Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Donohue alleges media cover-up of harmless Jon Stewart joke

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Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart

Watch out, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show: Bill Donohue is vewy angwy at you and wants you to know he’ll be whining petulantly mounting a full-scale counterattack if you don’t immediately prostrate yourself before him in apology. Because he’s the self-styled representative for all Catholics, don’t you know, and if he’s got his knickers in a twist, then Churchians everywhere are offended … I guess. (Which is weird, as the only other people making any noise about this are the dolts over at NewsBusters and similar Right-wing “watchdog” sites. Not a peep from any non-pearl-clutching Catholics anywhere.)

For those of you not in the know, here’s the segment that Donohue is so verklempt over, from Monday’s broadcast:

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Transcript (via NewsBusters – yes, I’m lazy): (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

JON STEWART: Welcome back. Now, Hilary Rosen's comments on working mothers wasn't the only news last week regarding women in the workplace. Let's go to Wisconsin.


ED SCHULTZ: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker quietly signed a bill last night repealing the state equal pay law. Glenn Grothman who pushed for equal pay repeal explained, “You can argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in uh, their first job maybe because they expect to be a bread winner some day.”

STEWART: Wow. Even for a bill meant to screw women, that takes balls. But it's just the latest in a series of conservative legislative efforts that seem to amount to a multi-state roll back a number of rights women have come to enjoy. I wish there was a pithier way to say that.


AL SHARPTON: The GOP war on women has exploded.

STEWART: It’s catchy. War on women? There’s a problem with that one.


STEVE DOOCY, Fox News: It's not a war on women.

MARK DAVIS, Dallas Morning News: The ridiculous of this war on women.

JANINE TURNER, Washington Examiner: They created this phony war on women.

DAVIS: It is only the bitterest cynicism that portrays that as a war on women.

JUAN WILLIAMS, Fox News: This is a made up phony war on women.

STEWART: Respect! I think what FOX is trying to say is that elevating this political fight to the level of “war” diminishes the seriousness with which real conflicts are engaged. War is real. War is hell. Not some casual metaphor.


ERIC BOLLING, Fox News: In case you didn’t know, there's a war on Christmas in America.

STEWART: I did not know that. I did not know there was a war on Christmas because from my perspective, Christmas seems to be everywhere. (Laughter) But if Fox believes the attacks on Christmas are so serious as to warrant this label they are otherwise loath to use, I'm happy to hear the reasoning.


DOOCY: A lot of companies haven't been saying “Merry Christmas.” They've been going “Happy holidays.”

Fox News Reporter: Calling the state house Christmas tree a holiday tree.

Fox News Reporter: A possible tax on your tree?

MEGYN KELLY, Fox News: The Tulsa holiday parade of lights. Formally the Christmas parade of lights.

BILL HEMMER, Fox News: The homeowners association, Doylestown Station, PA, banning colored and blinking Christmas lights.

STEWART: No colored lights? This is war! When it comes to Christmas lights at Doylestown Station, it's whites only. Only this time liberals won't lift a finger. That's a pretty strong case for a war on Christmas. You do have to ask then, so what evidence is there for some kind of war on women?


ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: Arizona's legislature would force women to prove to employers they are using birth control for medical reasons.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC: In Mississippi today, criminalize abortion at murder.

REPORTER: Arizona, now doctors will not face a lawsuit if they fail to tell parents about any risks the unborn child could face.

MITCHELL: Pennsylvania would require sonograms before abortions.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: The transvaginal ultrasound–when seeking an abortion in Virginia.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC: The Violence Against Women Act. Now for the first time there's opposition to this.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC: In Texas a bill that would block Planned Parenthood from receiving state planning money.

REPORTER: A bill making single parenting child abuse.

SHEPARD SMITH, Fox News: So if your one who likes to beat your wife, you should probably move to Topeka, Kansas because it's legal there.

STEWART: Of course if you want the best barbecue, Kansas City is where it's at. Eh, but for wife beating you’re gonna head to Topeka. Wow! So with all those attempts to curtail women's rights in area after area, are you telling me that, that doesn't raise the level of war? That doesn't bother anyone at Fox?


GRETCHEN CARLSON: Uh. You know what? This gets me so upset. I have a feeling I might have to leave for these future discussions.

STEWART: You know what, I apologize Gretchen Carlson, exhibiting actual empathy for women–Oh, I’m sorry, she wasn't talking about women's issues. What was she talking about?


DOOCY: There apparently is an elementary school in Stockton, California. They can't have things that remind people of the Christmas season like poinsettias or Santa in their classes because it might offend people who are not Christian.

