In an apparent effort at humor, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has suggested that if Hillary Clinton had attended the recent Gates/Crowley "summit" at the White House, she would have ordered "Mad Bitch" beer. Milbank and Chris Cillizza, another Washington Post writer, lampooned the summit in their video "Mouthpiece Theatre," which jokingly described the meeting as the "Ménage à Stella Artois."
The Washington Post placed the video on its website but took it down following criticism from liberal bloggers (e.g., TPM) and from media watchdogs (e.g., Megan Garber's essay in the Columbia Journalism Review). Several blogs linked to a Youtube source for the video, but the user who submitted the file subsequently removed it. Dissenting Justice, however, has located the video from another source (see below).
Milbank, Sexism, Hillary Clinton and the Media
Normally, outlandish -- even sexist and racist -- "humor" does not exercise me. I have turned off my television, radio and exited many websites to escape humor that taps into gutter instincts. I even argued that the heated reaction to Don Imus and his racist and sexist commentary was overblown. But Milbank and Cillizza occupy a different position than Imus. They are not shock jocks. Instead, they are writers for one of the world's most esteemed newspapers, and people rely upon them and the Washington Post for political analysis. Accordingly, their sexist humor means a lot more than the rants of Don Imus.
Moreover, this recent flap seems to confirm observations of many commentators (myself included) who argued that the media, particularly male journalists, portrayed Clinton in sexist terms during her unsuccessful presidential campaign. In a May 2008 column, Milbank himself portrayed Clinton as a demented and masochistic individual because she remained a candidate in the extremely tight race -- even though the odds of her winning were evaporating. Male candidates, by contrast, have remained in presidential primaries without winning any states whatsoever, but their continued candidacy never resulted in such hysteria and criticism as Clinton's decision to keep going.
Recently, Milbank employed the "dumb Latina" stereotype that became pervasive in the analysis of many male commentators regarding Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Milbank says that by choosing Sotomayor, President Obama "opted for biography over brain," and he concludes that she could not compete intellectually with other candidates. Milbank, however, offers no evidence for his conclusion.
Despite his harsh criticism of Clinton and almost unwavering support for Obama during the Democratic primaries, Milbank wrote Clinton "A Thank-You for 18 Million Cracks in the Glass Ceiling," a reference to a famed statement from her concession speech. Ironically, Milbank (and other liberal male media figures, like Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews) benefits from this glass ceiling, and his sexist commentary certainly does not help to dismantle it.
Media Matters has the video footage, which I have embedded.
[Note: The video condemns a slew of other individuals, including many Republicans.]