Why Ruth Is Our Punching Bag

She's the top target for Madoff attacks—thanks in part to gender, bad PR
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 6, 2009 1:29 PM CDT
A U.S. Marshal prepares to leave East 64 Street near the entrance of the building that was the home of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff Thursday, July 2, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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(Newser) – Ruth Madoff “has become the primary punching bag for the media and the victims” of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, “maligned more than any other Wall Street criminal’s wife in memory,” Sheelah Kolhatkar writes in New York—but are the attacks fair? We don’t know whether she was involved, and insiders say she won’t likely be indicted. Part of the trouble is that she’s “played the public-relations game exceedingly badly.”

When Bernie’s mess was revealed, she would have done well to be seen “ladling soup for the lepers of Calcutta.” She neither distanced herself from her husband or played the victim. Instead, she fought to hold on to millions and “managed to lash herself more tightly” to Bernie, whom she “worshiped,” a friend says. Another factor working against her in the public eye: her sex. “It’s the gender politics of the culture,” says Gloria Steinem. “It’s easier to blame the person with less power.”