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In her obituary following the death of Betty Friedan this past Saturday, AP National Writer Hillel Italie summarized Friedan's first and most influential book, "The Feminine Mystique," in these terms:
Few books have so profoundly changed so many lives as did Friedan's 1963 best seller. Her assertion that a woman needed more than a husband and children was a radical break from the Eisenhower era, when the very idea of a wife doing any work outside of house work was fodder for gag writers, like an episode out of "I Love Lucy."

Independence for women was no joke, Friedan wrote. The feminine mystique was a phony deal sold to women that left them unfulfilled, suffering from "the problem that has no name" and seeking a solution in tranquilizers and psychoanalysis.

"A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, `Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children," Friedan said.

After her slap at the Republican Eisenhower era (it's not as if the Democratic Truman era that preceded it was any different for women after the soldiers returned from World War II), Italie's obituary carries expected praise from liberal icons Hillary Clinton, National Organization of Women President Kim Gandy and Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal.

The obituary's account of Friedan's early years and the time leading up to the publication of "The Feminine Mystique" reads like the "bright girl held back by societal norms becomes disillusioned" story one might expect based on her book.

The trouble is, the still widely-accepted accounts of Betty Friedan's early years have been shown to be totally, if you excuse the term, divorced from reality. The only hint that Italie gives of Friedan's true past is the description of her as a "labor reporter" during roughly the mid-1940s.

There's much more to Betty Friedan's early years than Ms. Italie lets on.



One would hope and expect a liberal newspaper like the New York Times to have the meager virtue of consistency on matters of freedom of expression, particularly in defense of another newspaper. As the world now knows, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad last September, considered taboo (though not always recognized as such) by Muslims.



Michael Hayden, Deputy Director of National Intelligence, appeared on both Fox News Sunday and This Week with George Stephanopoulos, but though at a Senate hearing just three days earlier Hayden and other intelligence officials had cited the potential damage caused by the New York Times story disclosing the program to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda communication inside the U.S., only Fox's Chris Wallace raised the subject.


Today's Matt Lauer scored a Jerome Bettis-sized TD this morning by asking a question regarding the current Muslim rioting that was as unexpected as it was perspicacious. Meanwhile, former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson offered the instinctive Democratic response to a threat to our security: bring on the UN!



The Tom Toles quadruple-amputee cartoon for the Washington Post hasn't been a major story, but it did inspire a story from ABC's Jake Tapper, and Toles was interviewed on CNN. (NRO Media Blog has video here.) In a brief interview, Paula Zahn's questions were fairly adversarial, and Toles was unapologetically liberal in reply:



The Communist Backed group, The World Can't Wait, held an anti-Bush rally in DC yesterday. Stories carried by the Washington Post and the AP included a picture or two from the rally. Interestingly neither media organization bothered to include the photo of the protest sign depicting a beheaded President Bush. In light of the signs of protest against the Danish cartoons, it is a shame that the media refuses to cover the level of hatred against the President of the United States here in America.



Thanks to my Yahoo-loving wife, I've learned that NBC is backtracking big-time on the Britney Spears "Cruci-fixins" plot we noted last week. E! Online News reports:



Newsweek no doubt thought they had a neat story on college debate, which is all the rage at Christian colleges. (That, and it never hurts to remind liberal readers of the Vast Right-Wing Christian conspiracy brewing in the shadows.) Reporter Susannah Meadows focused on a hot debate team at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University:



The mainstream press absolutely refuses to cast the NSA terrorist surveillance program in anything other than a negative light. The latest example is this piece from Time Magazine. In addition to continued use of the adjective "domestic" when talking about international calls ("U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales speaks about domestic wiretapping policies at Georgetown University"), the article focuses on AG Gonzales' expected testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary committee this coming week.
Specter's hearing, which is scheduled to last most of Monday, will focus on presidential powers in wartime and will examine whether Bush took legal shortcuts in implementing the program, which allows the National Security Agency to monitor communications involving suspected al-Qaeda members if one party to the conversation is inside the U.S. The program began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks and was exposed by the New York Times in December. Since then, lawmakers have complained that the administration's legal arguments are shaky, and have contended that briefings for the House and Senate intelligence committees were inadequate or misleading.


Hey, I'm a multi-culturalist. I'm happy to see people observing their various religious holidays, from Christmas to Chanukah to Ramadan. But somehow, my multicultural enthusiasms run out of steam when it comes to . . . condoning the sacking of foreign embassies.



Newsweek's Eleanor Clift leveled a parting shot at retiring Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, condemning him for putting his imprimatur on President Bush's tax cuts.


In the most expensive film ever made in Turkey, "Valley of the Wolves Iraq," American troops are depicted as savages who indiscriminately kill Muslims.

Reports the AP:



Introducing a Friday CBS Evening News story on the state of the media, part of a week-long “The State of...” series prompted by the annual State of the Union address, anchor Bob Schieffer pointed to how a CBS News/New York Times poll found that “most Americans have at least some confidence in the media, and more than two out of three [69 percent] believe the stories the media report are accurate.” As Schieffer spoke, viewers saw a graphic titled “Confidence in the media?” with “at least some” listed at 63 percent. Left unnoted: Only 15 percent said they had a “great deal” of confidence compared to 48 percent who expressed only a “fair amount” of confidence. Schieffer and CBS skipped, however, how the survey determined that twice as many believe that “compared to other Presidents, the news media have been harder on President Bush,” at 35 percent, than the 18 percent who see the media going “easier on President Bush.” The plurality, 45 percent, responded that the media are “treating President Bush the same.”

The poll conducted in late January didn't ask about ideological bias in the media, but a PDF posting of the results relayed how those on the left have more faith in the media than do those on the right: “Large majorities of Democrats and liberals (about seven in 10 of each) think the news media tells the truth all or most of the time. About half of Republicans and conservatives agree.” Specifically, asked “how much trust and confidence do you have in the news media?”, 75 percent of Democrats answered “a great deal” or a “fair amount,” compared to 52 percent for Republican respondents. And 48 percent of Republicans, but just 25 percent of Democrats, have "not very much" or "no" confidence in the news media. (Brief transcript, and another poll finding, follow.)



On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor John Seigenthaler retracted and apologized for a story, which ran on December 17, 2005, accusing former President Richard Nixon of ordering his aides to target journalist Jack Anderson for murder.



Granted, this doesn't necessarily mean that one of the most beloved actresses in the history of television is a conservative Republican. Nonetheless, check out this exchange from a brief interview with Mary Tyler Moore in the February 6 Newsweek:

What do you watch on TV these days?

A lot of Fox News. I also watch "Two and a Half Men" and "Lost."