Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Politics of Sexism and Media Bias this Primary Season

The media has played an extremely important and misplaced role in helping select the Democratic Party nominee. In doing so, the media displayed its true sexist nature and the sexist nature of American politics. A cursory review of what has happened over these past few months reveals the extent of the problem during these primaries:

UPDATE May 21, 2008 11:45 am
Last night as Clinton blew out Obama in Kenbtucky: CNN Analyst says it's accurate to call Hillary a bitch.


1. Obama-Backing Congressman Compares Hillary Clinton to Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction'

Chris Rock said it last month: "It's going to be hard for Barack to be president. ... Hillary's not going to give up. She's like Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.'"

Then NPR political editor Ken Rudin made the joke, saying on "CNN Sunday Morning" that Clinton was "Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction' -- she's going to keep coming back, and they're not going to stop her." (Rudin later apologized.)

This week, Obama-backing Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said on local television, when asked about Sen. Clinton, that "Glenn Close should have just stayed in the tub."
2. From our friends at the BBC:
The candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to die. She has been compared to the Duracell battery bunny that keeps on shuffling when others, powered by lesser fuel cells, have ground to a halt. Less kindly she has been likened to Glenn Close in the film "Fatal Attraction", who is supposed to have been drowned in the bathtub but then comes back in one last terrifying moment, wielding a carving knife.
3. Clinton Campaign Brought Sexism Out of Hiding - and there is more so read the commentary.

I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan "Bros before Hos." The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and they are widely sold on the Internet.

I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her legs to reveal stainless steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won't miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty item.

I won't miss episodes like the one in which the liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a "big f---in' whore" and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters -- one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.
4. From the Columbia Journalism Review: Camp Clinton as Cast by MSNBC

As cast by MSNBC commentators on the night of Hillary's huge 2-1 shellacking of Obama in West Virginia:

If you got your West Virginia primary coverage from MSNBC, then you know:

1) Hillary Clinton is thisclose to becoming “the Al Sharpton of white people,” per Chris Matthews, what with all of her talk about “white people” and her “so loosely say[ing] ‘hardworking white workers’” (a step up, for sure, from another recent Hillary Clinton comparison: Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, likening Clinton to Glenn Close’s bunny-boiling Fatal Attraction character).

2) To Keith Olbermann’s eyes, the Clinton campaign’s fundraising efforts are thisclose to becoming:

OLBERMANN: I don’t want to use the term Ponzi scheme, but if we were not talking politics and the chance for a pay off for people who were investing or donating to the campaign were as little as it is for those people donating to Senator Clinton, we might use the word pyramid or Ponzi scheme. At what point does it become some sort of political scam to be insisting to people this can happen when the odds are the proverbial odds of passing the camel through the needle?

TIM RUSSERT: Terry [McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign chairman] tried to frame it the last three days, with all his appearances on TV shows, anything is possible. As long as there’s a possibility, everything is done with the most noble intentions.

5. From Media Matters; Please read the entire article:

After vowing not to underestimate Clinton, Matthews asserted, "[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around"

6. The Matthews Video of January 9, 2008, after Clinton's NH victory:

7. Hecklers feel emboldened by the Media's sexism, or maybe it's the other way around:

8. Sexism alive and well in American business:

9. And from the left-wing:

An Example of Disgusting Sexism against Senator Clinton

Most of the time when he mentions Senator Clinton's name, he refers to her only as "Bill's lover" and "the woman who stood by him when he got a blow job from Monica Lewinsky." He has no respect for Hillary Clinton at all, even though since 1992 he has been singing the praises of the Clintons. Suddenly she is a "witch", and a "broad." He has demonized her completely, and it's so shocking to me.
10. Comparing Clinton to "everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court"

On the January 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, during a discussion of the January 21 Democratic presidential candidates debate with an all-male panel that included co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist, and guest co-host David Shuster, political and social commentator Mike Barnicle said of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): "when she reacts the way she reacts to [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court, OK? Looking at him that way, all I could think of ... was this fall, if it's [Sen. John] McCain [R-AZ] that she's facing, McCain is likable. She's not." All three MSNBC co-hosts laughed at Barnicle's comparison of Clinton to "everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court," with Scarborough interrupting Barnicle by laughing loudly before saying, "I'm sorry. Go ahead."
11. Comparing Clinton to Tonya Harding

On the May 15 edition of MSNBC Live, while previewing an upcoming interview with former figure skater Tonya Harding, anchor Tamron Hall stated: "Well, remember when there were those reports out that Hillary Clinton would use the so-called 'Tonya Harding strategy' to perhaps take out Barack Obama? Well, we're going to talk to the real Tonya Harding about her place in history and now her infamy within American politics. Yes, really, Mika." MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski responded: "Oh, my God." Hall said: "That's ahead on MSNBC. No, really. Really, we are." Brzezinski added: "I can't believe that. It's great."

