By now, you're likely familiar with the parade of racists, sexists, conspiracy theorists and hatemongers on the payrolls of mainstream media: CNN's Lou Dobbs advances the claims of unhinged birthers; FOX's Glenn Beck calls the president a racist; MSNBC pays as an analyst Pat Buchanan, who says slavery was good for black folks. Not to be left behind, ABC welcomed to its This Week roundtable right-winger Michelle Malkin, who has referred to the first lady as President Obama's "cron[y] of color," and is advancing the conspiracy theory that Democratic health-care reform is designed to euthanize old people.
Bottom line: hate sells.
Eager to bring eyeballs to its Web site, the Washington Post this week got in on the act, producing a video featuring two star columnists, Chris Cillizza (reportedly a nice guy) and Dana Milbank (reportedly not), that suggests at a future White House beer summit, Hillary Clinton be served a brew called Mad Bitch.
Once the video began circulating on the blogs, the Washington Post chickened out and pulled the video from its site -- without apology to viewers, and apparently without disciplinary action for the columnists and producer Gaby Bruna.
This should be a huge story -- two respected, important columnists for a major media outlet all but call the secretary of state a bitch -- but corporate media would have to be willing to critique two of their own were the story to get legs. Not likely to happen.
In fact, a day after the video was pulled, Chris Cillizza was featured on the roundtable of this Sunday's CNN show, State of the Union, and was not asked a single question about his role in Mad-Bitchgate.
If the presidential campaign of 2008 was the mainstream media's teachable moment, it seems the wrong lesson was learned. Instead of the corrective soul-searching one would hope for among executives and editors at major media outlets as their on-air figures grappled with their inner sexists and inner racists during prime time, media bigs seem to have reached the conclusion that hatred sells.