Accuracy in Media

USA Today editor Ken Paulsen reportedly sent a memo to his staff saying that he wants to see more original stories. “We’re looking for stories that have not been reported before or that can be told in a distinctly different way,” he said. He wants people to say, “I saw it in USA Today.” Paulsen hit the jackpot on October 20 but he didn’t realize it.

USA Today published the interview in which Teresa Heinz Kerry dismissed Laura Bush as never holding down a “real job.” It was near the end of the interview and USA Today editors didn’t seem to realize what a blockbuster they had. The next day, when Heinz Kerry apologized for the remark, USA Today once again failed to grasp the significance of the comment, relegating the story to page 4.

All of this was deliberate, of course. Liberal journalists know full well that the comment was dynamite. The comment reflected liberal elitism and feminist disdain for the stay-at-home mom. It was deeply offensive to those of us who know how demanding and stressful it is to take care of children and a home.

It’s not an accident that the Heinz Kerry statement got buried or dismissed. For the liberal media, the exercise of attacking Laura Bush, a former teacher, librarian and full-time mother, as never having “a real job,” was not a gaffe. A headline over a Los Angeles Times story referred to the comment as creating a “small stir,” which was true because liberal journalists as a whole, especially feminists, did not regard this slur as that significant or newsworthy.

The Heinz Kerry apology made things worse, but the media, once again, chose to ignore the fallout. The Heinz Kerry “apology” said that “I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a schoolteacher and librarian, and there couldn’t be a more important job than teaching our children. As someone who has been both a full-time mom and full-time in workforce, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs. Bush’s service to the country as first lady, and am sincerely sorry I had not remembered her important work in the past.”

This “apology” was misleading. She may have forgotten that Laura Bush had “worked as a schoolteacher and librarian,” but how could she have forgotten that she was a mother of children? Mrs. Bush’s daughters haven’t been hidden away. The answer is that she did not forget. The apology demonstrates that she does not regard being a mother and homemaker as a “real job.” 

So what “real job” does Heinz Kerry hold? USA Today identified her as a “philanthropist.” Does giving away her late husband’s money constitute a real job? And what kind of job is it?

A recent report from the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee identifies the Heinz foundations as being among the “environmental groups and their supporting organizations” engaged in blatant partisan political activity. Heinz Kerry is either chairperson of the board of trustees or a member of the board of at least three Heinz family-affiliated foundations that contribute millions of dollars to radical environmental causes. That’s her “real job.”

In releasing the report, Senator James M. Inhofe, chairman, said that “Environmental organizations have become experts at deceptive activity, skirting laws up to the edge of illegality, and burying their political activities under the guise of non-profit environmental improvement. These reports demonstrate this interconnected ‘environmental family affair’ of non-profits and their benefactors.”

The reports are available on the website of the Inhofe committee. One would have hoped that the major media would have conducted such an investigation. But that might be embarrassing to Heinz Kerry and throw into question the claim that her “job” consists only of doing good for others?real philanthropy.

Ironically, Lesley Stahl of CBS’s 60 Minutes on October 10 had aired a story about women leaving the career world to stay at home with their children. “Census bureau statistics show a 15-percent increase in the number of stay-at-home moms in less than 10 years,” Stahl reported.

Lisa Beattie Frelinghuysen, a lawyer who clerked at the Supreme Court for feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explained, “I was afraid that if I was working, there would be no parent there with the children. And I wanted to experience getting to know my children, being there in a consistent way.”

It seems that the job of being a wife, mother and homemaker can not only be a “real job,” it can be rewarding to a woman to have a positive impact on children and families. That’s real philanthropy.

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