Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« SPOG Detective Challenges BIAW... | When Candy Design Goes Wrong »

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Katie Couric on the Media’s Sexism

posted by on June 11 at 18:07 PM

A brief but pointed recapitulation of the argument that Hillary Clinton suffered more from sexism than Obama did from racism:

Via The Caucus.

RSS icon Comments


Man, you can almost hear the ratings dropping on Katie every time she opens her crooked mouth.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 11, 2008 6:16 PM

Good for Katie for saying something substantive for a change. However, she didn't name names. Calling out "the media" for sexism is pretty vague. It would have been braver for her to cite people responsible, instead of some nebulous entity.

Posted by miss_m | June 11, 2008 6:43 PM

What a stupid fucking argument. Who the fuck cares who got hated more than who and for what reason?

Posted by JT | June 11, 2008 6:46 PM

People disliked Hillary because she was a sucky, boring, old-school candidate compared to Obama, not because she was a woman.

Posted by The CHZA | June 11, 2008 6:54 PM

Boo hoo Hoo...cry me a river. HRC Nutcracker at the airport, shocking!! Where was the outrage over the Obama Curious George shirt and some po-dunk bar in WV?

Seriously, stop whining and realize that she played a good game but Obama was smart and didn't blow huge wads of money on some fancy pants chief strategist who was only working part time for the campaign. She spent more on a month than Obama's chief strategist earned in a entire year.

Posted by Cato | June 11, 2008 6:57 PM

Ah, it was sexism that made Hillary vote for the Iraq war, fatally alienating her from her own party's base? That clears that up then.

Posted by Doctor Memory | June 11, 2008 6:59 PM

Her points are fair, and as about as trenchant as a 60 second TV spot can get.

(Oh, and in an attempt at establishing non-bias: I did not support Hillary, and I have attacked ECB's use of misleading statistics to advocate comparable worth legislation at every opportunity.)

Posted by David Wright | June 11, 2008 7:03 PM

Yep, Seattlites, SLOG readers in particular, are so damned enlightened and intelligunt. As Paul Constant likes to point out, they speel good.

Posted by umvue | June 11, 2008 7:04 PM

And if ECB had posted this link instead of Eli, she'd be getting flamed. As it is, Eli's fine.

Posted by Garth | June 11, 2008 7:06 PM

So Hillary faced sexism in the media, and Obama faced racism in the voting booths. Some choice quotes directly from Slog articles, which can't link to due to Slog's stupid spam filter:

Clark County Pimping the "Obama's a Muslim" Smear

"All the signs point to that he is (a secret Muslim)"

The constitution should be amended so it will "not let any colored people run for the White House."

Not that the media is totally missing out on racist opportunities.

Which do you think is easier to overcome, the media's pitiful attempts to make you look bad that any reasonable person can see right through, or the unreasonable and irrational lifelong beliefs that many Americans are taking into the booth that don't allow them to vote for excessive melainin?

Everyone has their detractors and enemies; you can choose to cry about it and complain how unfair it is, or just do your damn job.

Posted by Lou | June 11, 2008 7:10 PM

And this is Obama's fault because...???

Vote for McCain because some idiot shouted "iron my shirt" at a rally. That makes sense.

Posted by MR. Language Person | June 11, 2008 7:25 PM

She's right. I don't think Obama even belongs in the discussion, because there's always the impulse to compare how bad he got it being black versus how bad she got it being female. That's not the point. She got treated very badly by the media in a way any dude holding her exact same positions and saying the exact same things wouldn't have been, and that's a shame. And as I keep telling my Hillary-hating dad, I'm saying this as someone who's never wanted her for President.

Posted by Stacy | June 11, 2008 7:32 PM

These ads are awesome. Thanks Slog!!

Posted by J | June 11, 2008 7:39 PM

with the exception of a few posts, everyone who has commented has showed themselves to be complete douche bags. THERE WAS SEXISM, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. to deny that is abject ignorance.

Posted by slog commenters suck | June 11, 2008 7:40 PM

with the exception of a few posts, everyone who has commented has showed themselves to be complete douche bags. THERE WAS SEXISM, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. to deny that is abject ignorance.

Posted by slog commenters suck | June 11, 2008 7:40 PM

with the exception of a few posts, everyone who has commented has showed themselves to be complete douche bags. THERE WAS SEXISM, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. to deny that is abject ignorance.

