FishBowlDC's Peter Ogburn's Sexist Attacks On Michelle Fields

FishBowlDC’s Peter Ogburn needs to correct a post in which he attributed a seemingly damning, but ultimately inaccurate, quote to Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller.

The quote below (emphasis added) is incorrect, and gives the reader the impression that Fields said that people want newspeople to tell them what to think. Ogburn writes:

As the interview winds down, [C-SPAN founder Brian] Lamb asks where Michelle would like to see her career go. She says she would like to be “in the media. As a journalist. Maybe an anchor.” Let’s not get carried away, Michelle. Reality can be a dear friend sometimes. Lamb asks if America is ready for an anchor who gives opinions and Michelle doubles down on her journalistic philosophy. “I think people want opinions. People want someone to tell them what to think.

What Fields actually said was (fast forward to 56:34–emphasis added):


I think people want to see–they want opinions. Well–look at the Occupy Wall Street video that I did. I felt that I wasn’t being biased whatsoever. I showed–didn’t agree with my opinions, but I showed it. And I got so much negative attention from it. People were upset that I had done that. So I think people want biased journalism. They want something–they want someone to tell them what they think.

What Fields said is exactly the opposite of what Ogburn attributes to her. She understands that the public enjoys journalists who make their own opinions clear (what they think)–not journalists who prescribe those opinions (what to think).

Ogburn’s misquote is especially ironic, given that he also questioned Fields’s lack of formal education as a journalist in what amounts to his latest sexist hit piece on her–while he himself was busy committing a cardinal journalistic sin.

Ogburn in the background.

Ogburn’s initial sexist attack on Fields was posted on December 14th. John Nolte responded to it at Big Journalism on the 16th of December:

The level of cruelty with which the leftist media attacks conservative women never seems to hit bottom. Again and again, we’re told by leftists that the sexual revolution liberated women to be women. Burn your bras! Sleep around! What they forgot to tell women, though, was that there would be a price for straying off the Liberal Plantation and daring to think for yourself. For if you do, Missy, we will use the power of our platform and words to publicly and sexually humiliate you.

A Bill Press protégé, Peter Ogburn seems to be developing a creepy obsession with Fields. Throughout, Fields has revealed herself to be thoughtful, substantive and accomplished, albeit still relatively young. But that isn’t what FishbowlDC wants you to think, or know of her, obviously. Ogburn writes:

“What we’re doing is almost like citizen journalism. Which is basically when an individual who doesn’t have that much training in journalism has the tools of modern technology to capture a live event, but doesn’t’ have a background in journalism.” Hear that kids? Screw school and hard work. Get an iPhone and go capture yourself a job in journalism. Really, Michelle. You’re off to a super start. There’s 58 and a half more minutes to go.

Actually, Fields took school very seriously, based upon her account and was extremely active in Libertarian causes and organized activism. Her grasp of New Media, as opposed to old, seems almost intuitive at this point. I’d wager she’s also vastly more informed than Ogburn on her subject matter, based upon the reading she cites. Unfortunately, Ogburn didn’t allow any of that to get in the way of his petty attempt to malign someone who looks to be another strong voice in conservative media–and clearly Fields is that for reasons that matter, not simply because of her good looks.

More Ogburn:

When talking about her reporting on the Occupy movement, [Fields] says, “We’re not doing what a typical journalist does. Which is they go.. They have their mic, they do their standup, maybe interview two or three people, put together B-Roll.” Hear that, Martha Raddatz? All those trips to Iraq PALE in comparison to the time that Michelle braved the front lines of Wall Street.

In this instance, trips to Iraq do pale somewhat as compared Fields’s specific work on the Occupy movement. She went with the textbook conservative view of the movement, was pushed down and apparently hit by police, and also treated with kindness by the protesters. She came away with an entirely different, if snap-shot, view of events. Her reporting had far more authenticity than that of the typical mainstream media journalists who set out to glorify the Occupy demonstrations. Her efforts reveal all the best that a more citizen-based new media has to offer, as an adjunct to traditional media. That FishbowlDC would so malign her work only demonstrates their wholly superficial, if not downright silly and unenlightened view of such matters.

Back to Ogburn’s misquote:

Later in the interview, she opines on the differences between the today’s reportage and yesterday and tells us that “people want biased journalism. They want people to tell them what their opinion is.”

Again, what Fields actually said (“what they think”) is that people want journalists to be more honest about who they are and what they think, not tell the consumer what to think. Current trends in media completely support that conclusion. FishbowlDC inverts Field’s quote, and her view, to fire but one more embarassingly errant shot at her.

In the interview above, Fields discusses her own political coming of age, her late father, her thoughts on media (both new and old), with all the depth and substance any one hour interview would allow. The clips Lamb includes are telling, and point to her already significant contributions via new media.

From millionaires and billionaires advocating for higher taxes while refusing to make voluntary contributions to pay down the national debt, to a quote from the Washington Post‘s Ben Bradlee on Herman Cain (“He had it coming, didn’t he”), Fields’s work does well for good reason. It contains insights and/or observations that establishment media resists.

For a student of new media and the new faces coming up that will be producing it–hopefully for years to come–the Lamb/Fields interview is well worth a look.

Read the FishbowlDC item, then take time to watch the full hour, and decide for yourself which is supercilious and not worth one’s time.

It’s hard to imagine what kind of pettiness would drive what is beginning to look like FishbowlDC’s orchestrated attempt to malign and thereby diminish Fields. Ogburn’s attempts to paint her as simply some bimbette are utterly sexist and particularly repugnant in that they seem specifically aimed at damaging a female conservative, a breed vastly under attack by the oppressive male progressive crowd.

Whatever motive is behind it, it certainly can’t be any more worthy, or worthwhile, than the shoddy and malicious bit of work that motive ultimately produced under Ogburn’s byline at FishBowlDC.

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