By Alexandria Boguhn, Olivia Kittel, Olivia Marshall & Lis Power at Media Matters
This year, media coverage of issues affecting women often failed badly, from trivializing sexual assault to pushing inaccurate reports on pending state abortion restrictions. Below are nine major ways the media failed women in 2014.
Blaming And Mocking Survivors Of Sexual Assault
Wash. Post‘s George Will: Being A Victim Of Sexual Assault Is A “Coveted Status.” In a June 7 syndicated column that appeared in both The Washington Post and the New York Post, Fox News contributor George Will criticized efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses. Dismissing the epidemic of sexual assault at colleges and universities as simply a ploy to “make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges,” Will criticized colleges for trying to “create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimization.” [The Washington Post, 6/6/14]
WSJ‘s Taranto: Intoxicated Sexual Assault Victims Are Just As Guilty As Their Attackers. In a February 10 column, Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto suggested that campus sexual assaults involving alcohol are actually victimless crimes in which both parties are guilty (emphasis added):
What is called the problem of “sexual assault” on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike.
If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn’t determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver’s sex. But when two drunken college students “collide,” the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.
As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, at some campuses the accuser’s having had one drink is sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt … In theory that means, as FIRE notes, that “if both parties are intoxicated during sex, they are both technically guilty of sexually assaulting each other.” In practice it means that women, but not men, are absolved of responsibility by virtue of having consumed alcohol. [The Wall Street Journal, 2/10/14]
CNN’s Don Lemon Tells Cosby Rape Accuser How She Could Have Avoided Being Raped. During the November 18 edition of CNN’s CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon and Joan Tarshis, one of the women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, discussed the allegations against the comedian. Lemon told Tarshis that “there are a lot of people who don’t believe you” and suggested that she could have avoided the assault, saying “you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it” and further suggesting “the using of the teeth.” [CNN, CNN Tonight, 11/18/14]
Rush Limbaugh: “No Means Yes If You Know How To Spot It.” On the September 15 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh mocked Ohio State University’s student conduct policy, which requires consent in sexual encounters. Reading the policy’s statement that “the absence of no does not mean yes,” Limbaugh countered by asking, “How many of you guys in your own experience with women have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it?” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/15/14]
Conservative Media Dismiss Statistics Finding High Instances Of Sexual Assault On College Campuses. Conservative media attempted to discredit statistics finding that one in five women in college will experience sexual assault during their time there after the White House issued an report in April on the administration’s strategy to protect students from sexual violence. The Daily Caller attacked the number, calling it “a bizarre and wholly false claim.” Radio host Laura Ingraham also hosted American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Summers to dispute the statistics on the April 30 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show in order to claim that “the numbers were fudged.” [Media Matters, 4/30/14]
NRO’s Dennis Prager: Campus Rape Culture Is A “Gargantuan Lie To Get Votes.” During an October 28 speech at the Restore America Rally, National Review Online’s Dennis Prager denied the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. Calling rape culture “a gargantuan lie to get votes,” Prager asserted that the real problem on campus “is a rape of the culture.” [CSPAN 2, 10/28/14]
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Mocks Sexual Assault With “RAPE!” Skit. On the May 27 edition of The Blaze TV’s The Glenn Beck Program, Stu Burguiere attempted to cast doubt on the statistic that one in five women will experience sexual assault during their lifetimes. He mocked the number with skits of sexual assault scenarios and signs declaring them to be “RAPE!” Burguiere concluded the segment by claiming that although “those situations are annoying,” calling them rape is “just absurd”:
BURGUIERE: Newsflash: I hate to say it, but it is possible to have consensual sex while drunk or high. Watch any beer commercial. What you’ll see is a bunch of hot women and good-looking dudes drinking beer with a strong insinuation that they will soon be hooking up. Yes, it’s true, it’s true. When you drink alcohol, you lose your inhibitions. That is also why you drink alcohol. If you eliminate sex while drunk or high, you eliminate about half the sex in the entire United States. But this survey was designed in a way to massively inflate the number of victims. To illustrate this point, I’ll bring in rape-expert Jeff Fisher. Here’s some questions that the study actually used to determine whether a woman was raped. Jeffy, please act these out.
