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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

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    Keep It Up with the Condescending, Charlie Gibson

    By kyle | September 12, 2008

    With even Alessandra Stanley calling out ABC’s Charlie Gibson for looking rude, impatient and condescending in his Sarah Palin interview, one has to wonder whether the women of the swing states in the middle of the country–the people who will decide the election–will be even more vocal about it, especially since the idea of sexism vis a vis Hillary Clinton is already a much-discussed topic. Says Stanley:

    Gibson, who sat back in his chair and wriggled his foot impatiently, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee, but doesn’t believe she merits admission.

    Topics: Hillary Clinton, Politics, Sarah Palin, TV | 38 Comments »

    38 Responses to “Keep It Up with the Condescending, Charlie Gibson”

    1. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

      It’s hard not to be rude, impatient and condescending to a person who believes the world was created in seven days, rape victims have no right to have an abortion and has to have all questions approved before answering any of them.

    2. Brandon Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

      Hunter has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve been happy? Christmas…er…Xmas maybe? Regardless of rather Chalrie Gibson agrees with her he is still supposed to be professional and at least feign impartiality. Also from what I had heard there was no pre-screening of the questions, actually I think he even mentions that at the interview lead in. Why is it so impossible for you guys to comprehend that this is an intelligent thinking woman? If she was an atheist who believed in abortion and hated guns you would be building a shrine to her. You are far too intelligent of a person to take such a narrow view of the world.

    3. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

      It seems to me that a person who doesn’t believe in invisible, supernatural creatures, that a woman has the right to do with her own body as she sees fit and putting a bullet into the brain of a creature than can’t defend itself isn’t their idea of fun could successfully run for President of any country in the world except for America.

    4. jic Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

      putting a bullet into the brain of a creature than can’t defend itself

      Hunter, are you a vegetarian? If not, shut up.

    5. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

      jic, are you a simplistic moron? If not, shut up.

    6. jic Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 8:18 pm

      So, are you a vegetarian or not?

    7. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 8:48 pm

      Can you kill a grizzy bear with a bowie knife or not?

    8. jic Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 8:54 pm

      Can you kill a grizzy bear with a bowie knife or not?

      I suppose it’s vaguely possible that I could, but the odds would be vastly on the bear’s side.

      So, do you eat meat or not? And if you do, why is it so immoral to slaughter the animal yourself?

    9. Jules Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

      ‘jic, are you a simplistic moron?’

      I am assuming this was a rhetorical question.

    10. KS Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 9:05 pm

      Read Charles Krauthammer’s 9/13/08 column, “Charlie Gibson’s Gaffe.” Krauthammer was the first to use the term “Bush Doctrine” and he points out that Gibson got it wrong.

    11. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

      @ jic

      Why is it immoral to slaughter an animal yourself?

      Because you are doing it for fun.

    12. Mo Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

      “It seems to me that a person who doesn’t believe in invisible, supernatural creatures,”

      And that’s why Europeans are starting to lose their freedoms hunter. They no longer believe their rights come from God.

    13. Mo Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 11:28 pm

      And Hunter. Take off your tunnel vision;

      Cohen today:

      Jesus was a community organizer, and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

      Then Susan Sarandon repeated the statement. So is belief in god only ridiculous when people on the right believe? The difference though is clear. The right tries to pray to be on the side of god. The left prays that god will come to their side.

      Do the faithful left who believe in their marxist messiah even realize that out here in the real world people are leaving the democrat party?

    14. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 11:34 pm


      There is no such thing as God.

    15. jic Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

      Why is it immoral to slaughter an animal yourself?

      Because you are doing it for fun.

      So, let’s get this straight: It’s fine to eat animals (and, presumably, to enjoy eating them), but if you hunt for your own meat as a leisure activity, you are sick? So, presumably, slaughterhouse workers who say they enjoy their work should be fired immediately?

    16. jic Says:
      September 12th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

      ‘jic, are you a simplistic moron?’

      I am assuming this was a rhetorical question.

      Don’t you have some billy goats you should be harassing?

    17. Mo Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 12:02 am

      “There is no such thing as God.”

