Mollie Hemmingway has a wonderful column on this at The Federalist titled "Dear Media: This Elizabeth Lauten Nonsense Is Why Everyone Hates You." It's so good I'd like to copy and paste the whole thing, but I'll settle for some excerpts and encourage you to go to the link and read it for yourself.
Hemmingway notes that,
[Lauten's] comments were posted on Twitter where the social media mob fed their hankering for constant outrage. in a city where you can keep your job even if you’re involved in serious scandals at the IRS, State Department, Veterans Affairs or the Department of Justice, an actual job loss is refreshing, in its own way.Hemmingway goes on to point out that the same Washington Post that could not summon the enthusiasm to write about the horrors of Philadelphia's murderous abortionist Kermit Gosnell has run a dozen stories on Elizabeth Lauten, even assigning a foreign affairs reporter to dig into Lauten's past where the intrepid investigator discovered, mirabile dictu, that Lauten in high school had opinions on Darfur and Saddam Hussein!
Still, what in the world was the media doing reporting on this non-story and firing up the mob? The Washington Free Beacon reported that “major media outlets are pouring resources into tracking her moves and digging into her past.” This included two network news vans camping outside of her parents’ home in North Carolina and a search of Lauten’s leaked juvenile records and college writings.
This is insanity and each and every person involved should be ashamed of himself or herself.
It may surprise you to learn that more journalistic investigative effort has been devoted to uncovering the past of this one obscure staffer than any of the liberal media could bring to bear on presidential candidate Barack Obama's academic record prior to the 2008 election.
[Columnist] Ruth Marcus ... bashes this low-level staffer for critiquing the daughters, then notes she herself did it to the Bush girls - including attacking them for showing so much “cleavage”, being churlish, and their speaking style - but that it was OK because she did it under the guise of parody and they had notable busts. I’m not joking. You can read it for yourself. As John Podhoretz said, “Ruth Marcus’s double standard FOR HERSELF is absolutely astonishing.”The media constantly tries to punish Republicans and conservatives for the same things they ignore when Democrats and liberals do them. It's so obvious and so dishonest that very few people have much respect any more for journalists. It's a shame because there are some good ones, but the good ones find themselves in a profession increasingly dominated by ideological hacks. They deserve the skewering Hemmingway gives them.
The Lauten story has been all over other print and broadcast media. So we know that the national media is deeply concerned about stray insults directed toward the Obama family from Congressional staffers. Is raping people worse than that? Or not? I’m confused. Because a few years ago Congressional staffer Donny Ray Williams, Jr., was indicted for a series of alleged sexual assaults and it got only one “local crime” story in the Washington Post. Yesterday he pled guilty and that also generated one story in the Washington Post. If there’s network coverage of this congressional staffer raping people, I’m not seeing it. Did I mention he was a staff director for Democrats on a Senate panel?
Or what about child rape? We’re still opposed to that, right? I only ask because Terry Bean, a major campaign donor to President Obama — and a co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign — was just charged with sexual assault of a minor. And the Washington Post hasn’t covered it, according to a search of their archives. I mean, there are pictures of him on Air Force One and he was at the White House seven times including for a state dinner. He’s a member of the DNC. I know, I know, he’s certainly not as important as Lauten, but maybe a single story would be in order? Maybe that [foreign affairs] reporter could dig around and see if Bean wrote anything interesting in high school or something?
I already noted Ruth Marcus’ stunning hypocrisy regarding treatment of presidential children. On Twitter, S.M. noted that Salon’s Joan Walsh had her own troubles with consistency on whether it’s OK or not OK to go after presidential children. And this is not the first time Walsh has been called out for her double standards on the topic. Let’s also note another example. When the painfully unfunny David Letterman made a “joke” about Willow Palin getting impregnated by Alex Rodriguez, the New York Times’ “ethicist” Randy Cohen wrote an 1,100-word qualified defense.
See, he explained, it’s OK because Letterman meant to suggest Bristol Palin was a slut, not Willow Palin, the 14-year-old. According to Cohen, David Letterman “should not be fired. He should not even have apologized.” Bristol was fair game even at the age of 17, he said, because she chose to participate in the presidential campaign. Cohen said that Letterman is “an honest guy,” “ethical,” and “determined to do the right thing” (NB: this was written a few months before news broke that Letterman’s multiple affairs caused him to get caught up in a $2 million extortion plot). Further, Bristol was “a legitimate subject” if “a slightly pathetic one.” He conceded the “joke” was a “bit bullying.” Cohen said that Willow and Bristol’s parents were faking umbrage or were unable “to get the joke.”
Only recently, you might remember, a CNN host told viewers to “sit back and enjoy” listening to a woman traumatized by assault, saying it’s the “best audio in years.” That woman? Bristol Palin, of course.
What’s perhaps most surprising in the media coverage isn’t that the New York Times covered the story or that the Washington Post put one of its eleventy billion stories on the matter on the front page. It’s that even the broadcast networks with extremely limited time constraints covered it.
And they covered it immediately. The Free Beacon reports that networks news combined to give nearly four and a half minutes of coverage on Monday night. These same outlets either dramatically delayed or completely failed to cover Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber saying the healthcare law was passed in 2010 thanks to a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of American voters.”
NBC aired a segment on Lauten that lasted more than two minutes and featured White House correspondent Kristen Welker giving a detailed breakdown of the story. Welker interviewed Ruth Marcus — yes, the same woman who made jokes about the cleavage of the Bush daughters — for the piece.
[M]aybe Jonathan Gruber said something about Darfur in high school? Who can we get to check that out?