BURGUIERE: Now are those things annoying? Yes. But is convincing someone to sleep with you because you’re sad, the equivalent of a sexual assault? I mean that’s just absurd. [The Blaze TV, The Glenn Beck Program, 5/27/14]
But Sexual Assaults Are Both Common And Underreported
CDC: 19 Percent Of Undergraduate Women Experienced Sexual Assault While In College. According to a 2012 fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college” and “37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between ages 18-24.” [CDC.gov, Accessed 12/22/14]
National Institute Of Justice: Women At Universities At “Particularly High Risk” For Experiencing Sexual Assault. A 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study prepared for the National Institute of Justice found that “one out of five undergraduate women experience an attempted or completed sexual assault during their college years” and that college women are “at elevated risk for sexual assault,” particularly sexual assault involving alcohol or drug consumption:
One subpopulation that is often believed to be at elevated risk for sexual assault is college students. Although methodological variation renders comparisons difficult to make, some previous studies suggest that university women are at greater risk than women of a comparable age in the general population (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; DeKeseredy & Kelly, 1993; Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987). This pattern is likely due to the close daily interaction between men and women in a range of social situations experienced in university settings (Fisher, Sloan, Cullen, & Lu, 1988), as well as frequent exposure to alcohol and other drugs.
The risk of sexual assault related to alcohol and/or other drug consumption is particularly high among university women. [The Campus Sexual Assault Study, National Institute of Justice, 12/2007]
National Institute Of Justice: More Than 95 Percent Of Rapes On College Campuses Go Unreported To Police. The National Institute of Justice estimated that “fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement officials.” The Rape, Abuse, And Incest National Network (RAINN) noted that “this is far below the rate of the general population, where about 40 percent of sexual attacks are reported to police.” [RAINN, accessed 12/19/14]
RAINN: Sexual Assault One Of The Most Underreported Crimes. According to RAINN, “Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 68% still being left unreported.” [RAINN, accessed 12/19/14]
Limbaugh: Birth Control Is “Widely Available” And “Dirt Cheap, No Matter Where You Want To Get It.” Limbaugh responded to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which granted some corporations the right to deny employees contraceptive coverage through their employer’s health plans, by proclaiming that despite the ruling, birth control would remain “widely available” for “dirt cheap, no matter where you want to get it” (emphasis added):
LIMBAUGH: Despite what many on the left are saying today, despite what you’re probably going to hear from a lot of people on the left, birth control is not what was banned by the Supreme Court. That’s not what was on the docket, so to speak. In the Hobby Lobby case, narrow though it may be, the Supreme Court, by 5-4 majority decision, defended liberty. And it should be noted that even after this decision, birth control remains widely available. It is dirt cheap, no matter where you want to go get it. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/30/14]
Fox’s Karl Rove Falsely Claims Contraceptives Cause Abortion. During the June 30 edition of America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Karl Rove falsely claimed the contraceptives at issue in the Hobby Lobby case “terminate a pregnancy.” Calling them “abortion-causing drug[s],” Rove went on to speculate that “the vast majority” of Americans don’t support requiring coverage. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/30/14]
NH Union Leader: “No Woman Is Being Denied” Basic Health Coverage Thanks To Hobby Lobby. In a July 12editorial, the New Hampshire Union Leader rejected Gov. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) claim that by denying access to some forms of contraception, women were being denied access to basic health needs and earned compensation. The paper responded to Hassan’s statement by countering that “no woman is being denied coverage of their basic health needs thanks to this decision.” [New Hampshire Union Leader, 7/12/14]
Erick Erickson: “My Religion Trumps Your ‘Right’ To Employer Subsidized Consequence Free Sex.” Praising the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby, Fox News contributor and editor-in-chief of RedState.com Erick Erickson tweeted:
But Hobby Lobby Did Infringe On Women’s Access To Full-Range Of Contraceptives
Contraceptives Are Not “One-Size-Fits All.” Conservative media quickly pointed to the availability of other types of birth control in order to claim that Hobby Lobby’s objection to certain forms (like IUDs) had not limited access to contraceptives. But health experts note that these methods are not “one-size fits all.” As the Guttmacher Institute explained, “access to full range options,” including IUDs, is “critical” to reproductive health. [Media Matters, 7/2/14]
CAP: High Costs Of Contraceptives Have Forced More Than Half Of Young Adult Women To Stop, Delay, Or Not Use Their Preferred Method As Directed. A 2012 Center for American Progress study explained that high costs “are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access,” and that “more than half of young adult women say they have not used their method as directed because it was cost-prohibitive”:
High costs have forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method, while others have chosen to depend on less effective methods that are the most affordable.
· Surveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year.
·Twenty-nine percent of women report that they have tried to save money by using their method inconsistently.
· More than half of young adult women say they have not used their method as directed because it was cost-prohibitive. [Center For American Progress, 2/15/12]
NPR: Contraceptives Are Not “The Same As The Abortion Drug.” As NPR reported, studies have shown that contraceptives such as the “morning-after pill” do not terminate pregnancy like RU-486, the drug that does cause abortion and “isn’t considered a contraceptive and isn’t covered by the new insurance requirements. [NPR, 2/21/13]
NWLC: “Employers That Exclude Women’s Preventive Health Services From Their Health Insurance Plans While Covering Men’s Preventive Services Discriminate Against Women.” In a January 28 brief on Hobby Lobby, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) explained that the Institute of Medicine found that contraceptive coverage is an important part of basic preventive health care for women. The brief reports thatcontraceptive coverage without cost sharing will make great strides for gender equality because “women disproportionately [bear] the costs of reproductive health care, and these high costs negatively affected women’s health and well-being”:
Providing contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing corrects gender gaps in the provision of health care by ensuring that women, like men, can meet their basic preventive health care needs. Before the ACA went into effect, women disproportionately bore the costs of reproductive health care, and these high costs negatively affected women’s health and well-being, as women often lacked access to or forewent necessary health care to keep costs down.
The contraception regulations address this disparity and advance equal opportunity in other aspects of women’s lives, thus improving women’s social and economic outcomes more generally.
Employers that exclude women’s preventive health services from their health insurance plans while covering men’s preventive services discriminate against women. Such exclusion means that women are denied the comprehensive preventive health coverage provided to men. Moreover, when effective contraception is not used, and unintended pregnancy results, it is women who incur the attendant physical burdens and medical risks of pregnancy, women who disproportionately bear the health care costs of pregnancy and childbirth, and women who often face barriers to employment and educational opportunities as a result of pregnancy. [Brief for the National Women’s Law Center in Support of the Government, 1/28/14]
Fox News Hides Harmful Effects Of State Attacks On Women’s Choice. On the July 15 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, host Bret Baier and correspondent Molly Henneberg framed the Women’s Health Protection Act — which would offset unnecessarily burdensome regulations on abortion clinics — as a false attempt to appeal to the Democratic base and hid the negative effect the anti-abortion restrictions have on women’s access to health care services. Henneberg also dishonestly justified the restrictions by citing the horrific crimes of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, though his crimes bear no resemblance to the legal abortions performed at clinics the restrictions target. [Fox News, Special Report, 7/15/14, 7/16/14]
Fox News Legal Analyst Includes Gosnell But Omits Facts On Texas State Abortion Law. On the October 15 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano invoked Gosnell’s crimes to defend a Texas law restricting access to abortion after the Supreme Court had stopped the law’s implementation. However, Napolitano did not mention that the law is medically unnecessary and limits women’s access to health care services. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 12/16/14]
Bill O’Reilly Suggests Senators Who Support Women’s Health Protection Act Are “Executioners.” On the July 15 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly teased a segment on the Women’s Health Protection Act by asking if the two U.S. senators who proposed it were “executioners.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 7/5/14]
Fox’s Kirsten Powers Promotes Medically Unnecessary Restrictions On Clinics. On the July 15 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Fox contributor Kirsten Powers claimed that state laws restricting access to abortion “were put in place to make abortion clinics safe” and linked the wave of state laws restricting abortion to Gosnell. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor,7/5/14]
National Review Online Attacks Wendy Davis For Speaking Out About Her “Convenient” Abortions. National Review Online attacked Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis for speaking out about her experiences with abortion, calling her description of the abortions — one of which ended a potentially life-threatening pregnancy — “convenient” and downplaying the serious health problems that can lead women to choose the procedure. In the September 9 post, NRO also challenged Davis to provide proof that her abortions were medically necessary. [National Review Online, 9/9/14]
Restrictions On Abortion Access “Medically Unnecessary” And Block Women’s Access To Health Care Services
