The Degradation of the Media: Racism, Sexism, and Sarah Palin:
1. What If It Had Been Sweden?: Last night was proof that CNN is doing something noble in facing down the urge to turn its evening programming over to commentary. Yeah, there's a fuck of a lot to criticize the network for, but at least it wasn't playing a rerun of an interview about Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno and NBC. That would be MSNBC at around 10:30 p.m. ET, when Countdown was on its second go-round of the night. And it wasn't showing whatever the fuck it is that Greta Van Scientologist does on Fox "news." Nope, other than about ten minutes of Larry King's corpse talking about NBC, the entire evening on CNN was all about trying to get information on the earthquake that wrecked a good chunk of Haiti. In other words, for two out of three of the supposed news networks, their prime-time personalities were more important than the actual news. As Lizz Winstead wrote last night, referring to MSNBC, "I wish a balloon was flying over Haiti. Maybe we would get some coverage on it then."

Now, the Rude Pundit doesn't wanna go all Katrina/Bush on this, but Haiti's a nation of nearly 10 million people. It shares an island with another nation, the Dominican Republic, that's got about 10 million people. But the Rude Pundit can't help but wonder what MSNBC or Fox would have done had this been an earthquake in Sweden, which has a similar number of citizens, or, hell, Ireland, which has less than half. So while we can certainly blame the pathetic degradation of international coverage and the craven ratings whoredom of GE or News Corp, there's something galling here about mostly ignoring a catastrophe in a nation of black people, as if Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow are more important than a disaster that has leveled a capital city in a country in which quite a few immigrants have roots, as if MSNBC and Fox simply didn't give a shit about the help.

2. Why Do Mark Halperin and John Heilemann Hate Women?: The Rude Pundit wrote yesterday (and Salon's Joan Walsh said the same on The Ed Show) that the too-much talked about book Game Change is rife with misogyny, at least in what's been reported in the press about it (in a five-day circle jerk that's gonna require a battalion of grumpy janitors to clean up).

Now, having read the section on the implosion of the John Edwards campaign excerpted in New York magazine, the Rude Pundit wonders if the objective of the writers was to punish women for daring to get involved in the man's game of politics. What you get from the tale is that Edwards would have been just fine if these nutty bitches around him hadn't been either feeding his delusions (like mistress Rielle Hunter) or denigrating him (and staffers) in a pseudo-Medea rage (like cancer-having, son-losing Elizabeth Edwards). Yes, Edwards comes across as a pathetic, egotistical joke, but Hunter and Elizabeth Edwards come across as succubi.

So add to that the portraits of Sarah Palin as a dim, manic-depressive religious zealot and Hillary Clinton as an angry, embittered failure, and you have to wonder why the media people clawing at each other to get Heilemann and Halperin to dish more haven't called them out on either their use of sources seeking payback or their own deplorable sexism.

3. What They're Watching in Hell: Actual exchange from last night's Fox "news" debut of Sarah Palin on Bill O'Reilly's show regarding the one time Palin met House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
O'REILLY: But did you chat with her? Do you have any idea?

PALIN: Chatted with her a little bit, yes. She was leading a group of school children through on a tour. And I thought, well, that's nice that she has that time on her hands that she could do that.

O'REILLY: Yes, but the school children need to be led. You know that.

PALIN: Yes, that's what I'm saying. It was nice.

O'REILLY: Now, do you think that she's a kook?

PALIN: I think that she, too, is quite disconnected from what her constituents are telling her — and constituents all over the country.

O'REILLY: But she's a San Francisco liberal. But — but do you think she's actually crazy?

Yes, the woman who quit as governor of the state that elected her in order to, among other things, get paid to be a Fox "news" commentator said that she thought Nancy Pelosi was wasting her time in showing schoolkids around the Capitol. And Bill O'Reilly's only follow-up was whether or not Pelosi was crazy.