An Incoherent Web War on Motherhood and Political Expertise

Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch and Mediaite's Frances Martel duke it out

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Players: Conservative CNN Contributor and Big Journalism Editor Dana Loesch; Mediaite writer Frances Martel

Opening Serve: For Mother's Day, Loesch wrote a post at Big Journalism arguing that it is a maternal duty to protect children from the influence of liberalism: "We take them to the pediatrician to have them immunized, to inoculate them against disease. Why wouldn’t I also build up their knowledge of the Constitution, their confidence, and their courage so as to inoculate them against the ongoing campaign to break them down and render them dependent upon a swelling government?" Martel tweeted a link to the post and added, "As a woman who chose to study politics instead of procreating for a living (?), I'm very offended by this mentality."

Return Volley: Loesch and Martel went back and forth over Twitter several times before Martel was invited to take the debate to the Larry O'Connor's webcast Stage Right. Loesch started off by asking Martel to qualify her opinion of the Mother's Day post by whether or not she had any children. Martel replied, "No, I'm 23 years old" but questioned how Loesch could "have a discussion about politics if you don't have a college degree in politics." It wasn't the most coherent exchange. Sifting through the back and forth, the crux of the argument looks like whether, as Martel argued, public servants are better off with political education or, from Loesch's side, you don't have to be "elitist" or "indoctrinated" to be involved in politics. The harshest blows came when Loesch told Martel she sounded like a "communist elite"--which Martel countered by pointing out that she was actually from a communist country, Cuba, and did not believe in communism. "Have you ever been to a communist country? You're a little bit drunk and you don't really understand," she fired back, apparently referring to a comment Loesch made before the interview about having had four margaritas. Loesch made things especially nasty by calling Martel a bitch and explaining her name calling, after Martel asked "why?" with "because you are a bitch." Here's the Mediaite edit:

The spat hardly stops there. The women then took the fight back to its roots: Twitter. Yesterday, Martel tweeted at her Mediaite colleague Tommy Christopher to "Wait until you get to 'you're a bitch'" after he wrote, "I'm up to 'elite communist.' Does it get better from there?" "It comes after the personal insults and 'drunk,' Loesch chimed in to which Martel responded, "Personal insult=accurate academic history, @dloesch? Woman up and give me an apology for calling me a bitch already, I'm forgiving." But an apology was not so easily wrangled from Loesch who wrote, "No, you deflected when you got own on fact. Don't condescend to people who are quicker than you, doll." And it keeps going.

What They Say the Fight's About: Martel and Loesch are challenging each other over which type of experience is necessary and beneficial for a career in politics and whether someone without said experience deserves to have an opinion on the matter.

What the Fight's Really About: Mediaite editor, and Martel's boss, Colby Hall weighed in today. "The premise of the debate (and what seems to be the  misunderstanding between the debates participants) is not really the point," he argues. "One should be expected to engage in a spirited discourse over political differences without ad hominem attacks. Dana Loesch is a contributor at CNN, yet she revealed at the outset of her debate that she'd had four margaritas before calling Martel a bitch." He notes that Martel, in fact, may not be qualified to opine on motherhood, nor may Loesch be as qualified as she claims she is to discuss politics because of her experience as a mother. "But one wonders if she would be so proud to share her calling of Martel a 'bitch' with her children, now or ever. Which gets to the real issue of the debate between Loesch and Martel. Is one's ignorance something one should wear proudly as a badge of honor?"

Who's Winning Now: Hall writes that he must agree with Martel's answer of "no" to the above question and, frankly, we do too. Still, as is the case with most of these Twitter fights, no one comes out looking particularly good at the end.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.