ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



May 2008



Media. Lame

Written by , Posted in Feminism

Well, it’s an interesting day for media.  

First off, Fox News. Well, Fox News and the media. And the folks who control and reward the media.

Have you heard about Barry Nolan? He was fired from his TV news job. He did something CRAZY. Insane. I can’t believe anyone could have done anything so horrendous. Seriously, you won’t believe what he did. You ready?

He protested Bill O’Reilly being awarded the Governor’s Award at the Emmy’s. The Governor’s Award exists to “recognize outstanding achievements in the television industry. The feats and commitment of [Governor’s Award Recipients] are extraordinary and unique, falling beyond the scope of our annual awards.” Sadly, I don’t think being woefully ignorant and narcissistic makes for an extraordinary or unique person these days.

Barry Nolan was (rightfully) shocked and wrote to his colleagues in protest when he learned that this supposed honor would be bestowed on such an undeserving person. They demurred. So guess what he did? He compiled a sampling of some of the absurd and inaccurate rantings Mr. O’Reilly has foisted upon the world and distributed copies at the Emmy ceremony. 

And he was fired.

Now, a reporter becoming the story can be unappealing. Anderson Cooper turned his outrage at the Katrina Response into the Anderson Cooper hour. But I have to say that I think this was an appropriate protest. It was clever, it was not disruptive (he didn’t storm the stage, or even yell ‘boo’ when O’Reilly went on stage), and the comments he reproduced spoke for themselves.


The other issue I wanted to bring up today is the Women’s Media Center’s new campaign “Sexism Might Sell, But I’m Not Buying It.”  They are shining a light on an issue that, unfortunately, has been pretty prevalent this campaign season: sexism in the media.

I’m not a huge Hillary Clinton fan, but I do think she’s been an effective Senator representing my interests. Nonetheless, I voted for Obama in the primary, and hope to have the chance to vote for a winning presidential candidate for the first time when I vote for him again in November.

But the thing is, I don’t dislike her because she’s a woman. And I do think that she has been treated unfairly by the media. Her appearance (Cleavage? On a woman? THE HORROR), her voice (Oh, she reminds men of their nagging wives. Clearly she’s not qualified to lead the country), and even her ability to bear children (God forbid someone with PMS has their finger on the big red button) have all been used as fodder for those who can’t keep their sexism under wraps.

I find it disgusting that I live in a city that has yet to have a female mayor, in a state that hasn’t had a female governor, in a country that hasn’t had a female president. 52% of the folks in the country are female – 16% of our members of congress are as well.

Why is that? Is it because women have the integrity to not just vote for a woman because she’s a woman, while there are plenty of men who will not vote for a woman because she’s a woman? Or is that me just being sexist toward men? Is it because women don’t have as much money, or are busy having children, or are doing things to help others in different ways? Should I be concerned if men are underrepresented in some fields?

I don’t know the answer to general under-representation of women in positions of power and influence. But I do know that it makes me mad. I suppose I could run for office, although I don’t think I’d really like it.

I hope you’ll check out the Women’s Media Center video that shows some of the more painfully egregious sexist comments from this campaign season.

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