Jessica Cantelon

The national media are capitalizing on the recent tragedy of notorious “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s suicide to launch into yet another vacuous round of navel-gazing and post-modern feminist angst. By shaping the narrative as sexist, the media are exhibiting the freshest example of how left-wing feminism has infiltrated American newsrooms—much as it has college classrooms decades ago.

Convicted on charges of running a Washington sex ring, Palfrey hanged herself May 1, a heartrending conclusion to the legal saga for her and her family. The terrible loss of a life made a bitter end to a life filled with unhappiness and bad decisions.

Unfortunately, it also ushered in the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth over the alleged inequality of treatment between the sexes, with much of the analysis mirroring the feminists’ mantra of female victimization.

A single day after the story broke, an ABC News article by Maddy Sauer told us that Palfrey’s decision to end her life “has again shown the great discrepancy between men and women when it comes to how the crime of prostitution is punished.” 

Subtly titling her news story “Madams Fall While Their Johns Prosper,” Sauer claims that the prosecution of a female leader of a crime ring over that of an individual male participant is sexist. She points out that Palfrey’s federal trial and subsequent self-inflicted death clash with the favorable fate of such identified clients as Ambassador Randall Tobias, who resigned from the State Department only to later take a position running the Indianapolis Airport Authority.

It’s a clash that smacks of only one thing, says Sauer: gender inequity.

Radical feminism is part and parcel of the liberal media’s bias, and the female claim to victimization works easily within the framework of leftist adherence to irresponsibility-based entitlement. Unfortunately for the feminists’ unflinching fight against the white Eurocentric patriarchy, however, stamping “sexism” onto the Palfrey tragedy is a knee-jerk media narrative that won’t hold water. The Spitzer sex scandal is one reason why.

If you’re wondering “Spitzer who?” one shouldn’t be surprised. Considering today’s typical news cycle—saturation followed by amnesia—it is no wonder the once drawn-out episode involving former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s dangerous liaisons now conveniently escapes the media’s attention. Sauer may not recall, but it was less than two months ago that the nation watched Spitzer’s career swirl down the toilet following his frequent high-priced trysts with call girls at D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel.


Jessica Cantelon

Jessica Cantelon is the Director of Marketing at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, a non-profit whose mission it is to prepare women for effective leadership and promote leading conservative women.