Last night in his Paris Hilton reporting, Keith Olbermann reported that Hilton claimed to have been punched in the face at a nightclub by former Miss U.S.A.-cum-"Dancing With The Stars" castoff Shanna Moakler ). Underneath footage of Paris going to the police station to file a report was the tagline "A Slut and Battery," which stayed on the screen for a full 20 seconds (of a 32-second clip), including during footage of Moakler.
Now. No one is making the argument here that Hilton is a blushing virgin. But there is something really unseemly and misogynistic about that particular phrase — not only is it stunningly inappropriate for MSNBC and Olbermann (the recent holier-than-thou voice of America Wronged, lest we forget) to throw that label on anyone, but particularly in the context of a claim of assault, which diminishes the seriousness of an assault charge and suggests that assaults on 'sluts' are less worthy of serious consideration.
Even more shocking is what Olbermann alluded to with this comment:
Paris Hilton claims she was punched in the face yesterday morning at a nightclub in Hollywood [pause] 'Course she's had worse things happen to her face...
When I heard that last night, I didn't get the specific reference, just assumed it was a lewd reference to her sexual history; I recall finding it a little coarse an insinuation, frankly. But apparently the reference had greater significance, as indicated by today by FishbowlNY who referred to it saying "And yes, that is what he meant." FBNY didn't link to anything there; I won't either, because trying to sleuth it out through Google seared my eyeballs. All I can say is that it is a vile reference, and completely beneath what Olbermann holds himself out to be. Not exactly what one would call an Edward R. Murrow moment.