She wasn’t alone in her anger, either. A group of feminist activists called UltraViolet joined in by circulating a petition calling upon CNN to end its relationship with the Republican blogger. Their petition was also shared by the Women’s Media Center, which asked why CNN would pay someone who “derides” speeches from women in such a manner. “Fire him!” they demanded.
“He hears powerful, eloquent women talking about crucial issues and that’s his reaction?” UltraViolet’s petition explains. “Perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising, given his history of insulting women. Earlier this year, he defended Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke, saying ‘her testimony before congress that American taxpayers should subsidize the sexual habits of Georgetown Law School students because, God forbid, they should stop having sex if they cannot afford the pills themselves.’”
Those comments and a litany of others raised alarms at media watchdog group FAIR when CNN announced in 2010 that they were hiring Erickson, prompting them to warn that the network was “scraping the bottom of the barrel” and urge readers to contact CNN and ask that they reconsider. Despite those prior comments and FAIR’s best efforts, the network has kept Erickson on as a regular political analyst.
CNN had not issued a statement about Erickson’s comparison of the DNC’s speeches to “The Vagina Monologues” at the time of this story’s publication, and Erickson did not respond to a request for comment.
“The Vagina Monologues,” a landmark piece of feminist literature and performance art, features women discussing their genitals in a frank, sometimes erotic and sometimes unflattering manner. The DNC’s first night of speeches did not exclusively feature women, and while many spoke about defending women’s health care, the word “vagina” never came up.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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