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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]

Why the Spin Sisters Swoon for the Federal Fabio
The ladies of the elite media...
[Sally C. Pipes] 8/9/04

Those of us who take public exception to the offensives of militant feminism can easily feel isolated. Now we have some new and welcome company in Myrna Blyth, author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America.

The author is a New Yorker who edited Ladies’ Home Journal for more than 20 years and knows that women’s magazines are powerful, doing $7 billion in business every year. In fact, Blyth notes, of the 10 largest and most profitable magazines in the country, five are edited specifically for women and the other five have large female audiences. Such a presence simply can't be ignored, particularly when it is so skewed.

The story here is that American women are “the best-educated, healthiest, wealthiest, longest-lived women with more opportunities for personal fulfillment than any other generation in history,” and, of course, well able to think for themselves. Yet, what emerges from women’s magazines and prestige media is a tide of fear, victimhood, and political bias so blatant that it recklessly disregards the truth.

Blyth recalls the claims of high-profile feminists Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf who stated that 150,000 American women die every year from anorexia trying to fulfill the “beauty myth” inflicted on them by evil males. Christina Hoff Sommers looked into the matter and found that fewer than 100 women die of anorexia yearly, earning everlasting feminist enmity for her revelation. Blyth also recalls the feminist canard that the Super Bowl occasions more visits to emergency rooms by abused women than any other day. One of the purveyors of this myth, by the way, was Sheila Kuehl of the California Women’s Law Center and now a powerful California state senator. Such is the clout of feminist mythology that the Super Bowl abuse story was endlessly repeated in the media until Ken Ringle, a reporter at the Washington Post, showed how it was wrong.

The Spin Sisters are the instantly recognizable media celebrities, such as Barbara Walters, here described as she fawns over Fidel Castro. “For Castro, freedom starts with education,” Walters said. “And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would be one of the freest nations on earth.”

Many of the powerful women who would agree with that nonsense live in a political and social isolation ward located in various upscale haunts on the upper east and west sides of Manhattan. Blyth also includes some who are not so well known, such as Esther Newberg, a top literary agent and former assistant to Bella Abzug.

“Deep down, most of our Spin Sisters are just good old-fashioned left wingers,” writes Blyth, “wired for a liberal response to every issue.” In their world, “government is the great hero destined to solve all the problems of those who feel victimized. Kind of like a federal Fabio ready to sweep you off your feet into aromatherapy baths and Hillarycare.”

The spin sisterhood is a mixture of Manhattan provincialism, elitism, liberalism, and ambition. However, it is not very inclusive or diverse. The sisters, says Blyth, seem incapable of independent thought. Worse, in their insular world, those who disagree are not simply partisans of other opinions but rigid, crazy, traitors, and morally suspect.

Spin Sisters has plenty of examples and inside stories, including a hoax perpetrated by a bogus African refugee and the reluctance of spin brother Peter Jennings, a former Canadian, to cover the demise of Princess Diana. The writing is lively, with references to the “cat-eat-cat world of fashion magazines.”

Spin Sisters will serve as a surrogate for busy women who don’t care to watch “The West Wing” or read women’s magazines. Even the casual reader will emerge better able to decode political propaganda in the guise of entertainment and news, often tipped off with a code phrase such as “some people say.”

Myrna Blyth’s own send-off has no hidden agenda and will serve all readers well: “Remember that you have real power when you think for yourselves.” CRO

copyright 2004 Pacific Research Institute




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