      Do you re-affirm this daily to keep deluding yourself?


      ignore the ground noise and static.

    18. jic Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 12:43 am


      Yeah, I let myself get caught up in it sometimes. Good advice.

    19. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 12:45 am

      And two more notches on my belt. Goodnight gentlemen, and better luck next time.

    20. Brandon Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 1:06 am


      I have no problem with you not believing in God that’s your personal choice, my brother is also an athiest and gets very defensive about it. The problem both you and my brother have is a general defensiveness at the opposing view. Honestly when you break it down it does sound silly but so does anything else. Let’s look at the scientific view in a simplistic “I can’t believe you buy this crap view” like you just treated God. Your essential view is there was a giant rock billions of years ago and it blew up, pieces of the rock got really hot, some turned to water, some to gas, some to a plasma goo. They rolled around for a few million years some turned into fish, some to trees, some to monkeys, then some of the monkeys turned to people but some of the moneys liked having thumbs on their feet so they stayed monkeys. That’s it in a nutshell and it sounds ridiculous but you and I both know there is much more to it than that just as you and I both know their is more to people’s belief in God. Is it faith. Yes it’s faith and there’s nothing wrong with having it.

      You have faith too but you’re faith is in different things. You’re faith is in science. When they carbon date something and tell you “this is 20,000 years old” you say that is 20,000 years old. You have no proof they are right except your belief in science and no one is going to rip you for that. You need to be able to show that respect to others (same goes to you Mo and jic) I know you guys like to go back and forth but aren’t you at least a little curious what the other actually thinks beyond the bickering?

      The hunting thing. I could never hunt for sport and would probably struggle even hunting for food because I love animals but it’s not illegal and is no more immoral than abortion. Both take a life that had no say in the decision. You can hide behind the “her body her choice” thing all you like but as I’ve said before she’s walking out of there and going on with her life, it’s not her body going in a biohazard container. I have zero problem with people supporting abortion, my problem is with people being in an ethical denial as to what it is. It’s taking a life plain and simple. You cannot truly support abortion so long as you’re in denial as to what it is.

    21. Brandon Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 1:12 am

      Ps. I just realize it sounds like I equated abortion to hunting that wasn’t my intent. Some people hunt to eat and thus survive, abortion (except in rare cases of the mother’s life being in danger) is an issue of convenience. A crude way to put it but by in large true. Now hunting for sport I do find pretty disgusting since it doesn’t seem like much sport to shoot an unarmed creature that has no idea it’s life is about to end.

    22. John Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 10:53 am

      Not that I’m wishing ill on the man, but when Gibson passes on, a number of people on the right will remember him as a “fair opponent and tough journalist”, just like they did Tim Russert. This was a slime job by another liberal cretin with a microphone.

    23. Mo Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

      It’s just like C.S. Lewis wrote (as a former atheist myself) in order to be an atheist you have to affirm non-belief in something you can’t prove and you feel, (literally) is actually there.

      It’s similiar to denying the existence of wind, simply because you can’t see it, but you can always feel it.

      I agree with you on abortion, and frankly scientifically the child within the womb is it’s own life after 11 weeks. It has brain activity and moves on it’s own within the womb.

      If that doesn’t convince you how about

      If someone can live through abortion and write about it, doesn’t that mean you are taking someone’s life?


    24. Mo Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

      I realize she didn’t personally write that book, but that doesn’t detract from the facts.

    25. Frank Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

      Was it really too much to ask Kyle that Palin know what the Bush Doctrine is? I mean, she is running for VP of the United States of America and all and perhaps she should be aware of the linchpin of US Foreign Policy post 9/11? Or is that too much to ask? Or am I being an elitist for criticizing her for not knowing something she absolutely should know? And about that world elitist to describe Barack Obama, someone raised by a single mother on food stamps, its really alot coming from McCain, someone who owns 9 homes and a private jet. Yeah thats right.