12. Kondracke echoed Maureen Dowd "theory" that "Hillary's a vampire ... sucking the blood out of Barack Obama"

During the "All Star" panel on the May 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke presented a "theory" for why Sen. Hillary Clinton may be having a "good time" on the campaign trail: "[S]omebody I know has a theory about this. Remember back when [Bill] Clinton was president of the United States, people said that he's really Satan because he walks through life and people collapse around him and go to jail and die, and all this kind of stuff? Well, this person says Hillary's a vampire. She's sucking the blood out of Barack Obama, and you can watch him wilt and she gets healthier and healthier every day."

13. So Now the Press Tells Candidates When to Quit?

Until this election cycle, journalists simply did not consider it to be their job to tell a contender when he or she should stop campaigning. That was always dictated by how much money the campaign still had in the bank, how many votes the candidate was still getting, and what very senior members of the candidate's own party were advising. ...

And the fact is, the media's get-out-now push is unparalleled. Strong second-place candidates such as Ronald Reagan (1976), Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Jerry Brown, all of whom campaigned through the entire primary season, and most of whom took their fights all the way to their party's nominating conventions, were never tagged by the press and told to go home.
"Clinton is being held to a different standard than virtually any other candidate in history," wrote Steven Stark in the Boston Phoenix. "When Clinton is simply doing what everyone else has always done, she's constantly attacked as an obsessed and crazed egomaniac, bent on self-aggrandizement at the expense of her party."

14. Pat Buchanan said of Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech following the Pennsylvania primary that "only once or twice did that voice start rising to the level that every husband in America at one time or another has heard. You know, where it starts going up -- "

15. More from MSNBC: The Cackling Hillary Pen:

16. The media, Hillary is a b****:

17. More from In recent days, members of the media asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton displayed "mood swings," "could be depressed," "[r]esembl[ed] someone with multiple personality disorder," and "has turned into Sybil."

18. More of the b-word:

So, what is really happening in the media?

The fact is, it's ok to call Hillary Clinton a bitch, because in our present society, it's ok to call a woman a bitch. Its no different in politics, and the media plays this up for as long as it can get away with it. The media has fed this for some time now, and made it almost impossible for Hillary. If she's aggressive she's a "bitch." If she's softer, she's "soppy." If she refuses to quit, even though her opponent does not have enough delegates to win yet, she's crazy and suffering a "Fatal Attraction."

The media bias in this campaign is clear and irrefutable. Some will try, but the fact is that the media has continually denigrated Hillary Clinton because she is a woman running for president.


ASK said...

I agree with you that Clinton has been subjected to gender bias throughout this entire campaign but what candidate has not been targeted for their inherent but unique qualities? Obama has been labeled too black or not black enough and Senator Edwards was referred to multiple times during the debates as the white guy.

In fact, I saw on cnn today an old farmer say that his problem with Obama was that he was "too black, he needs to be more honest". Now you can argue that showing one man's opinion is fair but to make my point clearer I must add that the CNN correspondent showed 5 such people interviewed in kentucky and lingered only on the old farmer as if to milk these racial biases out from the cow.

The fact is that politics are dirty and anything can and will be used against you. This doesn't make it acceptable in any way, shape or form but I think it is a far cry from reality to claim that it is only happening to one candidate.

solidarity said...

I agree that politics can be dirty ASK, but, the issue is the media and its unchallenged litany of sexist degrading comments about HRC.

Can you imagine the outrage if the media took a racist tone against BHO. We all know what would happen. But, it's just accepted to denigrate a person because she is a woman. I haven't seen the mainstream media take a racist stand against BHO, or make racist comments about BHO. If you have show me one.

Again, just last night after HRC blew out BHO in Kentucky by more than a 2-1 margin, David Gergen (well known analyst on CNN) told HRC she should tell voters she does not want racists to vote for her. But did you here him say the same thing to BHO about telling sexists women hating voters that he did not want their votes, or telling BHO that he should tell black voters that he does not want them voting for him on the basis of his race. Of course not. It's sexism pure and simple. Hold the woman in the race to a different standard than the man.

tom dresslar said...

The notion that anyone is supposed to feel sorry for Hillary Clinton is preposterous. As I have said before, where were you when the media consecrated her the Democratic nominee? She and her husband consider themselves roaylty, entitled to the nomination because their name is Clinton. That's why she lost the race. She went along with the media/punditrocacy proclamation of her as the nominee. She didn't think she needed to work for it.