Posted by slog commenters suck | June 11, 2008 7:40 PM

There's really no reason to take her perfectly valid points and assume that she's fighting the same war that ReclusiveLeftist and other anti-feminists are. Everything she said is true, it's not Obama's fault in the slightest, and she's not making the argument that the sexism had any greater effect on the results of the primary than racism did.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 11, 2008 7:46 PM

I don't think KC was complaining that Hillary didn't win the nom, folks, but that, regardless of why someone didn't like HRC, misogyny was often the accepted and unchallenged form of expressing that dislike.

Posted by johnnie | June 11, 2008 7:48 PM

You lost me at "Katie Couric".

Posted by Fnarf | June 11, 2008 8:09 PM

Katie makes some good points: there was definitely sexism against Hillary. Was it why she lost? No. No doubt it had a factor, but sexism alone didn't kill off a candidate that had been crowned the presumptive nominee by every major news network as soon as she announced her candidacy.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know what Katie's trying to do, and it's admirable, but one of her points is just utterly fucking wrong. "If Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an 'Iron My Shirt' poster at campaign rallies or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports ... the outrage would not be a footnote, it would be front-page news."

So, Katie, if I understand you right, you're trying to quantify Hillary Clinton's pain, measure it against Obama's, and say hers is the greater. What the fuck? That's a pretty asshole move, Katie. There's no reason to frame it like that. And it's also demonstrably false.

Just last Friday we had to endure discussion about a "Terroist Fist Jab", never mind the Kenyan garb fiasco, Reverend Wright, emphasizing his middle name, darkening and widening his image in attack commercials, being deliberately asked on stage at debates if he was black enough, talk of him going to a Madrassa as if that was some code word for terrorism, and the fact that 1/3 of the people in this country still think he's a Muslim Manchurian Candidate. (There are probably even more examples that I'm forgetting.)

When is the mainstream media going to be taken to task for that, Katie?

Posted by Zelbinian | June 11, 2008 8:19 PM

No, Zelbinian, you're wrong. If there had been a couple of douchebags at an Obama rally with signs that said "Pick my Cotton", presuming they could be heard over the cheering crowd or the murderous riot, it would have been a much bigger story. Nobody in the media would have dared treat it like a joke, either, which is what some people in the media did. You might argue that FoxNews doesn't count, but even if they're not news, they're still The Media.

I don't think either candidate would be affected by such a weak attempt at their dignity. Nobody's "pain" is greater. But that doesn't change the fact that such a small thing would have a decidedly different reaction depending upon the supposed victim.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 11, 2008 8:32 PM

Sorry Katie. Too little too late. And downright unbelievable.

Posted by idaho | June 11, 2008 8:34 PM

I have a hard time listening to someone who makes more than 98% of the rest of the world talk about victimization.

Posted by 98 percent | June 11, 2008 8:37 PM

I find the Clinton hating at the SLOG is getting really, really fucking boring. Jesus Christ, people, it's over. She lost.

But if you can't see that the sexist opposition to her candidacy (whatever fraction of the total opposition that it was) was more overt and unappologetic than the racist reaction to Obama's candidacy, then you are either a fool or being willfully ignorant.

Posted by Big Sven | June 11, 2008 8:39 PM

@21: Like I said, she has a point, and it's a good one to make.

But, uh, I really don't think minorities are going to be too happy with the way she framed it.

Posted by Zelbinian | June 11, 2008 8:41 PM

@23 - Evidently you had a very hard time listening, because there was nothing at all about victimization in it.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 11, 2008 8:52 PM

However, Zelb, most of what you point out is Obama being attacked not as black, but as Muslim. Certainly, there's racism in Obama's treatment, but it's interesting to note that it's through associating him with a currently acceptable demonized other (them Muslims) as a guise for attacking his more apparent, but less blatantly approachable otherness (blackness).

Posted by johnnie | June 11, 2008 8:58 PM

Chris 26: So, Meriam-Webster has it wrong, too?

Main Entry: vic·tim

one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment

Posted by 98 percent | June 11, 2008 9:01 PM

Right, because the media represents mainstream opinion.

Posted by w7ngman | June 11, 2008 9:04 PM

The thing is that while whispers about Obama's non-mainstream background almost certainly had a negative effect on his candidacy, I honestly don't see sexism having negatively affected Clinton's campaign. If anything, its effect was sometimes positive. What am I to believe that the sudden significant uptick for Hillary amongst women in NH polls the few days before the primary came from? Was it from New Hampshire women suddenly reconsidering her health care policy, or was it the "Iron My Shirt" guys? Perhaps Obama probably should've made more of a noise about sexism in the campaign, if only out of self-interest - every time Chris Matthews opened his big fat mouth, Hillary may have gained another handful of supporters.

