Thursday, October 05, 2006

Carlson, With Visions Of Better Ratings, Tries To Bully Guest During Abortion Debate

Do it ever seem that conservative ranters just want to argue -- with no core values other than the need to feel superior?

Tucker Carlson, MSNBC's resident ratings cellar dweller, interviewed Eleanor Smeal last night, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. Or maybe bullied is the better word.

The discussion was on abortion rights, following MS Magazine's decision to feature the names of thousands of American women who have had abortions.

Carlson certainly knows his ratings are awful -- MSNBC moved his show out of primetime, and it's been bounced around the schedule in search of softer competition. Maybe that's why he was so unnecessarily confrontational, trying to frame the debate to make it pleasing to conservative ears. It was as if Carlson was desperately trying to appease the Bill O'Reilly-Hannity & Colmes viewers -- on the off chance any of them actually were watching.

Let's take a gander:

CARLSON: Eleanor Smeal, why would women want to brag about having abortions?

SMEAL: Well, they‘re not bragging, they‘re telling their stories. And it‘s about time that we get into the focus of this debate, women‘s lives. Because right now, for example, in the November ballot in South Dakota they‘re considering a ban on abortion. These are times where politicians play into their right wing, are making extreme statements about outlawing abortion, and yet abortion has played a significant role in saving women‘s lives, and they want to tell their stories.

CARLSON: But abortion, even people who support legal abortion recognize that abortion is horrible, it‘s depressing, it‘s awful. That‘s why we want it to be rare, in the famous and phony formulation of President Clinton.

Let's interject for a moment on that statement: "The famous and phony formulation of President Clinton." What does that mean, exactly?

A common misconception pushed by conservative ranters is that favoring abortion rights increases the number of abortions. Statistics show otherwise -- the rate of abortions dropped in the 1990s. (In the current decade, the rate continues to drop, but at a slower pace.)

But we wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good slam against a Democrat, right Tucker?


Continuing with the interview:

SMEAL: And when it is made illegal, women suffer and die.

CARLSON: But I thought whole — I mean the propaganda is we‘re not for abortion, we‘re pro-choice, we‘re merely for the option. But you‘re basically coming out and saying you‘re for abortion.

Carlson tried several times in the remainder of the interview to frame questions to get Smeal to say she is "for abortion," which is not the same thing as "favoring abortion rights."

It follows another common misconception perpetuated by conservative ranters: that those who favor abortion rights enjoy having abortions. It's the same mindset that suggests that those who favor abortion rights think abortion is a "lifestyle choice," or that they support women coming up with any old reason to have late-term (or as conservatives call it, "partial-birth") abortions. These are great talking points for the right wing, but there's no evidence -- statistical or otherwise -- to back it up.

Smeal addresses this in her response:

SMEAL: ... Because so often the debate is on slogans. It‘s on meaningless conditions that don‘t exist in real lives.


Anonymous Gen Patton said...

We wouldn't even be having this discussion if Women stopped trying to compete with men and started tending to their social responsiblities: taking care of their children. By the way what does Gloria Steinhem think of the Burka?

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's dumb

5:10 PM  
Anonymous jazzjunkysue said...

He's such a pig. Gets you on and refuses to listen to you.
Why anyone would go on that show, I'll never know.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Cygnusx2112 said...

To be fair, she could have spoken her point a LOT better...

He said something to the effect of "So you're for abortion".

She should have adamantly expressed, "Of course Tucker, no one in their right mind is FOR abortion, but I am for keeping it safe and legal".

How many times do I hear our side making attempting to make their points but missing the mark sooo badly

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Lars39 said...

The better frame is to keep it described as a medical procedure.
that is best decided between a woman and her doctor.
I am *for* abortion like I am *for* open-heart surgery.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Cygnusx2112 said...


Or flip it around and make it personal for Tucker.

"So Tucker, say your daughter is tragically raped. Are you FOR abortion then, or does it unfortunately become a necessary evil".

I swear, we're so much smarter than some of these knuckleheads but it often doesn't show.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Lars39 said...

Our politeness might be the death of us.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous whoop4467 said...

I have to say that repukes really confuse me.

1. They oppose abortion the best we can tell(I would bet my entire years paycheck there are die hard aborion hating repukes that get abortions - but not always in America)but they are just as jung-ho for the death penality, for wars they never fight in, for killing doctors that perform abortion,for torture of any of their enemies and probably would kill another person if no law against it that disagreed with them.

2. Against federal funded embryonic stem cell research with possibility saving more lives but favor fertility clinics discarding viable embryoes into medical waste ( 15 -20 per couple)

Me think they do this for political purpose to get the Christian right vote and to cause division in America.

Man aren't we a very honest nation politically. No wonder we have a hard time electing a president that is supported by at least 90-95% of our population.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker Carlson may have lost to bowtie, but he's still just a punk trying to hang with the "big boys"

1:40 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Well, I would hope that nobody who has had an abortion is "bragging" about it, but then again, one never knows.

I do know that Planned Parenthood used to sell a T-shirt from their on-line store that said..."I had an abortion". I don't see it there any longer. Now they only have "Save Roe" and "Kiss Me, I'm Pro-Choice", etc.

Perhaps they realized it was in poor taste and removed it from their inventory?

12:41 AM  
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