When the voters failed to give it to her, she and her husband went off the deep end. Lately, they have sunk so low that they use Karl Rove as a reference, and say the GOP's nomination rules are more democratic than the Democrats'.

The same person who says we should change the rules midstream so we can count all the votes, has discounted all the votes Obama has received. The person now trying to fashion herself as the champion of democracy not long ago dismissed voters as just "an important part of the process."

Clinton doesn't need the media to adopt racist tones, because she and her husband have done that quite well for themselves.

Hillary Clinton isn't a bitch. She just not a good human being. She and her husband left the Democratic Party soul-less and weak, and they're still trying to recover. It's time for a change of party leadership.

Why don't you stop engaging in the politics of distraction and start examinining your candidate's real failures as a politician and person? Stop blaming everyone else for her defeat.

Strange, but I haven't seen you protest the horrible things Clinton's supporters have said about Obama, the racist comments they have made, repeatedly, and the racist conduct they have soiled this country with. These yahoos are the heart of Clinton's "case." Pitiful.

solidarity said...

Tom, your comments are degenerating into nothing more than Clinton hatred. No support for Obama, just hatred for HRC, and mostly because of what her husband did as President. That's too bad.

Blame her for the sexism the media throws out about her; and blame her for her husband's conduct. That, in and of itself, is sexism.

Maybe the self-proclaimed progressive community is not so progressive after all. Blame the victim. Thought progressives didn't believe in that.

Also, your comments about FL and MI belong somewhere else. But, to answer your baseless comments, what HRC is asking does not violate the DNC rules. If you believe it does, why don't you cite to one single rule stating that asking the committee to reconsider its ruling on FL and MI violates the rules. Next time you make such a comment try backing it up with a fact or citation to the rules. The fact is you won't find one. But, good luck in trying.

But, then again, Clinton hating and bashing from the self-proclaimed left hasn't really been any different than that from the far right, very little basis in fact or reason.

One more thing, you claim that my post is "engaging in the politics of distraction." You demand that I examine "my candidates failures." I believe that without a doubt that is one of the most hypocritical things I have heard. I have examined those "failure" as you cal them. But, I can't remember a time that you have posted anything positive about the other candidate (I don't say your candidate because because you are not a Democrat and have no say in who we nominate from our party). I suppose that in reality it's not that you support him, it's that you hate Clinton so much.

To say that pointing out blatant sexism in the media is nothing more than a distraction seems to me to feed the very sexism my post is trying to dispel.

tom dresslar said...

Nice try, solidarity. Straw man, stuff, beneath your intelligence. I never blamed Clinton for alleged media sexism. And you can couch it any way you want, the DNC established rules before the process started. She now is trying to change those rules. What difference does it make if she using the procedural rules to do that? She's still trying to change the rules governing how the 2008 nominee is selected. So, take your suggestion about rules citation and ...

Also, I do have a say in who the nominee is. In fact, I voted for Obama in the Democratic primary out here.

It's time the superdelegates stood up and stopped Clinton from carrying our her plan to ruin Obama's chances so she can run in 2012.

solidarity said...

Straw man arguments, get a grip. Your arguments are straight from the Obama talking points. You can't cite to any facts, to any rules, to anything. So, you just remain ugly and yell it to the world, just like Obama, and hope it sticks.

Using the rules to right a wrong is never wrong, and it certainly is not "stealing."

Sounds like more sexism to me from the Obama camp. Men (Obama) use the rules re super delegates and they are brilliant and honest; a woman uses the rules (appealing the FL and MI decision) and she's disgusting and a pig.

Certain neither Obama nor you would be making the same argument if it were Obama asking for FL and MI.

Because you believe in counting the votes, don't you? Yet, you proudly refuse to even read the rules, blinded by the media's and Obama's personal and biased reading of the them.

And, as far as crashing the gate and voting in the Democratic Party primary: You are still not a Democrat and crashing the gate does not give you the right because you have consistently claimed you are not a Democrat, hate the Democratic Party, and and won't support the party if your candidate is not nominated.

tom dresslar said...

Hey, Mr. Rules. I voted for Obama under the elections rules of the State of California. So, contrary to your stupid remark, I do have that right. I also have the right under the 1st Amendment. You've heard of that, right?

You just can't get it through your head, can you? Your candidate accepted the disenfranchisement of voters, then when the race didn't go her way, became a hypocritical champion of voters. She is a disgrace, a lying disgrace who has no place in the White House.

Anonymous said...