Calvin Freiburger

The Real Story Behind Kathy Griffin’s War on the Palins: The Media Laps It Up

Posted on January 6 2011 2:40 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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There are few personalities which more perfectly embody Hollywood’s decency deficit than alleged comedienne Kathy Griffin. Known more for attacks on Sarah Palin’s family than for anything resembling a career, Griffin’s latest bid for the spotlight is her New Year’s resolution that “it’s [sixteen-year-old] Willow’s turn to go down. In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin.”

Incredibly, Griffin is trying to pass her attacks on a politician’s teenage daughter off as a moral crusade:

Griffin’s publicist told, “When any public person puts ‘your such a f****’ on their Facebook wall, they are guaranteed to make it into Kathy’s act.”

The backstory: on Jan. 1, Griffin told The Hollywood Reporter that Alaska’s former first family is on her radar. “I’ve already gone for Sarah, Todd and Bristol obviously,” she said. “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down. In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin.”

Griffin’s reasoning: Willow Palin reportedly posted homophobic slurs on Facebook in November, and “You don’t throw around the f-word without hearing from me about it.”

The Palins did not immediately respond to’s requests for comment.

Griffin has been vocal about stopping gay bullying since the apparent suicides of several gay teens in 2010. She donated her income from a Dec. 16 show to The Trevor Project, an organization aimed at helping teens deal with depression and thoughts of suicide.

Willow Palin is the daughter of a “public person”; to most people with a basic sense of decency and restraint, that does not make her a “public person,” too. And while this certainly makes for a cautionary tale about thinking before you post anything anywhere on the Internet, the Facebook pages of minors are not public forums.

Moreover, the Facebook comments in which Willow used “gay” and “faggot” as insults came in response to some pretty nasty stuff about her and her family, including:

– “not as fat as Bristol, and not dating a dumbass little prick like almond, The only program I enjoyed from your family is Nailin’ Palin”

– “Willow, don’t make me count to three hahahahaha”

It should be obvious that homosexuality was the last thing on any of the combatants’ minds, and that Willow was emotionally hitting back with, like it or not, common teen insults. Crude and unflattering? Sure. Greasing the skids of gay suicide? Of course not.

There’s another reason we know Griffin isn’t doing this from the bottom of her heart: she admitted it elsewhere:

[H]alf the fun is knowing I will irritate Elisabeth Hasselbeck and then maybe the other ladies at “The View” and be a Hot Topic. So, I reached my goal: I was Hot Topic and Pinhead of the Week […] I’m excited to be in a celebrity feud […] It’s just fun. I mean, they’re just, I just love these ridiculous larger than life characters, and I just think it’s funny that you know, that, well, I just think the whole family is a riot.

So she’s publicly excoriating a teen member of an already-demonized family, suggesting what she says in a Facebook fight contributes to the emotional torment of gay kids…for kicks and attention. Further commentary on Griffin herself is both pointless and counterproductive; it’s not rocket science why publicity-hungry bottom-feeders would latch onto the Palins, and even condemning Griffin only gives her more of what she wants. It’s more valuable to note that Griffin’s strategy works—she gets interviews, TV specials, and award nominations. That such odious opportunism is a viable aid to stardom is a damning indictment of the American media.

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