Heightened Standards For Women’s Health Clinics Are Medically Unnecessary. Medical experts have made clear that state laws that require women’s health clinics to meet standards for “ambulatory surgical centers” and doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges are medically unnecessary and severely limit women’s access to health services. The Texas law forced more than half of the state’s abortion-providing clinics to close, and the Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said provisions of the law have no “basis in public health or safety.” [Mother Jones, 7/23/14] [Texas District American Congress of Obstetricians And Gynecologists, 7/1/13] [Media Matters, 8/4/14]
TRAP Laws Effectively Block Women’s Access To Health Services. Targeted Regulations of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws single out women’s health clinics for regulations not applied to other clinics that provide procedures with similar risks, like colonoscopies. As The New York Times editorial board explained, these laws, which purport to protect “women’s health and safety,” are “actually meant to undermine their constitutionally protected right to choose.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states have TRAP laws, and the number of states with TRAP laws has more than doubled since 2000. [The New York Times, 7/14/14] [Guttmacher Institute, 7/8/14]
Kermit Gosnell’s Crimes Bear No Resemblance To Safe, Legal Abortion Procedures. University of California reproductive health professor Tracy Weitz explained that Gosnell’s actions have “nothing to do with the way in which the standard of care and later abortion procedures are performed in the United states.” The grand jury report in Gosnell’s case said “Gosnell’s approach was simple: keep volume high, expenses low — and break the law. That was his competitive edge.” [Media Matters, 4/12/13, 4/17/13]
NH Union Leader Editorial On Gender Wage Gap: “What Complete Hooey.” A February 9 editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader attacked the idea of a gender pay gap as “complete hooey,” saying “no serious scholar believes it.” The editorial claimed women’s life choices are the biggest reason for the gap. [New Hampshire Union Leader, 2/9/14]
Fox News Host Credits Gender Wage Gap With Helping Women Keep Their Jobs. One day after national Equal Pay Day, on the April 9 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Fox Business host Melissa Francis claimed that the reason more women than men were able to keep their jobs during and after the recession is because women make less money. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 4/9/14]
Fox’s Megyn Kelly Dismisses Gender Pay Gap As A “Meme.” On the April 4 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly dismissed the gender pay gap as a “meme,” and guest Dana Loesch called it a “myth.” [Fox News, The Kelly File, 4/4/14]
Fox’s MacCallum Responds To Call For Equal Pay: Most Women Don’t Want “A Little Special Handout.” On the January 29 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum undermined the importance of equal pay for women, framing it as “a little special handout.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/29/14]
O’Reilly Dismisses Existence Of Gender Wage Gap, Then Attributes It To “Emotional Differences.” O’Reilly repeatedly dismissed the existence of the gender wage gap in 2014. On the January 15 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, he questioned the point of highlighting the gender pay gap. On February 27, he said, “I’m not buying this inequality business,” and dismissed pay inequality as a mere political maneuver, calling it “not a reality.” On September 26, O’Reilly claimed that statistics that purport to illuminate pay inequality are not accurate because they don’t include “the emotional difference between men and women.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 1/15/14, 2/27/14, 9/26/14]
Gender Wage Gap Plagues Women At All Career Stages, In All Industries, And Regardless Of Personal Choice
World Economic Forum Ranks U.S. 65th In World For Gender Pay Equality. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum examining gender equality across the world, the United States ranks 65th in its survey of 142 countries and earns a wage equality score of only 66 percent — meaning women earn only two-thirds of what men earn for similar work. [World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report, October 2014] [Media Matters, 10/29/14]
Gender Wage Gap Persists Throughout Life, In All Occupations, And Regardless Of Personal Choice. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women in 2013 were paid just 82 percent of what men were paid only one year out of college. The AAUW also found that lifetime gender wage disparities cannot be fully explained by personal choice. Furthermore, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research said in a 2012 report, “Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women.” [American Association of University Women, Fall 2014] [Institute for Women’s Policy Research, April 2012]
“Let Men Be Men”: Fox News Hosts Defend Catcalling. While discussing a New York Post opinion article on the August 28 edition of Outnumbered, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle brushed off the harmful impact of widespread street harassment by saying “let men be men.” Fox contributor Arthur Aidala then re-enacted his signature “move,” a slow clap aimed at women walked down the street. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 8/28/14 via Media Matters]
Fox News Defends Street Harassment In Video As “Nothing Disrespectful.” After Hollaback, an organization aiming to stop street harassment and intimidation, released a video of a woman being harassed over 100 times while walking through New York City, The Five host Eric Bolling claimed that “nothing was disrespectful there” and that it was “very complimentary.” Host Bob Beckel added his own catcall, saying, “Damn, baby, you’re a piece of woman.” [Fox News, The Five, 10/29/14 via Media Matters]
