Prejean's careful to say that she "takes responsibility" for the tape, which she made by herself when she was 17 and sent to a boyfriend she "loved and cared about." When it comes to the
public discussion of the tape, however, she blames an ongoing smear campaign against her — and Fox News' Sean Hannity, unsurprisingly, is only too happy to indulge her. He compares her to Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Coulter and, in what might be the Softball Question of the Year, asks, "Do you think conservative women are targeted for their views?" "Absolutely," says Prejean.
She may be right that, because she's young, attractive, and female, her sex life gets more attention than, say, Hannity's. It's tempting to say that this is because she tried to pass judgment on other people's lives, and that's certainly part of it. But really, it's not just conservative women who are subject to sexual scrutiny — it's all women. And for Prejean to claim that she, as a conservative, is being uniquely "silenced" simply shows that she's not paying attention. First of all, appearing on multiple television shows to promote your book doesn't constitute silence. And second of all, perhaps Prejean should listen more closely to the ways her conservative supporters describe liberal women.
Prejean actually gets a remarkably fair treatment on Today, with an opening segment implying that she lost her job as Miss California for her views on gay marriage, not for being an impossible employee. Nonetheless, Prejean takes her appearance as an opportunity to claim that "so many Americans believe that [...] they should be silent, and free speech doesn't exist," and that "there's an extreme double standard that conservative women are under attack for whatever it is." After Meredith Vieira pushes her a bit on her claim that she's been "Palinized," she cites Keith Olbermann's criticism of her, and adds,
If Sean Hannity [...] said anything about Sonia Sotomayor or Michelle Obama, he would be off the air. And that's the reason I wrote this book.
But in fact, Sean Hannity has said plenty of bad things about Sonia Sotomayor, and he remains on the air to give Prejean far more publicity than she's earned. Though she doesn't deserve to have her sex life made public, she also doesn't deserve some kind of immunity from all media slings and arrows, especially when she is promoting a book. She says her sex tape was "the biggest mistake of my life," but I can think of a bigger one: forgetting that freedom of speech cuts both ways, and that if she's allowed to speak out against gay marriage (and get enormous media exposure doing it), other people are allowed to criticize her.