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Monday, September 1, 2008
Double Standard on Pregnant Teens
Topic: NewsBusters

Jacob S. Lybbert writes in a Sept. 1 NewsBusters post:

I think I've got it now. These are the MSM rules when dealing with the personal lives of national candidates and/or members of their family:

Given the chance to publicly embarrass and humiliate a Republican candidate's 17 year old daughter, do it.

If it's a moralizing former Democratic candidate for president, well, leave that to the National Enquirer.

Today, to head off the many tawdry rumors being passed back and forth between the Daily Kos diarists and their plagiarists in the MSM, the McCain camp announced that Governor Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant.

Um, when did the MSM report on any of the Palin pregnancy rumors? (The Times of London, right-leaning and Murdoch-owned, doesn't count.) Indeed, this story didn't make the MSM until the McCain camp made this announcement about the daughter's pregnancy.

Nevertheless, Lybbert goes on:

Unfortunately for the Palin's, they can count on increased scrutiny and criticism of their parenting and their daughter. Stay tuned as the schaedenfreudists of the left laugh about the "irony" of a social conservative with a pregnant daughter. The truth is, these types of things happen to the best of parents--even parents like the Palins.

How does Lybbert know that Sarah Palin and her husband are "the best of parents"? he doesn't say.

Besides, this newfound laid-back treatment of pregnant teenagers conflicts with the MRC's previous attitude on the subject. From MRC chief Brent Bozell's Dec. 28, 2007, column:

The year ended with the news that Britney’s 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn Spears, a star of the children’s channel Nickelodeon, was pregnant.

Had the youngest Spears sister been cast as a tawdry teenage tramp on “Desperate Housewives,” her real-world behavior would be seen as less scandalous. But Jamie Lynn Spears has been a fairly wholesome star on Nickelodeon since she joined the kiddie sketch-comedy show “All That” at the tender age of 11. She’s currently the cool title character of the show “Zoey 101,” set at a boarding school, a show watched by millions of grade-schoolers. So much for role models.

At the center of this vortex is the mother, Lynne Spears, who had her publishing contract “delayed indefinitely” for a book on parenting celebrity children, now that it’s painfully apparent she doesn’t know diddly about parenting celebrity children. The Spears family and their long trail of tabloid embarrassments make them some of 2007's biggest losers.

Got that? Jamie Lynn Spears is a "loser," but Bristol Palin is being unfairly embarrassed in public, even though both engaged in the exact same behavior.

UPDATE: Mark Finkelstein weighs in: "Yes, teenagers have sex, including children of the prominent and pro-life. Does ABC mean to imply that Sarah Palin is [a] poor mother? Bristol Palin ... is keeping the baby and marrying the father. Shouldn't we be celebrating those choices and the mother who instilled the values they reflect?" We wonder: Did Finkelstein celebrate Jamie Lynn Spears' choice?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 1, 2008 5:43 PM EDT

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