Posted by tsm | June 11, 2008 9:09 PM

Oh, and as for this from Big Sven@24 ...

the sexist opposition to her candidacy ... was more overt and unappologetic than the racist reaction to Obama's candidacy,

... oh, don't worry. They've found an outlet for multiple bigotries now.

Posted by tsm | June 11, 2008 9:18 PM

@28 - Well, you won't ever find me defending Merriam-Webster, but the definition you gave is immaterial. The fact remains that she was not commenting on the effect, but on the cause. "Sexism exists, look at it" not "Sexism exists, feel sorry for me and others"

You also won't ever find me claiming that various groups of people, including women and blacks, don't play the victim card unnecessarily. But don't put words in Katie Couric's mouth*, because that's not what she's doing.

*ehehe, i'll put something in her mouth...

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 11, 2008 9:29 PM

Interview w/Kevin Merida - Washington Post writer of story entitled “Racism on the Campaign Trail”

Washington Post article written by Kevin Merida

and the Obama campaign tried to keep knowledge of these incidents on the down low - stop already with the ironing shirts shit.

Posted by LH | June 11, 2008 9:33 PM

We have a pretty good idea which states Obama lost due to racism. Call me crazy but I don't think Hillary lost any states due to sexism. I'm not saying sexism didn't rear it's ugly head, but I doubt it hurt Hillary as much as racism hurt Obama. Hey, I've got a theory as to why she lost: her team ran a horrible campaign strategy completely based around her inevitability as a candidate. That didn’t go over too well with voters. Go figure.

Posted by jay | June 11, 2008 9:58 PM

So if Katie hadn't said this and Charles Gibson had, then what? You'd think W would be magnetic north for hatred instead of Hillary. WTF!

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | June 11, 2008 10:18 PM

KC blames Hillarys defeat on sexism. When KC gets shit canned what do you think she'll blame her overpaid failure on?

Posted by Bud Dickman | June 11, 2008 11:51 PM

A white privileged woman (50% pop) tells white America via a major TV network that sexism exists on the campaign trail.

Seriously, where are the black TV anchors (not on her channel, or any cable news channel), where are the black senators, where are the positive black mainstream TV characters who don't live in the white suburbs?

Sexism my ass!

Posted by Dingo Rossi | June 12, 2008 12:26 AM

It is incredible to me how many of these comments do not respond to what KC is actually saying. It's like you folks are incapable of actually listening or comprehending a simple argument because you are so blinded by your hatred of HRC. KC is not saying she lost because of sexism, she is not saying HRC got "hated more", she is not saying HRC is likeable or deserved to win. She is simply saying that sexism is OK in the media and the culture at large in a way that racism is not. I think it is not even debatable that an anti-Obama racist equivalent of a "Hilary Nutcracker" would never, ever be produced and sold in shops. It would not be considered funny or appropriate. People would be outraged. Is that so difficult to understand?

Posted by twee | June 12, 2008 12:33 AM

Some men did not vote for Hillary because she was a woman. More women (and some men) voted for Hillary specifically because she was a woman.

Also, I am sure Edmund Muskie in his presidential run wished he was treated like Hillary was for her tears.

Posted by Michael | June 12, 2008 12:56 AM

The video did not mention voting once.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 12, 2008 1:02 AM
Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 12, 2008 1:05 AM

No. Stop. Fail.

30 seconds on wikipedia:
"As of the 2006 elections, there are 16 women (an all-time high) serving in the 100-person body, including freshmen Senators Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobuchar. The Senatorial representation of three states (California, Washington and Maine) is entirely female." (Article: Women in the United States Senate)

Currently serving black senators:
"Barack Obama Democrat Illinois 2005-present"
End of list. (Article: African Americans in the United States Congress)

There's been 5. Ever. There's three times that many women in the senate NOW.

Racism >>> Sexism still.

Posted by supergp | June 12, 2008 1:06 AM
Posted by Matthew | June 12, 2008 1:22 AM

Why do we still care about Hillary Clinton and her battles?

Posted by Bubbles | June 12, 2008 1:43 AM

These debates about racism vs sexism are so tiring and undergrad. What strikes me,is the vehemence with which most of you (I assume men) deny the existence of sexism.

