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Responding To Women’s Concerns, Washington Post Kills Offensive Video Series; Cillizza Apologizes , Milbank Whines

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August 5th, 2009

By Guest Blogger Adele M. Stan, cross-posted with AlterNet.

In response to coverage of its “Mad Bitch” video by WIMN, TPM, AlterNet and others, WaPo has killed “Mouthpiece Theater.”

As reported here yesterday, the Women, Action and the Media (WAM!) community yesterday delivered a letter to Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli (among the signers was yours truly), protesting the now infamous “Mad Bitch” video. Today the Mouthpiece Theater series, of which the video was a part, was killed. Here’s the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, in a piece explaining why the series was pulled:

In a letter to Brauchli on Tuesday that was signed by 32 women, the organization Women, Action and the Media demanded an explanation for what it called “the video’s patently sexist — and otherwise tasteless — content,” which the writers said displayed “misogyny” and “utter contempt for women” as well as racial insensitivity.

This morning, Politico’s Michael Calderone blogged about the letter, and MediaBistro’s FishbowlDC ran an item.

Last Friday, TPM’s Brian Beutler shone a light on a video produced by the Washington Post that featured one of the two columnists hosting the piece suggesting that, at a future White House beer summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton be given a brew called “Mad Bitch.” Then all hell broke loose.

The Post apparently thought it could fix the problem by simply pulling the video. A note was posted above the hole where the video used to be, reading that the piece had been removed because it contained material that was “inappropriate” for the Post Web site. As if it had landed there from Mars. As if it hadn’t been written and produced in the Washington Post building by Washington Post staffers.

Then, yesterday, the two columnists, Chris Cillizza and Dana Milbank had the effrontery to post what amounts to a “screw-you” response video to the criticism they had received from bloggers.

Progressives, including my colleagues at AlterNet, were having none of it. And feminists were determined to see that such a thing wouldn’t happen again.

So the series has been canceled, and Cillizza has apologized. Milbank remains pretty unrepentant, instead whining about the drubbing he took at the hands of blogosphere denizens. From Kurtz’s piece:

“It’s a brutal world out there in the blogosphere,” Milbank said. “I’m often surprised by the ferocity out there, but I probably shouldn’t be.”

Brauchli, for his part, did not exactly apologize, but said the original video constituded “a serious lapse. . . . It’s really beneath us and not something we should engage in.”

It does not appear that there will be any disciplinary action. Again, from Kurtz:

As if to signal that their standing at The Post remains unaffected, Brauchli praised both reporters. He called Cillizza “an enormous talent and someone who is closely followed and admired by a lot of journalists and people in politics. . . . Dana writes a terrific, very funny and usually very popular column on Page 2. He’s an equal-opportunity offender, and from time to time everyone’s mad at him.”

Especially bitches.

Addie in hat
Guest Blogger Adele M. Stan is a blogger, author and editor. She is currently AlterNet’s acting Washington bureau chief.

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