Posted by: eratigan | July 27, 2009

Shared anger factor

(sorry, this was supposed to go up last night, but apartment’s internet=dead. R.I.P)

I thought Howard Kurtz’s piece on sexism during the presidential election touched on quite a few interesting points.

One question he raised that I’d like to expand upon is the role sexism played for both sides’ tactics and campaigns. Coming up to November, Obama caught a lot of flak for the “lipstick on a pig comment,” from the media and McCain’s people. He was accused of throwing a low blow, of trying to cut down an unworthy opponent, etc. (we all saw the articles). However, wasn’t McCain’s effort to draw in women votes by picking Palin also a sexist move? If we were to take it even farther—in true MSM fashion—could we accuse Hillary Clinton of being a sexist for knowing that she’d get the female vote just by running? Could Palin, playing up or playing into her woman-in-power/hockey mom/MILF strengths, be accused of the same thing?

I think the media’s biggest gaffe in covering the sexism issue was focusing on the he-said, she-said aspect. If they had wanted to contextualize Obama’s comment and the McCain camp’s reaction, they could have gone a bit further than straight news reporting. Rather than publicly scold Obama for the pig comment, why not question the reasons it caused such problems? Why not truly examine the reasons he thought he could gain from saying such a thing, or why the McCain team was so primed and ready to retaliate—were they just waiting for the misstep? Why not use that as a jumping board for scrutinizing both sides’ true feelings on the gender issue? Kurtz’s article is guilty of the same shallow investigation.

For the press and networks usually so interested in self-coverage, reporters would have done better removing another layer of proverbial lipstick. Maybe then they could have revealed the true face of sexism in politics and in the media.

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