Pimping and pandering

Pimp this: Kids these days! Used to be when a child used foul language, you washed his or her mouth out with soap. Nowadays, you call up their boss and try to get them fired. At least you do if you’re Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In case you missed it, last week, while subbing for host Tucker Carlson, MSNBC’s David Schuster asked longtime liberal journalist/political operative Bill Press if it wasn’t just a little suspect that Hillary and Bill Clinton are permitting daughter Chelsea to persuade Democratic “super delegates” to vote for mom at the convention this summer, yet they won’t allow reporters to question the notoriously press-shy 28-year-old.

“[D]oesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” asked Schuster.

Press, obviously hip to the idiomatic use of the phrase “pimped out,” disagreed and laughed off the question, but it didn’t take long for the feces to hit the fan, in the form of a nasty e-mail supposedly composed by Mrs. Clinton herself:

“I am accustomed to criticism,” she wrote. “I know that it goes with the territory. However, I became Chelsea’s mother long before I ran for any office, and I will always be a mom first and a public official second. Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Schuster used and no temporary suspension or halfhearted apology is sufficient.”

Translation: You’re fired!

What a beeatch!

It’s a hit, man: Fortunately for Schuster, who has only been temporarily suspended, cooler heads have so far prevailed at MSNBC. If only that could be said for the folks who’ve been lighting up the Bites hotline to complain about the HBO series Dexter, which makes its broadcast-television debut on CBS (KOVR 13 locally) this Sunday, February 17, at 9 p.m.

For those who haven’t seen the show thanks to Comcast’s exorbitant cable fees, the hour-long crime drama concerns Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department. For Dex, it’s the perfect gig, since he also moonlights as a full-fledged serial killer. Naturally, the prospect of children worshipping a mass murderer has driven the well-meaning folks at the Parents Television Council ’round the bend.

The PTC-inspired form letters began landing in Bites’ mailbox two weeks ago. “This community does not need a series that glorifies a sadistic serial killer coming into our homes.” Oddly enough, Bites shared the same view until actually viewing Dexter which, true to its buzz, is one of the best shows on television.

Think of Dex as a thoroughly modern take on Raskolnikov, the antihero in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s existential classic Crime and Punishment, with a twist: Whereas Raskolnikov committed murder and then suffered punishment, Dexter metes out punishment by committing murder. Does it matter that all of his victims are criminal monsters in their own right? This Sunday, you make the call. Don’t miss it.

Bee gone: The financial travails of Sacramento Bee parent McClatchy Co. continue unabated. Weighted down by extensive and now worthless subprime real-estate holdings, McClatchy’s stock price dropped below $10 per share last Friday and has remained in single digits ever since. This from a high of $74.50 a scant two years ago, a decline of— hold your breath—88 percent.

The news in Beeland is not all bad. Former executive editor Rick Rodriguez has landed a teaching gig at Arizona State University, where he’ll specialize in immigration issues at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Bites thinks it’s fabulous that Rodriguez will now be associated with Cronkite, once considered “the most trusted man in America.”

Apparently, new Bee executive editor Melanie Sill doesn’t share Bites’ joy for her esteemed former colleague. The Rodriguez story was buried out of sight and out of mind on page D3 of the business section.