Today’s “Beast”? Anthony Weiner’s former girlfriend and erstwhile defender Kirsten Powers. Fox News’ self-professed Christian progressive must have forgotten all about I Corinthians 13 (“The Love Chapter”) today. In her Happening Now appearance this afternoon, the usually compassionate Daily Beast columnist defended New York Times sports columnist Jere Longman’s misogynistic attack against Olympian Lolo Jones, a born-again Christian who posed a la a shy pre-Fall Eve in ESPN Body Issue 2009, for her sensual allure to an appreciative media at the perceived slight to her competitors. [N.B. No mention from Longman that Lolo is the first woman who has won back-to-back World Indoor titles in the 60-meter hurdles and that she was a three-time national champion hurdler and an eleven-time All-American at LSU.]
In Kirsten’s HN segment, her fellow Fox News colleague, former NYT investigative reporter Judith Miller opined, “I think it was very unfair….It was so harsh on her. It was so unforgiving.”* Substantiating her point, Miller cited the criticism of the NYT‘s very own ombudsman Arthur S. Brisbane, who said, “I think the writer [Jere Longman] was particularly harsh, even unnecessarily so….[T]his piece struck me as quite harsh and left me, along with others, wondering why the tone was so strong.”
Shaking her head, Kirsten emphatically countered, “I don’t agree! I do not agree.” Clad in her low-cut, sleeveless, short black dress, FNC’s blond beauty, perhaps, ironically groused, “He [Longman] never called her the Anna Kornikova: he interviewed somebody who said that….The point that he was actually trying to make is that here are actually two other American athletes whose names we don’t even know really…[who] have gotten no endorsement deals, have gotten no media coverage even though they have medals when this person who didn’t even get a medal is getting all of this media attention….How did she become the victim?”
Then, Kirsten added, “In terms of him talking the stuff about her, she’s the one who put it out there….She’s a woman. She’s, at least thirty….She cannot complain about media coverage that’s critical of her.” Coming to Lolo’s defense, Miller exclaimed, “Oh, yes, she can. Yes, she can when she’s really being attacked.” Shrugging her shoulders, Kirsten replied, “I don’t think it was an attack.”
Miller answered, “It was an attack! The only two people quoted in the entire piece are negative quotes.” Smirking, Kirsten caustically queried, “You’re not allowed to write a negative article about an athlete?” Miller riposted, “Wait a minute! He left out the fact that she had spinal surgery the year before. Her own extremely back story left out.” After clenching her teeth as Judith spoke, an irate Kirsten argued, “But, hasn’t that been covered extensively.”
Miller responded, “But, not in his column! If somebody’s reading that column, you have no idea where [she's coming from]…Why beat up on this woman?” Unconvincingly, Kirsten replied, “He’s not beating up on her!” Immediately, Miler countered, “He was!” Appearing to contradict herself, Kirsten answered, “And, why he is not allowed to do that? I don’t understand.”
Interjecting, HN co-host Jon Scott remarked that while Lolo’s competitors may have won medals she was apparently the only woman to have won the national indoors hurdling championship twice. Cutting to the quick, he said, “Let’s show the photo that…aroused so much, I guess, ire, so much negative attention to her.” As the photo of a seated nude Lolo looked backed at the camera with all of her “lady bits” discreetly covered, Jon continued, “What doesn’t get noted is the small type there…a quote from her coach at LSU Dennis Shaver who writes, “She has the perfect core, which is where her horsepower comes from. Her abs are like a washboard, all muscle fiber and no fat. You don’t get like without proper diet and training: And, even then, you’d need Lolo’s determination.’ That gets lost in the coverage of that photo.”
“Exactly: it certainly did,” concurred Miller. As Kirsten laughed in derision, Miller chastened, “And, the back story gets lost. And, Kirsten, I’m really surprised.” Interposing, a bemused Kirsten queried, “What back story? I don’t even understand.”
Miller explained, “Wait a minute! You can make the point that the media likes some people and the companies choose to use some people without beating up on her, without demeaning her or her achievement. And, the fact that she’s a self-proclaimed Christian virgin and comes from this poor family. I think it’s an amazing story.”
Gesticulating animatedly, Kirsten interrupted, “As one of the other girls comes from a very poor story [sic]. And, it’s an amazing story that been covered ad nauseum.“
As Kirsten ranted, a smiling Miller interposed, “She’s beautiful. Why should we hold that against her?”
In a seemingly disingenuous response, Kirsten said that “we shouldn’t” but then echoed Longman’s plaint that Lolo was getting a disproportionate amount of attention. Then, baring her claws, Kirsten caustically exclaimed, “And, I’m sorry, but, you know, the whole born-again Christian thing and posing naked, I don’t think they really go together. Call me crazy!…I talk about my faith all the time, and if I posed like that I would expect to hear about it!”
Conversely, if Kirsten posits like that, she should certainly expect to hear about it.
Happening Now – 08/10/12 (@ 12:45 p.m. ET)
Update: Video via J$P.