Erica Jong was on "Reliable Sources" this morning in the second segment discussing the coverage of the Eliot Spitzer story (it was top of the show, of course, complete with sexy bikini/topless-ish pics and Howie Kurtz's voiceover: "As New York governor Eliot Spitzer resigns over a sex scandal, has the coverage turned salacious?" Answer: Yes! Wheee, hooker story!). In particular, Jong was on to discuss the wanton, reckless, uninhibited...discussion on the talk shows and cable nets, incredulous that so many people felt it was their place to judge, opine, psychoanalyze or otherwise comment on a private marriage, as well as the decision of Silda Spitzer to stand by her man at not one but two press conferences. Jong took particular issue with Dr. Laura Schlesinger, who claimed on the Today show that Silda Spitzer she held women "accountable" for "tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need" (which she had previously defined as seeking to "make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like our hero").
Jong thought that was crap, and had little patience for the other "experts" trotted out on the telly: "I'm not a shrink. I'm a lowly novelist and poet. But I will say that all these shrinks who are going on TV and talking about Eliot Spitzer should be disbarred, or whatever they do to shrinks. They should have their licenses taken away. An ethical shrink does not go on TV and psychoanalyze people she or he has not met. So I'm horrified by this." She also wasn't impressed by how the media had jumped all over it, from Spitzer's family to the many-monikered Ashley Alexandra Dupré : "Here is a very sad young woman of 22 being splashed all over the tabloid press, so it's not very nice to her, it's not very nice to Eliot Spitzer's children, it's not very nice to his wife. It's just an attempt to sell tabloid papers." (NY Post state editor Fred Dicker, who had been on previously, would probably have disagreed, since he thought the racy pics of Dupré from Friday's edition were both "attractive" and "remarkable"). ETP couldn't help thinking that Jong was pretty remarkable — a good guest to have weigh in on this, and a feisty one. Oh yes, she has opinions on Republicans, too, Howie Kurtz, and you asked — so don't you be trying to wrap up the segment. Vid below:
Also discussed following the Spitzer coverage: Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright, and the upcoming Iraq War five-year anniversary.
Update: I ought to have remembered to add this earlier. My bad. Howie Kurtz did a post-segment correction: "A quick note. Erica Jong said earlier in the program that Eliot Spitzer was the first Democratic governor in 40 years. She must obviously have meant 14 years, since Mario Cuomo was in the state house in Albany."
Related (and recommended):
Erica Jong: Morals to Be Drawn From Spitzer's 'Case' [HuffPo]
Transcript: Reliable Sources, March 16/08 [CNN]