      The absurdity surrounding this woman, that she is somehow above criticism, is abysmal, especially from what appear to be intelligent people like yourself who should really know better. Who she is and what she stands for, her ideas, on matters foreign and domestic are to be known. The reason the McCain people dont want you to know is because, one, she has no ideas. She couldnt even describe the Bush Doctrine. The only other person unable to do that is Bush. And two the ideas she does have are ignorant and intolerant, like just for example that abortions shouldnt even be afforded to those who are victims of rape and incest. By November I predict that Palin, now the medias shiny new toy, will be undone. Her career wiull have the trajectory of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton or any other empty headed media darling for a period of time.

    26. Frank Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

      Oh my God Brandon, I cant believe you are making a relative issue out of science in order to support the idea of creationism! You dont need to have faith in science. The facts speak for themselves. They are irrefutable. Furthermore this is a woman running for public office, for the second biggest job in the world in that respect, not to be a backwoods preacher. I would totally prefer, and I dont think its too much to ask, that she know that the Eart is not 5000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs didnt live side by side like they do in the Flintstones. There is this new movement happening already in the US, its the Palin Apologists. This bird brain is still saying that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Even W is beyond that one! How do you reason that one? I guess for her you and her its alot like the belief in Creationism all the facts state the contrary but still she believes it. By November this ticket will explode and as Clinton said Obama will win by a huge margin.

    27. Frank Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

      Youre a sexist for asking her questions and becoming impatient because she has no idea how to answer them? Questions she should have answers to, like the Bush Doctrine, a view on Israel and its place in middle eastern politics, and the role of Iraq in 9/11? Please! Enough already. This is madness and it will backfire. And I wonder if Stanley votes Republican?

    28. Frank Says:
      September 13th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

      PS Kyle–You know full well that all of this is BS and that Palin should be grilled the same way you would want Obama or Clinton or whomever grilled about their policies and beliefs and in light of this you allow and trumpet this bs and that makes you a moral coward and a hack and I say a hack because you accept such a mediocre person and candidate in Palin because it helps you. You are no better than anyone than a Nazi that essentially accepts tyranny and death because it furthers their careers. The rest of the bozos on this sight I can excuse because they obviously dont know any better but you undoubtedly do.

    29. Brandon Says:
      September 14th, 2008 at 12:57 am


      You are fixated on the religious issue as if you really believe she is going to outlaw science. Also the point I made is that all things require faith, you cannot prove science is accurate since the only proof is the science itself. Do you see where I’m going? As for the Earth is 5,000 years old thing you and I both know that’s inaccurate and I’m not even defending that line of thinking, fact is I haven’t been in a church for over 15 years and have no desire to be. You right now are so distracted by non-issues that it’s mind boggling. Also talk to a few theology majors about the 5,000 years thing and I think you’ll see you are misinformed. The seeming consensus from religious text is that “biblical” days were listed as a day unto a thousand years (basically one day is 1,000 years) which means most Christianity believes the Earth to be around 5,000,000 years old. Again I’m not endorsing that either since the fact is I don’t know and I don’t care how old the world is. Though I would encourage you for the sake of understanding facts and avoiding looking like a lefty lunatic to research the belief she endorses which isn’t traditional creationsim it’s called intelligent design. I’ve never researched it myself but understand it to be radically different and a fusion of science and theology. As for why i’ve never researched it…cause again it’s a non-issue to me in an election. A person should not be discriminated againt in their religious beliefs or lack thereof and I seriously do not know why you’re so hostile about it.

    30. Brandon Says:
      September 14th, 2008 at 1:09 am


      Onto your other “points”. You’re not a sezxist for questioning her and you should question her. You’re sexist for saying she is incapable of answering and is not even a real woman since she does not subscribe to your (a guy’s) beliefs. You then deepen your mouth breathing by saying that her thoughts and opinions are only the ones given to her by the men. Would this not be sexist under any other circumstances? You might as well be calling her little lady or toots.