STEWART: Well, that is upsetting! (Laughter) What can women do to generate the same sense of outrage from Fox as the removal of decorative slightly poisonous holiday plants? Perhaps they could play into the theme? Maybe women could protect their reproductive organs from unwanted medical intrusions with vagina mangers. (Laughter) I–I had not seen that picture. That really could be anything. That almost looks like the crown from those imperial margarine commercials. Or perhaps instead of asking for birth control, women could get an advent calendar with pills instead of chocolate. (Laughter) Oh! The 20th, placebo day! All right. Christmas is a special case. That is an incredibly important holiday. And again, I'm sure that nothing else rises to that level of outrage.


Fox News Reporter: War on Hanukkah now too.

Fox News Reporter: This is the war on Easter.

ERIC BOLLING, Fox News: War on, wait for it. Fall holidays.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Let's talk war on Halloween.

DENEEN BORELLI: War on fossil fuels.

Fox News Reporter: The war on the constitution.

SHANNON BREAM, Fox News: The war on ladies' night.

Fox Business Reporter: The War on Fisherman!

BRIAN KILMEADE: Can you accept the war on salt?

SHEPHARD SMITH: It's the war on chocolate milk.

MEGYN KELLY: War on sugary drinks.

DOOCY: War on food.

Fox News: Is this a nanny state war on spuds?

STEWART: Oh, my God! No wonder we're having trouble in Afghanistan and Iraq. We're in like 18 wars. Oh, my God. We're Sparta. (Laughter) Seems like women are the only thing there's not currently a war on. Gotta be some way to earn America's women the coveted war label.


SEAN HANNITY: The liberal media wages a war on conservative women.

Fox News: The media is waging against conservative women.

STEWART: Oh, so for Fox if–if women upset with recent Republican legislative restrictions want to be considered victims of war, the solution is easy. Uh, vote for them. We’ll be right back.

Can you tell which part in particular got Donohue & co.’s attention? Ready to feel the outrage? Here you go:

“Vagina manger”
Ooh la la!

… Wait. That’s it? No burning crosses? No calling Jesus a self-murdering zombie? No demonic crucifix sex toy [NSFW]? Just a silly little image involving some creatively censored privates? (Honestly, I can barely even tell what that thing is; I never would’ve known if Stewart hadn’t actually called it a “vagina manger”.)

Better yet, not satisfied with cranking up the contrived outrage machine to 11, Donohue is now wondering why no-one else seems to mention his new pet cause:

Reuters did a story on Monday’s edition of “The Daily Show” but never mentioned the vagina manger scene segment; it was picked up by the,, and Yahoo! Movies. Also reporting on this episode, but never citing the obscene segment were the following: the blog site of the;;;;;; NBC-TV New York; and NBC-TV Chicago. Only and mentioned the offensive part.

The cover-up is revealing. This episode of “The Daily Show” was done to protest Fox’s alleged indifference to the “war on women,” and in doing so Stewart not only made a vulgar attack on Christians, he objectified women.

Really? Bill is whining that others aren’t also losing their minds over a silly and perfectly benign joke on a late-night comedy show? (And that’s not even mentioning the irony that Donohue is accusing Stewart of being demeaning to women, given the logic behind the idea that something is supposedly sullied by being associated with a woman’s tender parts, thus implying that female genitals – and by extension, women themselves – are filthy and sinful and whatnot. Which is standard Catholic doctrine, of course.)

I think I know why no-one other than Rightist cranks are complaining about this, Donohue. It’s not because of some “media cover-up” (by whom, I ask?). It’s because no-one else cares. You see, they, unlike you and your ilk, were fortunate to be born with this thing called a sense of humor. They can take a joke without construing every single little jab as blaspheming hate-speech. Maybe you ought to take a leaf out of their book?

Then again …

We are asking Stewart to apologize. If he does not, we will mobilize Protestants, Jews, Mormons and Muslims to join us in a boycott of his sponsors. Moreover, we will not stop with a boycott; there are other things that can be done to register our outrage. We are prepared to spend the money it takes to make this a nationwide issue, and we are prepared to stay the course. Tomorrow we will have something definitive to say, one way or the other.

… apparently you’d rather make an even bigger fool of yourself than you already have. Hint: Threatening to crush a TV comedian over a jape that virtually no-one else cares about is not going to end in your favor. That’s just mathematics.

But hey, by all means, Bill, fool away. I’m just hoping Stewart does address you and your phony trumped-up whining on his show – and laughs at you for the whole half hour, or at least until you finally recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around you and your Gingrich-size ego and that no-one else needs to kiss your ass whenever you decide to get offended by every little prod on television.