You do it because it is too uncomfortable for you to face sexism in your every day life. My guess is that most of you are young white men who know no black people. So it's easy for you to romanticize racist oppression and take the high road there. You don't have to put your money where your mouth is and actually have a relationship with a person of color.

But it is way to threatening and uncomfortable to look at your girlfriends, wives, sisters and mothers with any kind of power analysis because *guess what*, you are likely the douchebag who plaques their lives with subtle or overt sexism and your own sense of superiority and entitlement. Too close to home. You refuse to acknowledge the existence of gender bias or violence against women. Your arguments are self serving, petty, bratty and selfish. Gee thanks brothers,for supporting the women who raised you, fuck you, comfort you, prop you up, provide your eye candy and probably act as emotional vending machines for you.


Posted by Pissed off Bitch | June 12, 2008 3:22 AM

She's right.

Go Obama.

Posted by Miss Poppy Dixon | June 12, 2008 5:34 AM

Katie's post was good as far as it went, but she may have noted that Clinton herself shared blame. For ex., it was her supporter who introduced her as having the testicular fortitude to be president accompanied by the anti-gay comment that she would make Rocky look like a pansy. And she laughed. Similarly, it was James Carville who said she could give one of her balls to Obama and still have more than him.
Wouldn't the outrage have to cover these clearly sexist comments also. And doesn't the fact that the Clinton campaign tried this approach to de-emasculate Obama undercut any attempt to blame the media for sexism?

Posted by Mike in Iowa | June 12, 2008 7:08 AM

Oh, Pissed off Bitch...I wish you wrote for Katie Couric (or that your comment could be given the same platform that KCs did).

Yours was the best remark made here (followed by twee at #38).

Thank you both for paying attention and jamming a stick in the spokes of these defensive morons.

Posted by patrick | June 12, 2008 7:12 AM


Fail. Your argument only works if black politicians have been defeated due to their race. There are many more white women in this country than black people of either gender. White women, despite sexism, have more opportunities simply by being born to wealthy and middle class parents. Poverty in the black community keeps many black kids from going to college, let alone becoming politicians. Although I can just imagine the screaming from all of you asswipes if affirmative action or significant social welfare programs were used to decrease those inequities.

And, above all, your argument fails because KC isn't complaining about HRC's loss; she's complaining about sexism in the media, period.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 12, 2008 7:27 AM

Thanks Patrick. Sorry about the typos. I was sleep-typing at 3am. So pissed off I can't sleep......

Posted by Pissed off Bitch | June 12, 2008 8:04 AM

@ 38, 45, you're completely correct. all these comments have been a complete show of immaturity and ignorance. they've twisted the issue into something they can defend, all the while ignoring the real problem. i'm always amazed by how idiotic people can really be this day in age.

Posted by tiffany | June 12, 2008 8:46 AM

I'd be curious to know if anyone has actually taken the time to document some of the more egregious examples of sexism that Hillary faced in this campaign. Perhaps a top 10 list? Anyone? It might be interesting to document it for historical perspective.

I know the "Iron my shirt" event would be on the list. But, what, specifically, are the most egregious among the many that Couric and others are referencing here? Also, does it count to cherry pick stupid comments from the Internet?

Posted by Timothy | June 12, 2008 9:26 AM

Timothy, the blog Shakesville has been tracking them for awhile, I think they are up to 105 or so accounts.

Posted by Seriously | June 12, 2008 9:52 AM

We don't have accounts on SLOG, Seriously.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 12, 2008 11:17 AM


Hillary haters are sexist.
Obama haters are Racist.
McCain haters are Ageist.

Aren't we all a bunch of bigots and aren't they all a bunch of victims.

Geesh. Get over it.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | June 12, 2008 11:49 AM

Yeah, I hear the whole state of West Masculina, where there is only a 3.5% female population, chose Obama because they refuse to vote for a woman.

Posted by K | June 12, 2008 9:29 PM

@4: Right, it doesn't matter that she lied through her teeth repeatedly, cultivated a racist base, gleefully enjoyed the benefit of (and even encouraged) horrible character-assassinating distortions, kept company with Rush Limbaugh, ran her campaign into massive debt in a few months (great economic policy there), used the politics of fear, tried to rewrite history, and had the sincerity and compassion of a statue.

Despite all those and more perfectly gender-neutral character flaws... if we didn't hate women, we'd have voted for her. Right?

Posted by K | June 12, 2008 9:36 PM

Keith Olbermann and his entourage of media and political pugnants were OBVIOUSLY sexist.

Posted by Chris | June 13, 2008 6:56 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.