At the dawn of the Democratic primary race between Barack and Hillary, news anchors like ABC’s Diane Sawyer were caught up in the question: Is America more poisoned by racism or sexism? If like ABC, you think the country is still dragging its knuckles in the primordial slime, then the expected primary victory of Obama provides the answer: the country is more sexist.
Hillary’s now playing this card, even including the national media as an accomplice, as the rest of the poker palace is emptying out. Remember how the first President Bush suddenly discovered the “Annoy the Media, Vote Bush” tactic in the last futile days of 1992? Hillary looks just as pathetic trotting out this “Annoy the Media, Vote Hillary” angle in obvious desperation. Yet some in the press are biting. Washington Post reporter Lois Romano interviewed Hillary and asked her if her media coverage didn’t suggest mistreatment of women. Romano suggested “I get the idea that it’s really pissed off a lot of women.”
The chauvinist-pig national media? It sounds odd to hear liberals entertaining the notion that their profession hates women. It is never a function of the “news” media being too liberal. It is the lament that the news media are not liberal enough.
Hillary is charging that sexism has been greeted as more respectable in this campaign, when it should rejected just as heartily as racism, and the news media are complicit in this ugly turn of events. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by comments and reactions of people who are nothing but misogynists.”
She didn’t provide any examples in the interview transcript, so Romano the reporter helped out in her story. “The lewd T-shirts. The man who shouted ‘Iron my shirt’ at a campaign event. The references to her cleavage and her cackle.”
But there was much more that was not trotted out. Romano the Post reporter did not point out that the “nothing but misogynist” story about Hillary’s cleavage appeared first in her own newspaper, and was written by a woman, fashion writer Robin Givhan. She didn’t note that the “iron my shirt” comments came from a pair of Boston radio-show pranksters trying to score some shock-jock publicity.
Romano’s story was headlined “Clinton Puts Up a New Fight: The Candidate Confronts Sexism On the Trail and Vows to Battle On.” Does that sound like hostile media coverage? Note the sexism is taken for granted, not treated merely as a charge. A newspaper that didn’t like Hillary easily could have posted another headline: “As the Race Winds Down, Hillary Blames Everyone But Herself; Slings Mud About Sexism.”
For many years now, the national media have performed acrobatic feats of propaganda on Hillary’s behalf, treating her to an endless stream of puffball interviews and fawning stunts. CNN put her face on the Statue of Liberty when she ran for the Senate. Throughout this entire electoral cycle, each and every “mainstream” national newspaper and network have virtually ignored the Clinton scandals that trail behind her reputation like mucus from a slug.
Instead, they have allowed her to claim “experience” in the White House far beyond her actual work there, and ignored the “experience” of waging war on special prosecutors, of and hiding and shredding documents, and of destroying the careers of anyone interfering with her political ambitions. Clearly, she would rather discuss cackles and cleavage than cattle futures and sleazy Whitewater lawyering.
Even though the media never mention it, there appear to be plenty of Democratic primary voters who certainly remember the scandal-plagued Clinton years, and the whole idea of another four or eight years of corruption probes aren’t as appetizing as turning the page to a fresh face.
Even worse for Hillary is the shadowy figure of Bill. Every Democratic primary voter can only imagine what the Democrats will have to defend with a First Laddie running loose in the West Wing. The supposed Hillary-hating media haven’t really pressed the Clintons for any data about the big donors (foreign or domestic) to the Clinton library. They certainly haven’t asked her if she would be dragging out the “zone of privacy” again to hide his serial adultery and whatever political or personal wreckage it might cause (like its enduring damage to feminism). Clearly, despite the media silence, all of this is entering into the calculation of voters pulling a lever for Obama.