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Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / March 23, 1998 / 25 Adar, 5758

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas CNN's century of (liberal) women

CONSERVATIVE MEDIA critics have occasionally referred to CNN disparagingly as the "Clinton News Network" because of a perceived bias in favor of the president. But a series running this month shows it is more the network of the wife of CNN Chairman Ted Turner and could be named JFN, "Jane Fonda's Network."

In observance of Women's History Month, CNN is airing on four Sunday nights "A Century of Women: Justice for All," hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton and featuring perhaps the most one-sided, biased and distorted view of women ever seen on television. Among the women showcased are actresses Meryl Streep, Clinton News Network Jessica Lange, Glenn Close and Jodie Foster (who recently announced her unmarried pregnancy), Maya Angelou, Grace Slick and R-rated author Erica Jong, who apparently believes true equality for women means being able to talk as dirty as the proverbial sailor. Also included are the grandchildren of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whose advocacy of birth control and abortion is praised, but whose racist views and endorsement of eugenics to produce a "master race" is conveniently ignored.

The only conservative woman on the series is Phyllis Schlafly, whose name is misspelled "Schafley" in the press release.

When men appear -- if they are not acting like "Stepford husbands" -- they are opposed to women's rights and equality. They are abusers, rapists and insensitive brutes. Mothers who choose to stay at home with their children because they regard this as a higher calling than a career that pays in currency are treated with disdain when they are considered at all.

Mrs. Clinton, whose heroine and seance partner is Eleanor Roosevelt, was featured prominently in the March 8 broadcast. In a revealing comment with contemporary overtones, historian Blanche Wiesen Cook said that when Mrs. Roosevelt discovered that her husband was having an affair with his social secretary Lucy Mercer, "her knowledge of the affair frees her to pursue her own life .... "

Fonda said: "Mrs. Roosevelt looked beyond her family for fulfillment." That's the message liberal women want all women to get, and it is repeated in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Historian Susan Ware claimed "Eleanor Roosevelt was a gift to all women." All women? In some homes, the Roosevelt name was not allowed to be mentioned unless modified by curses.

"She was not born to be liberal, but seemed to at least work at it," said Paula Giddings, another historian (herstorian?), about Mrs. Roosevelt.

Nowhere was the propaganda as intense as in the abortion segment, where Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued Roe vs. Wade before the Supreme Court, was interviewed. It was conveniently overlooked that Weddington lied to the court about her client, Norma McCorvey, who claimed that her pregnancy resulted from a gang rape, though it did not. That fact, along with McCorvey's conversion to the pro-life side and reasons for it, were ignored. From Weddington we got the usual "back alleys" line about where some illegal abortions were performed before Roe. The support available to women from pro-life organizations like the Florence Crittendon Homes is also disregarded.

An unidentified female appeared in a sound bite to say: "I'm here to speak for all rape victims." The show is full of similar pretentious and arrogant presumptions and sustained with unmitigated bias.

The few good things in the series, such as the struggle for women's right to vote, are obscured by the heavy political hand of Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda and a parade of females who want the viewer to believe that women with different ideas either don't exist or are irrelevant to the progressive, forward-looking sisters in whom all truth resides.

The history of women is a good subject, but CNN's treatment is more ideological than documentary. Real history is played out on a wider screen. "A Century of Women" is part of CNN's "Perspective" series. Unfortunately, it is largely one perspective that could have been titled "A Century of Liberal Women." Those who thought that Jane Fonda had mellowed since she married Ted Turner were wrong. Her platform has merely shifted from a seat on an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi to a perch at the top of an American television network.


3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.