From the Weekly Standard:
I wasn’t going to write anything about Matt Schlapp this week but I think it’s never a good idea pass up the opportunity to use the word “oleaginous.”
Last week, Schlapp became one of the central figures of the Bonfire of Hypocrisy set off by the latest iteration of the White House Correspondent’s dinner.
Even in a town where obsequious careerism is a way of life, Schlapp and his wife Mercedes, have found a way to distinguish themselves, becoming in the words of a New York Times profile, D.C.’s new “it couple.”
While others have twisted themselves into pretzels to accommodate the demands of the Trump era, the Schlapps have taken the effort to a distinctive conjugal level. These days, their oleaginous talents are devoted to an audience of one. “Before falling asleep each night,” the Times reported, ‘ the couple would lie in bed rehearsing how they would explain this or that Trumpian tweet or uproar on TV the next morning.”
Not surprisingly, when the Schlapps chose to walk out of the White House Correspondence Dinner in protest of the comedian Michelle Wolf’s offensive humor, it set off irony meters across the punditocracy.
And then there was this detail from The Times story:
"It’s why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite,” Ms. Schlapp tweeted from a limousine en route to an exclusive after-party organized by NBC/MSNBC." (Asked about the couple’s own membership in the elite, Mr. Schlapp responded, “I mean, I’m not trying to act like I’m driving a garbage truck in Des Moines.”)
Having exhausted the possibilities of self-parody, one imagines that Schlapp dropped the mic. But he didn’t, because he never does.
In a contentious appearance on CNN, Schlapp push back on charges that he had been somewhat two-faced, defending or ignoring Trump’s attacks on women, disabled reporters, and others while waxing indignant about Wolf’s monologue. Most of the discussion centered on Wolf’s alleged attacks on Sarah Huckabee Sanders' looks, but Schlapp briefly raised another objection.
“For me the worst part, I would have to say . . . I think the jokes about abortion for my wife and I were particularly just galling and shocking. I mean it was just repulsive, it’s not funny. I mean, you can have your views on abortion, but I don’t think anybody thinks it’s funny.”
In case you missed it, Wolf’s attempt at abortion humor included this:
“Mike Pence is very anti-choice. He thinks abortion is murder, which, first of all, don’t knock it til you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it. You’ve got to get that baby out of there.”
Two things: you don’t have to be pro-life to recognize that her “joke” is both offensive and decidedly unfunny.
The second (and more important point): where was the outrage about this aspect of the dinner? Of course, the controversy over the event was widely covered, and Schlapp and others explicitly cited the attempt at abortion humor. But, making a rough guess, the ratio of coverage of the insults to Huckabee Sanders' looks to the abortion joke was probably in the range of 10 to 1.
There’s no mystery here. Even in Trump’s D.C., attacking a woman for her looks fits a clear narrative of things-that-outrage-us. Spoofing about “knocking” out abortions, not so much.
I’m tempted here to ask you to imagine, for a moment, what the reaction at the WHCA dinner would have been to a joke about a Black Lives Matter victim, or a jest about sexual assault. But obviously that’s a trick question. Because that would never happen. Ever.
So Schlapp had a point. A very good point.
But, unfortunately, it has gotten lost in what has become our seemingly irreversible downward spiral of incivility and hypocrisy.