Accuracy in Media

Hugh Hefner’s death last week at 91 brought forth some interesting reactions.

A man who spent decades of his life exploiting women, objectifying them, treating them in his magazine and elsewhere as existing only to provide pleasure to men might have raised the ire of feminists, who tend to object to such things in principle.  But things did not go that way at all.

Online publications, network newscasts and cable channels that generally take it upon themselves to cheerlead for the feminist movement in America did an overnight about-face to suddenly see the pornography peddler as a “sexual revolutionary,” a “champion of free speech,” and, by one account, a “family man.”

Hefner made a career out of humiliating women for his own despicable, misogynistic and sexist pleasures. Among the media outlets that dismissed basically all of Hefner’s disgusting behavior was E! News, which published the headline, “Why We Loved Hugh Hefner: See His Best and Craziest Moments.”

The article, written by female author Vanessa Jackson, featured a video, which cast Hefner as a “sweet” and “caring” man who “treated everyone like family.”

Yes, that’s right: “Like family.” Because everyone knows that decent family men pay women half their age to strip down to nothing, so Mr. Family Man can selfishly satisfy his disturbing desires, right? Wrong.

A true family man respects women for who they are. He does not objectify them or act as if they are his property. Many feminists might tell you they agree with this seemingly uncontroversial concept, many of their fellow feminists in the media clearly see things differently.

The mainstream media’s anti-woman crusade continued following Hefner’s death last week in an article by New York Daily News authors Kerry Burke and Denis Slattery. The piece, titled, “Hugh Hefner remembered fondly by friends, employees he inspired,” quoted former Playboy Playmate Courtney Culkin, a Long Island native, as calling Hefner a “gentleman.”

“I remember his kindness, his generosity. He stood for freedom of expression and his legacy will live on,” Culkin added, recalling Hefner’s “wet kisses.” She went on to describe her own relationship with Hefner as “very professional,” which may have made Culkin the first woman to describe her relationship with a male boss as both “very professional” and involving “wet kisses.”

And, finally, as if “family man,” “gentleman,” and “sexual revolutionary” somehow were not sufficient undeserved praise for Hefner, Fortune’s Claire Zillman hailed him as a “champion” of women’s reproductive rights.” The author rightly acknowledged that Playboy magazine is “sexist,” she defended its late founder because he supported women getting abortions.

Zillman noted that it was in 1965 that Playboy published its first article in support of legalizing abortions. The article came eight years before the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent babies over the span of several decades.

Just when you thought there might be one thing liberal feminists and conservatives might be able to agree upon (i.e. the objectification of women, the degradation of females everywhere and the intellectual insult to millions of women because of the smut Hefner spewed into society for decades, both sides of the political spectrum appear even more divided than we thought.

After all, if most Americans can’t even agree that women need to be treated with respect and decency – rather than as property – what, then, can we all agree on?

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