That last bit tends to get in the way with some folks. Like, say, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. His column yesterday wasn’t about her new promotion. It wasn’t about her perspective on the war. It wasn’t about her many accomplishments. No, instead it was about her sex life. You see, while stationed in Iraq for the last four years, Lara had the audacity to have a personal life. And now, she is unexpectedly pregnant. Her partner and father of her child is a married, but separated, American contractor she met while in Iraq. Alert the press! Quelle scandal! Where are those Scarlet Letters when you need them!
The tabloids latched onto this “story” first. But Kurtz’s column reads more like the National Enquirer than the paper of Woodward and Bernstein. Before he gets to anything more than her cursory job title, I know the names of and circumstances surrounding her last three relationships. First there was her husband, though they had long-ago separated. Then she had an “intense relationship” with another journalist in Baghdad that ended in November. And then her new partner, a federal contractor she had been friends with before.
Kurtz makes sure to assure us that they “plan to get married eventually” and then, only then, does he bother to list any of her actual credentials. His column dissolves further into the kind of tawdry he said/she said ugly divorce trash normally relegated to the pages of supermarket rags. We even get a quote from her partner’s estranged wife who called Lara’s promotion “a slap in the face to everyone who believes in marriage.”
The thing is, would they ever run a story like this on a male correspondent’s personal life? Would the specter of “homewrecker” come up with a male reporter? Would an “unplanned” pregnancy be an issue for a male journalist? Would any of this even be on The Washington Post’s radar if Lara wasn’t beautiful?
I’ve never read any mainstream press coverage of the fact that Keith Olbermann has a 24-year-old live-in girlfriend. He is 49, by the way, which means the age difference between them is older than she is. No mainstream media has had the nerve to poke through Anderson Cooper’s closet to see exactly what he has hiding in there. (My guess, chaps and a harness – who’s your daddy, Coop?) And the sundry details of Bill O’Reilly and his loofah fetish are, well – OK, actually I’m glad those never got more widely publicized. Shudder.
What makes Lara’s story different? Because she is a woman? Because she is unwed and pregnant? Because she is beautiful? What fucking century is this, again?
The only good news out of this is that Lara, clearly, has bigger and more important things on her mind than the salacious selling of her private life. Her appearance last month on The Daily Show showed that she is the kind of woman who has, what my grandma used to call, “a good head on her shoulders.” Sure, my grandma might not like all the cussing, but I fucking love it. I think I might also love her, just a little. OK, a lot.
Seriously, how fantastic is she? So fantastic I’m going to have to start watching CBS News again. No wonder the good ’ol boys media club is up in arms about her. She is smarter than them. She is stronger than them. And she is a hell of a lot sexier than them.