Tammy Faye Bakker passes, is the MSM Attacking Her Still?

July 22, 2007 | Filed Under 00Publius Contributor, Democrats/Leftists, Media Bias, Society/Culture, Uncategorized, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

Upon the passing today of famed 1980’s televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner, it is easy to recall that the MSM loved to attack her as a “symbol” of all that is wrong with America.

Liberal MSMers of the past loved to portray the woman as the “very model of Reagan’s Decade of Greed,” but this news made me wonder how the media is reporting her passing, at least during this early morning time as the country wakes to the news.

Tammy Faye has been reviled for many years by the MSM, though recently seems to have gained a sort of kitschy popularity. So, I admit that I went in assuming that the MSM would unleash their worst comments on her passing and, as I set out to search the reports, I was thinking that the MSM would use her death as just another excuse to attack her in their prosaically common, mean-spirited fashion. But, I was surprised upon finding that most of these early reports have shied away from the “decade of greed” tagline to her life and have refrained form gauche personal attacks.

All except for the Associated Press, that is.

Even the New York Times didn’t editorialize much about Bakker-Messner’s life in their report. Neither did the L.A.Times. Both papers stuck closely to a rather straight forward reporting of her life and history, surprisingly enough.

I found but one MSM news source that used the occasion of her passing to get in a dig. Naturally, it was the AP that couldn’t just report the facts and had to slip in an editorial comment. Here is the AP doing so when even the L.A.Times and New York Times, two of the most notoriously leftist papers in the country, wouldn’t do so.

The AP says of Bakker-Messner:

For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim’s infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America.

So, there is the first example on full display of the attack on Bakker-Messner as being representative of that “decade of greed” that we are used to.

Now, I don’t imagine that the MSM’s niceties for Tammy Faye will stay de rigeur for long as we have yet to see any editorials about her passing and her life. No MSM columnist or pundit has had a chance to belch out their “feelings” on the evangelist’s life as of yet, so I don’t expect the MSM to much longer treat her passing with respect.

But, surprisingly, so far there is little by way of attack.

Still, maybe the New York Times story referenced above holds the key to that reason.

Gay men came to embrace Ms. Messner as a camp figure, making her the subject of gender-bending look-alike contests. She embraced them as well. She began attending gay pride events, and in 1996, she became the co-host of a syndicated television talk show with Jim J. Bullock, an openly gay actor.

Maybe the Times and other MSM outlets have at last found a readership they don’t want to offend by attacking one of their celebrities?


In any case, so far it is refreshing that they aren’t all immediately piling on at her passing. Could the MSM have found a heart in their emaciated breasts after all this time?

I guess I wouldn’t wanna bet on it.
Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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