Top Feminist Issues Stunning Rebuke For Media’s ‘Total Silence’ On Planned Parenthood
A major feminist author and former Planned Parenthood member shredded the U.S. media Wednesday for its “shockingly unprofessional” failure to cover the release of secret videos showing alleged trafficking in fetal organs by employees of Planned Parenthood.
Camille Paglia, a self-described “dissident feminist” and widely-syndicated cultural critic, made her remarks as part of a three-day interview series with the website Salon. She was discussing her overall displeasure with the modern state of the American media, and said the case of Planned Parenthood was a key recent example of its decline:
Now let me give you a recent example of the persisting insularity of liberal thought in the media. When the first secret Planned Parenthood video was released in mid-July, anyone who looks only at liberal media was kept totally in the dark about it, even after the second video was released. But the videos were being run nonstop all over conservative talk shows on radio and television. It was a huge and disturbing story, but there was total silence in the liberal media. That kind of censorship was shockingly unprofessional. The liberal major media were trying to bury the story by ignoring it. Now I am a former member of Planned Parenthood and a strong supporter of unconstrained reproductive rights. But I was horrified and disgusted by those videos and immediately felt there were serious breaches of medical ethics in the conduct of Planned Parenthood officials. But here’s my point: it is everyone’s obligation, whatever your political views, to look at both liberal and conservative news sources every single day. You need a full range of viewpoints to understand what is going on in the world.
Paglia’s criticism is telling, as it comes from a proud and long-time left-wing voice. Elsewhere in the interview, she described herself as a Martin O’Malley supporter, though she says she would “happily” vote for Bernie Sanders as well.
Nevertheless, Paglia also shows a tremendous amount of displeasure with many of her fellow progressives. Besides her Planned Parenthood complaint, Paglia also attacked The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, saying he was emblematic of the “vacuity” of modern comedy:
I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark. … I’m sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse. I find nothing incisive in his work. As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States.
Also, despite being a self-professed atheist, Paglia said she was disgusted by the work of prominent anti-religion authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins:
I regard them as adolescents. I say in the introduction to my last book, “Glittering Images,” that “Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.” It exposes a state of perpetual adolescence that has something to do with their parents — they’re still sneering at dad in some way. … I’m speaking here as an atheist. I don’t believe there is a God, but I respect every religion deeply. All the great world religions contain a complex system of beliefs regarding the nature of the universe and human life that is far more profound than anything that liberalism has produced. We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death. The great tragic texts, including the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, no longer have the central status they once had in education, because we have steadily moved away from the heritage of western civilization.
The real problem is a lack of knowledge of religion as well as a lack of respect for religion. I find it completely hypocritical for people in academe or the media to demand understanding of Muslim beliefs and yet be so derisive and dismissive of the devout Christian beliefs of Southern conservatives.
Paglia’s comments continue a streak that began Tuesday, when she compared Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby and criticized Columbia University for allowing Emma Sulkowicz, or “Mattress Girl,” to carry her mattress on stage at graduation.
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