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Talking Points Memo Cuts Female Writer Not Making Case for Obama

by Linda Hirshman

Hi there. Linda Hirshman here. I just got the boot from TPM Cafe©, where I have been blogging for more than a year. Back story: I published a piece on the cover of the Outlook section of the Washington Post last Sunday, March 2, on the class divide in Hillary Clinton’s female supporters. Since I criticized the scribbling females of the blogosphere, the article elicited the predictable onslaught of response from them. But when I sent Andrew Golis, my normal contact at TPM Cafe©, my response to post, I got an email telling me TPM had pulled my posting privileges (I don’t normally publish email exchanges, but I have no personal relationship with any of the people at TPM, including Golis, and this seems like a fairly straightforward public business communication with no personal material involved.): “For the time being, we’re cycling our regular contributers [sic] at the Coffee house and trying to cut down the number of folks with at will posting privileges. If you occasionally have a piece I’d of course love to check it out. But unfortunately we’re limiting the number of people who post regularly.”

I must admit I was a little surprised. I have not been fired in a long time (decades, really), and I think I’m having a pretty good run in the crowded precincts of political commentary. True, my last few postings at TPM Cafe© were not in keeping with the overwhelming majority of their articles, making and making the case for Senator Barack Obama. I questioned the value of an Idaho caucus victory. I criticized Maureen Dowd’s column suggesting that when a perfect female candidate came along, the media would be delighted to support her. I suggested that “Josh” might have waited to get more survey results before he posted his video embracing the ultimately erroneous Zogby predictions for the California primary the afternoon before the primary. But I thought that the new media of the blogosphere was actually established in part to offset what they considered the tendency of the MSM to cut its coverage to suit its
preexisting, largely establishment, predilections. So I was blithely oblivious to the possibility that my dissenting views on the inevitability and divinity of the Obama candidacy might cause a problem. Never bashful, I thought I’d press the messenger.

Linda to Andrew: “So why did I not make the cut? Is writing for the times and the Post not good enough for TPM?”

Andrew: “It’s not a matter of prestigious clippings, Linda. We’re trying to both keep long-standing contributers [sic] around and flesh out the discussion by involving people who are covering things we’re not yet addressing.”

Linda: “And do you have a lot of contributors covering the female voters, who are likely to determine the outcome of the election of the President of the United States? I am assuming it’s not that you don’t want anyone who’s not already in the tank for Obama. I am serious, here, Andrew. I think this is a real mistake; I have a point of view you don’t have much of, I am getting increasingly prestigious opportunities to write and opine, and this is the moment you should capitalize on your relationship with me, not drop me.”

Andrew: “I’m not sure the accusation of bias is particularly helpful. For now, like I said, we’re focusing on getting our long-standing regulars and folks covering things we don’t on the blog. I recognize that you think female voters should be one of those things, we disagree.” [emphasis mine]

So. Either the dozen guys who run TPM do not think female voting behavior is worthy of their coverage or, dare I say it, they don’t want to run material that might result in readers supporting a candidate other than the one they favor. They do not appear to have deacquisitioned Ruth Rosen, who is one of the Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama!, which of course only supports my most paranoid thoughts.



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Linda R. Hirshman retired as the Allen/Berenson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brandeis University. With almost no effort, she landed spot No. 77 on Bernard Goldberg’s 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. She is the author of Get to Work … And Get a Life Before It’s Too Late, and, recently, ” Sixteen Ways of Looking at A Female Voter,” (NYT Magazine, Sunday, February 3, 2008).

TM NOTE: Verification of the email exchanges in Ms. Hirshman’s post above was provided.

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