more focused on MSNBC more and more lately.

    I send them no less than 3 to 4 emails per week due to the blatant Hillary hate and Obama I see on their daily. I warn them we aren’t stupid, We SEE what they are doing.

    Example: Friday Hardball. Chris’s show opens with 2 republican commentators. One is Tony Blankely (sp) and the other is some blonde bitch who’s name i forget, I think I’ve seen her before but not often.

    Chris hates Hillary and loves Obama. This is the day Shuster was suspended. I’ve sent numerous emails to his show (and all of msnbc ) regarding his bias and outrageous behavior (ie 24 hrs after Hillary won NH he screamed she won due to racism!). So anyway, what Chris did Friday was let these 2 guests, especially the woman, sit there for more than 20 mins of his show and smear Hillary, Bill, his presidency, bring up every scandal and smear you’ve ever heard in your entire life, she brought it ALLLLL , as Chris sat there quietly and let her talk for 20 minutes.

    This is his way of smearing Clinton without taking the heat from doing it, saying it himself. I’m telling you, I watch/read the media online closely. I haven’t heart this much of a smear in a very very long time (though I admit I never tune to Fox or any right wing radio). But she was vulgar to the highest level tv would allow., and chris sat there quietly saying nothing. 20 minutes.

    We all see it, and we must keep hounding them with emails that we see it. I’m a middle aged woman and I’m too old to have my blood pressure raised over the sexism, the Hillary hate and the republican spin of MSNBC. For the last 6 months approx my hero’s been Pat Buchanan! He repeatedly shows himself to be the only one there with common sense!

    As for your comment that Chris should have been suspended, well look at my headline from Friday,

    http://politicaldiscontent.blogspot.com/

    Nuff said!

  8. BJ: Michelle Laxalt was her name I think.
    Yes, I too find myself siding with Pat Buchanan. How weird is that?
    Well I guess Hillary has a little something to hold over them right now. Personally, I think it would be a shame to lose Shuster in order for MSNBC to keep Matthews. But sometimes, you’ve got to know whe to shut up and say sorry.
    I’m hoping the whole channel does some introspection.

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