Sunday, October 5, 2008

All is Fair on Politics and Palin.

interview with CBS News's Katie Couric. (image from Cbs News)

Tom Rosenstiel, director of Project for Excellence in Journalism, has not only noted in recent National Journal article that having female candidates in both parties is, "uncharted territory for the American news media" but also, "...some kind of sexism -- is an inevitable byproduct of covering uncharted territory." So how have the press been keeping up?

Although the McCain camp immediately accused the press of bias and sexism, a recent PEJ news index portrayed that, "gender was a focus of only 1 percent of the stories in the coverage of Palin from Aug. 29 to Sept. 15" (National Journal). Incidently the media has been doing their job in highlighting Palin's background.

And although Howard Kurtz reports that journalists are not going to treat Palin differently because she is a woman, GOP persists at the complaint of "gotcha journalism." Nicole Wallace, a senior McCain adviser said:

"We didn't expect anyone to treat her as a cream puff because she's a girl..but 'm shocked personally at how brutal many of the women in the media have been." Wallace pointed to CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who urged the campaign to arrange more interviews for Palin and stop treating her "like a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment."

To me, that's a contradictory statement, like telling the press to stop treating her like a child but at the same time berating the press for sexism and being a bully every time an interviewer (like Couric) presents her with a hardhitting investigative inquiry and she can't handle it.

1 comment:

M. Dery said...

Thanks for shedding some much-needed light on the nagging question of the media's alleged sexism toward Palin, a question that several bloggers on this site have taken up. The NATIONAL JOURNAL article is excellent, a real find, rich in hard nuggets of fact that---to my mind, at least---put paid to the notion that sexism is to blame for the media's putatively tough treatment of McCain's veep choice. Some---this writer very much among them---would argue that the media haven't been tough enough on all of the candidates, though McCain's age and medical history make her, as someone who might end up a heart attack away from the presidency, especially deserving of tough scrutiny, given her troubling misuse of her gubernatorial powers (see the recent finding that she harassed state-trooper authorities to fire her ex-brother-in-law); her faith-based rejection of Darwinian theory and accepted climate science; and her G.W. Bush-ian incuriousness about global affairs, foreign policy, and current events (evinced, most notably, by her unconvincing insistence to Katie Couric that she reads, you know, "all" the media). In your kicker, you rightly point out the hypocrisy inherent in treating Palin like a frail Victorian gamine, as sexist a move as ever there was, then browbeating the media for sexism.
All that said, your argument would have been stronger if you had point-counterpointed quotes from those who believe the media HAVE given Palin a raw deal, citing what evidence they believe supports that case, then answering those charges with quotes from media critics who believe such charges are baseless, and citing their evidence. Moderate the debate. Create a dialectic. And let us hear your sharp insights, too. Furthermore, concede the other side's points when they're adequately evidenced. The NATIONAL JOURNAL article does include some examples of media sexism; why not cite them?