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David Letterman’s attacks on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughters on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS on June 8 and 9, and his sham apologies on June 10 and June 15, are grounds for persuading CBS to fire him. He made degrading sexual remarks about Gov. Palin and joking about her daughter being raped in front of her. He played his insincere apologies for laughs and used them to throw salt in the wound. The bottom line is that his attacks were not only degrading to ALL women, but also were a warning to any politician he disagrees with that he will treat them — and their children — the same way. His behavior is sexist because his remarks were degrading and humiliating on the basis of female characteristics. What he did was bullying because he was humiliating an adversary who cannot fight back.
But what Letterman did also can be called mobbing.
Wikipedia cites the book Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace (p. 21, 2005) for the first use of the term being applied to animal behavior:
“In the sixties, the eminent Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz used the English term mobbing to describe the behaviour that animals use to scare away a stronger, preying enemy. A number of weaker individuals crowd together and display attacking behavior, such as geese scaring away a fox.”
Wikipedia notes that the Royal Society for Protection of Birds describes mobbing as it is done by birds:
Mobbing is a noisy, obvious form of behaviour that birds engage in to defend themselves or their offspring from predators. When a predator is discovered, the birds start to emit alarm calls and fly at the predator, diverting its attention and harassing it. Sometimes they make physical contact. Mobbing usually starts with just one or two birds, but may attract a large number of birds, often of many species. For example, a chorus of different alarm calls coming from the same tree is often a good sign of a roosting owl or a cat.
Mobbing behaviour has been recorded in a wide range of species, but it is particularly well developed in gulls and terns, while crows are amongst the most frequent mobbers. In addition to flying at the predator and emitting alarm calls, some birds, such as fieldfares and gulls, add to the effectiveness by defecating or even vomiting on the predator with amazing accuracy… [my emphasis].
Research into the phenomenon [of mobbing by humans] was pioneered in the 1980’s by German-born Swedish scientist Heinz Leymann, who borrowed the term from animal behavior due to it describing perfectly how a group can attack an individual based only the negative covert communications from the group.
… German, Polish and several other European languages have adopted mobbing as a loanword to describe all forms of bullying including that by single persons. The resultant German verb mobben can also be used for physical attacks, calumny against teachers on the internet and intimidation by superiors, with an emphasis on the victims’ continuous fear rather than the perpetrators’ will to exclude them.
… in workplace psychology [mobbing] narrowly refers to “ganging up” by others to harass and intimidate an individual.
Mobbing is also found in school systems and this too was discovered by Dr. Heinz Leymann. Although he preferred the term bullying in the context of school children, some have come to regard mobbing as a form of group bullying. It is interesting to note that a German born doctor practicing in Sweden chose the English term “Mobbing” to describe this social phenomenon. As professor and practicing psychologist, Dr. Leymann also noted one of the side-effects of Mobbing is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. After making this discovery he successfully treated thousands of mobbing victims at his clinic in Sweden.
In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors say that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organized production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually “exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication.” [Emphasis mine.]
For the sake of emphasis, let me repeat the most important points:
- Mobbing is a form of bullying by a group to harass and intimidate an individual.
- The intent is to drive away the individual.
- Mobbing starts with one or two persons sounding the call to alert the group to attack.
- Mobbing typically originates among groups “that have poorly organized production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management” — this doesn’t always define liberals and liberalism because they can organize grievances extremely well, but I can’t resist taking the shot.
- “… Mobbing victims are usually ‘exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication.,”
- One of the side effects of mobbing for the mobbing victim is post-traumatic stress disorder.
What Letterman was mobbing and he did it to Gov. Palin, her teen-age daughters, to all women, and to both the male and female conservatives and/or Republican in the public arena with whom he disagrees. He can’t be dismissed as one individual trying to destroy just a few women because HE WAS TALKING TO AN AUDIENCE OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND INCITING THEM TO BEHAVE THE SAME WAY TOWARD THE SAME TARGETS.
We must and can defend ourselves with a consistent, persistent campaign as described here (my “Fire David Letterman Kit,” part two) and here (HillBuzz on the importance of persistence) and here (www.firedavidletterman.com, a list of the sponsors and contact info) to GET DAVID LETTERMAN FIRED NOW. Getting David Letterman fired is our notice that the sexism, the bullying and the mobbing of Letterman and his ilk are career suicide — since they are not refraining from these tactics because they are wrong.
We must persist in persuading Letterman’s sponsors to pull their ads, convincing celebrity guests to refuse to appear on his show and informing CBS that the ONLY cure for their hemorraging money and prestige is to FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN!
Hot Air has the latest scoop on sponsors that have dropped Letterman.
And Big Hollywood seems to have had the scales fall from its eyes regarding Letterman by the end of the week — or Eric Golub has, because he’s a long-time fan who is now saying, “Dave, You’re Fired.”
As Stacy McCain noted “On Relentlessness,” over at The Other McCain, yes, I am, and you will be, too, when we win this battle and you learn for yourself how good it feels to know you’ve gained the knowledge for life of how you can make the bullies stop.
I just checked my e-mail and found the following e-mail from Michael Patrick Leahy of FireDavidLetterman.com stating that the focus on Monday, June 22, is on getting Johnson & Johnson to stop advertising on “The Late Show with David Letterman”:
Subject: Start Calling Johnson & Johnson first thing tomorrow morning 973-385-4370
Please rev up your phones and emails!
Tomorrow, (Monday, June 22, 2009) all day, starting at 8 am EDT we will be targeting Letterman advertiser Johnson & Johnson exclusively.
Here are the numbers to call and email addresses :
Johnson & Johnson (Listerine. KY Brand, and Aveeno)
Main Number: 1-888-222-0182 (Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products)
Kristina Chang, Public Relations, 973-385-4370, firstname.lastname@example.org://www.facebook.com/l/;jnj.com
Steve Schonberg, Edelman PR, 212-704-4494, email@example.com
Please be polite and respectful, but make your point:
We are asking Johnson & Johnson to make a public statement on Monday, June 22, that the company is stopping ALL advertising on “The Late Show with David Letterman” immediately until CBS has held Mr. Letterman to the same degree of accountability to which the company held Don Imus.
Until Johnson & Johnson makes such a public statement, our message to them is clear. We won’t buy their products and we will make a point of going into every grocery store in the country and telling that same message to the manager of the local grocery store.
Please email me or message me here with the responses you receive from Johnson & Johnson. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org .
We’re targeting Johnson & Johnson on Monday, rather than Kellogg’s for one very simple reason: Over the last 2 weeks, Johnson & Johnson has been the single largest advertiser on “The Late Night Show with David Letterman.”
Friday night, June 19, they ran spots for Listerine, KY Brands, AND Aveeno, and have been regularly running spots on Letterman since Wednesday June 10.
Kellogg’s ran a Mini-Wheats spot on June 11, and we know they didn’t run spots on June 12, 15, 16, and 19. We don’t have data on the 17th and 18th for Kellogg’s yet. So, for the time being, we’re giving Kellogg’s the benefit of the doubt.
Thanks for all your help on this important project!
(Note: I fixed punctuation in Mike’s e-mail and inserted the full name of Letterman’s show.)