Today's Reliable Source column refers to a political dustup between Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher and Hadassah Lieberman as " a catfight," and somehow, Kathleen Parker spins the situation into a screed about antifeminism and bloggers ruining media? Holy leaps of logic, Batman!

Since this whole situation seems to rest on assumptions and flimsy premises, let's try to jump along with the timeline of events.

Leap One: The Correct Course of Action is to Blame a Politician's Wife For His Actions In the Senate

Firedoglake has an action item up asking readers to petition the Susan G. Korman For the Cure Foundation, and associated celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, to ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down from her paid position as a Global Ambassador. Conservative sites are crying foul, pointing out that she is nothing more than the wife of Lieberman. Her job should not be at risk because of his actions. And most rational people are inclined to agree.

While it is true that political spouses can and do influence matters of policy, a direct action by Joe Lieberman should lead to a direct action against Joe Lieberman. If Hadassah Lieberman was up on Capitol Hill last week railing against health care reform, I could understand - but at this point, her beliefs and actions as they relate to Lieberman's vote withdrawal are not known. So this is bad form.


However, this brings us to issue number two.

Leap Two: Who Made This About Pulling Women Out of the Workforce?

Kathleen Parker's article starts out with a debunking of the connections between Hadassah Lieberman and big healthcare, and points out that her position with Komen is unpaid. However, the logic train quickly derails (emphasis mine):

Whether one agrees with Sen. Lieberman's opposition to certain elements of the Senate health-care bill is a matter of legitimate debate. Democrats are understandably furious with the Senator Formerly Known as a Democrat, now an independent and sometimes a Republican sympathizer. Thanks largely to Lieberman, progressives have had to watch as their single-payer dream became a public option and, now, something closer to a nightmare.

But again, what has any of this to do with his wife's work for a nonprofit organization that has raised breast cancer awareness and saved countless lives around the world? There is no conflict of interest unless you think that a wife should stay home and be her husband's silent partner.



In that light, the attack on Hadassah Lieberman has been fantastically anti-feminist. In what American century is a wife's job in jeopardy because of her husband's politics?

Hamsher's call to action against Lieberman was not based in some reactionary idea that women should stay in the home. Her action was because she believed Hadassah Lieberman played some kind of a role in Joe Lieberman's vote, which would constitute a conflict of interest given her position. These are tenuous connections, but easily traceable. But Parker isn't finished just yet.


Leap Three: Blame One Person's Actions on All of New Media

Parker, after halfway making her last point launches into the real reason for her two page crusade:

Ultimately, this may prove much ado about nada. But there is a larger issue embedded herein concerning the damaging effects of viral warfare on individual reputations, not to mention democracy.

Hadassah Lieberman is but the most recent victim of new media that owe no allegiance to facts or to the goal of an informed citizenry. In such an environment, anyone's reputation is subject to the whim of any other person armed with an agenda and a random selection of disputable facts, and unencumbered by standards.


Firedoglake is one blog. And influential blog, but one blog out of millions. And to slander all of new media as a group of individuals who don't believe in facts discounts why much of new media got popular in the first place. Some blogs and organizations play hard and loose with factual information. So do outlets like Fox News. So do mainstream media outlets, who often have to print retractions and corrections, and often propagate rumors or fail to report on important information.

Bonus WTF: Are All Confrontations Between Women Catfights?

Note to the Reliable Source: Two professional women beefing does not equal a cat fight. Two women should be allowed to disagree with each other publicly and not have that dismissive and gendered term apply.

When Bloggers Attack: Jane Hamsher Has Some Choice Words For Hadassah Leiberman [Reliable Source]
The Anti-Feminist Attack On Hadassah Lieberman [Washington Post]
Tell Susan G. Komen For The Cure To Remove Hadassah Lieberman [FDL Action]