Update: Milbank and Cillizza apologize and “Mouthpiece Theater” is canceled.
Offender: Writer/Reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza
Media Outlet: The Washington Post website, posted 7/31/09
Offense: In a video segment called “Mouthpiece Theater” Milbank and Cillizza suggest beers that various political figures should have drank, had they been invited to President Obama’s “beer summit.” For Hillary Clinton, Milbank suggests “Mad Bitch” beer.
NOW’s Analysis: In a stunningly unfunny video, two male reporters smirk their way through a long list of obscure beers with funny names, matching them up with politicians. Representatives Dennis Kucinich and Henry Waxman are poked fun of for looking like an “elf” and a “troll” respectively, while the fact that Senator Robert Byrd is “old” and perhaps “peculiar” is meant to elicit a laugh. Once you’re working for one of the biggest newspapers in the U.S. shouldn’t you really be past teasing people based on their appearance or other traits like age? Not these guys.
Milbank is no stranger to making snarky comments concerning Hillary Clinton, but when will it ever end? She’s our secretary of state, for cryin’ out loud — isn’t calling her a “bitch” crossing the line? Well, apparently it is. The Washington Post must have received enough complaints that they took the video down the same day it was posted. This is evidence that when enough of us speak out, it does work. But we still can’t help but wonder how this kind of stuff slips by the editors in the first place. The video reeks of frat boy attitude and offensive humor, and it is out of place on the website of a serious newspaper.
Take Action: Write to The Washington Post and thank them for removing the video, but urge Ombudsman Deborah Howell to take this on, to demand that the website’s editors hold their content producers to higher standards. Ask Howell to demand that no woman be called a “bitch” again on The Washington Post website or in the publication.
Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director