Bachmann debate turns crazy

The latest tempest in the political teapot involves a Newsweek cover photo of GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann that some supporters say is unflattering and makes her look crazy.

Even liberal feminists from the National Organization for Women are denouncing as sexist the headline that proclaims the tea party favorite to be “The Queen of Rage.”

“The ‘Queen of Rage’ is something you apply to wrestlers or somebody who is crazy,” said NOW president Terry O’Neill.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with my Facebook friend David Harada-Stone, who posted, “I’d be more worried that the sh** she says makes her sound crazy.”

But professionally, I know that references based on gender and race have high potential to inflame, distort and distract the discussion and feel Newsweek should have known better.

We learned the lesson in the 2008 presidential campaign, when columnists like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times took major heat over gender-based putdowns of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

I also got some grief from Clinton supporters about comments I made to the effect that we needed to expand the political gene pool and stop trading the presidency back and forth between Bushes and Clintons.

But they couldn’t get me for gender bias; I reviewed what I’d written about Clinton and found no references to her gender except “she” and “her.”

I don’t see it as political correctness to use neutral language on matters of personal identity to avoid inflaming sensitivities. It’s a common courtesy that makes the public discourse a little more civil.

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5 Comments on “Bachmann debate turns crazy”

  1. kalaheo Says:

    If you haven’t seen it yet, last night’s “The Daily Shiw” had a pretty fair take on that cover. Basically, Jon Stewart said that yes, the cover is needlessly unflattering, but that some of her comments are even more unflattering to herself..

    But he managed to do it in a pretty fair and funny way.

  2. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    What’s wrong with the picture? She looks like the guy who shot Rep. Gifford, especially around the eyes.

    Should she have been called The King of Rage?

    Aren’t you glad we live in Hawai`i? I’d definitely like to be a fly on the wall of the ladies room in the US House when Colleen runs into her.

  3. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Obviously the editors of a failing periodical chose that photo because it would be controversial and sell more magazines.

    Says a lot about Newsweek to me. Even my canary rejected it.

    I happen to dislike a lot about Ms. Bachman’s politics and views but I equally dislike the cheap and divisive theatrics that generate more hostility among us as Americans.

  4. Hugh Clark Says:

    I rejected Bachman long ago as iill suited for any public office for her nasty temperament more than her strange ideology. But I fired Newsweek some three years ago as irrelevant after reading it from 1956 or 57. That was a year after I canned Time forever for its unsavory journalism practices.

    Now I read “The Week” and am comfortable with its breadth and content.

  5. curious george Says:

    newsweek still exists? and people still read it? NS!

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