      On the Bush doctrine again please research before speaking to avoid looking silly. The journalist who coined the term, Charles Krauthammer (sounds like a bad guy from Wolfenstein), wrote an article about how wrong Charlie Gibson was about what the Bush Doctrine is and about it’s many metamorphisis. He ca nexplain it better than I can so here is that:

      “I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,” I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

      Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” This “with us or against us” policy regarding terror — first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan — became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

      Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

      It’s not. It’s the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush’s second inaugural address: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

      This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy’s pledge in his inaugural address that the United States “shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson’s 14 points.”

      So yet again you were completely off base and in full attack mode without knowing who, what, or why you were attacking. It wasn’t she who didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was…no one knows what it is. It’s a media created and defined term. She does not work for the media so why on Earth would she know this. I personally would have assumed he meant the spread of freedom thing.

      To add to your misconceptions she has never, ever said Iraq was behind 9/11 because if she had it would be all over the place. Perhaps you can guide us to her saying that.

      By the way you calling anyone ignorant and intolerant is hilarious. I mean, you should take that show on the road it’s so funny.

    31. Brandon Says:
      September 14th, 2008 at 1:21 am

      Oh and as long as I’m going. McCain was raised in a military family, not with a silver spoon in his mouth. His family has dedicated themselves to serving our country and there is no way he should be ashamed of that.

      McCain doesn’t own 9 or 8 houses, Cindy McCain’s trust does. She had the money before she married John McCain. The houses, except for one, are all lived in by other family members and not even connected to John McCain’s name. He doesn’t visit the homes since other people are living in them. This is why the media dropped it so quick because it was a non story. Do you know what stocks your 401k are invested in (assuming you might have one)? A trust functions the same way as a 401k except this one uses real estate investment.

      Yes, Obama was raised by a single mom (as was I and my 3 brothers so does this make me qualified to be President). However he now currently lives in a multi-million dollar home that he was hooked with by a slum lord who preyed on the poor and is serving prison time. He also has a private jet and 25 million dollars in personal wealth (more than John but significantly less than Cindy). Here is the thing though Frank. Wealth doesn’t make you an elitist. I’ve seen some broke guys at the local Starbucks who are complete and utter elitist and I’ve seen some very wealthy people who are the kindest people you could imagine. It’s about the attitude not the pocket book. Also this odd bitterness that the left has towards success baffles me. I say good for Obama and McCain for being successful. Isn’t that the American dream? Why do you view success as a negative thing? Most of us sane people are busting our a** in hopes of one day being that successful.

      Now that we’ve covered what you consider “important” issues why don’t we talk about policies, the push toward Marxism, why socialized healthcare won’t work, the candidates voting records. These are the things that matter but you don’t care about those things because this isn’t about the candidates, this is about you and your inability to tolerate a view that doesn’t goosestep in line with yours.

    32. kishke Says:
      September 14th, 2008 at 11:19 am

      It’s hard not to be rude, impatient and condescending

      Hunter, that describes you perfectly.

    33. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 14th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

      A slang word for the female sexual organ.

      Kishke, that describes you adequately.

    34. kishke Says:
      September 15th, 2008 at 10:54 am

      Poor Hunter, always having to fall back onto vulgarities.

    35. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 15th, 2008 at 11:38 am

      Every post you make carries an insult. If you can’t take it, putz, don’t dish it out,

    36. kishke Says:
      September 15th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

      Hunter, quit whining. I was simply making the observation that when ideas fail you (as so often occurs), you inevitably descend into vulgarities. Why does that upset you?

    37. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 15th, 2008 at 12:35 pm


    38. boqueronman Says:
      September 15th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for an amusing comment thread. The bleats from the Obamatron trolls are always worth a few chuckles. What did Kyle actually write? Well, that some published comments on the Palin interview interpreted Gibson’s body language as hostile. Some of these were center-left or independent female voters. If this conclusion is widespread it may hurt Obama’s election chances. Arguable, of course. What do we get from the (presumably) Obama supporters. “You are no better than anyone than a Nazi that essentially accepts tyranny and death because it furthers their careers.” In order for a statement to contain a logical fallacy, it has to contain logic. In fact the proper use of English grammar would be helpful. Even John Q. Troll’s Etiquette Book, which is mostly empty pages, might frown on that level of “over-the-topness.”