Limbaugh Calls Street Harassment In Video “Men Being Polite.” While reacting to Hollaback’s video on street harassment during the October 30 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed he didn’t see any “real rotten conduct by the guys.” He went on to say that “most of it was just men being polite.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/30/14 via Media Matters]
Fox Host Claims Girls “Provoked” Harassment By Wearing Leggings. During the May 9 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of Fox News’ “Medical A-Team,” claimed that harassment that female students experienced while wearing leggings was “certainly provoked.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 5/9/14 via Media Matters]
Harassment Can Cause Emotional And Psychological Harm
Street Harassment Has A Harmful Psychological Toll: A study conducted by Stop Street Harassment, a nonprofit group, noted that street harassment was “positively related to women objectifying themselves,” which has been linked to “an increase in rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.” The study also noted that it “causes many harassed persons, especially women, to feel less safe in public places.” [Stop Street Harassment, accessed 12/17/14]
WND Writer Blames Feminism For Domestic Abuse. In a September article headlined “Have You Thanked A Feminist For Your Abuse?” the writer, who was discussing the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, argued that “feminists have not done women a favor” when it comes to domestic abuse. [WND, 9/14/14]
Outnumbered Hosts Blame Feminism For Boys Underperforming In School. During the April 30 edition of Outnumbered, a segment that started by pointing out that girls were outperforming boys in school led to the hosts blaming feminism for boys underperforming. Host Andrea Tantaros’ comment that “a lot of feminism is to blame for this” was met with a chorus of “yes” from her co-hosts. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 4/30/14 via Media Matters]
Fox & Friends Sunday Blames Feminism For Trying To End Father’s Day. On the June 15 edition of Fox & Friends Sunday host Tucker Carlson claimed that the hoax hashtag #EndFathersDay was “picking up steam with feminists online.” Guest Susan Patton said feminists aren’t “just interested in ending Father’s Day, they’re interested in ending men.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 6/15/14, via Raw Story]
Bill O’Reilly: “There’s Got To Be Some Downside To Having A Woman President.” During a panel discussion on whether the country is ready for a female president on the February 26 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly suggested that “there’s got to be some downside to having a woman president.” O’Reilly went on to ask, “Something that may not fit with that office, correct?” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/26/14]
Fox Host: The “One” Rationale For Hillary Clinton Presidency Is “That She’s A Woman.” In a discussion of the 2016 presidential election on the December 15 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Pete Hegseth asked, “What is the rationale for a Hillary Clinton presidency?” He answered: “It’s been one thing: That she’s a woman.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 12/15/14]
Right-Wing Media Attack Hillary Clinton Over Her Age. Right-wing media have continually attacked Hillary Clinton’s age to suggest she is unfit to be president. During the April 22 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, guest host and Fox News contributor Erick Erikson said that Clinton “is going to be old” in 2016 and that he did not know “how far back they can pull her face.” After Clinton appeared on the cover of People in June, conservative media launched another series of attacks on her age, suggesting that the photo showed Clinton “holding a walker.” By October, the conversation had turned to Clinton’s role as a grandmother, and Fox host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Clinton identifying herself as a grandmother could hurt Clinton in a campaign against an energetic “42-year-old.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/22/14; Media Matters, 6/4/14; Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/3/14]
Limbaugh Calls Sen. Mary Landrieu “Cute Little Baby Fat.” During the October 31 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh said his nickname for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is “‘Cute Little Baby Fat’ because she still looks like she’s got some baby fat.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/31/14]
Conservative Media Target Sandra Fluke With Sexist Mockery. After Sandra Fluke filed with the California State Democratic Party to seek endorsement for retiring Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) seat, conservative media responded with a series of sexist attacks mocking her. The Daily Caller reported on Fluke’s run by writing that Fluke “Goes with Plan B,” and the Media Research Center’s Matt Philbin responded by suggesting a sexist campaign slogan:
[Media Matters, 2/5/14]
Georgia Gang Pundit Dismisses Senate Candidate As A “Female Airhead.” On the October 5 edition of Fox Atlanta’s The Georgia Gang, pundit and anti-immigration activist Phil Kent attacked Senate candidate Michelle Nunn as a “female airhead” and said she is “absolutely unqualified on foreign policy.” Kent refused to apologize after a co-panelist called on him to do so for the “offensive” remark. [Fox Atlanta, The Georgia Gang, 10/7/14]
Sexist Coverage Harms Female Candidates Regardless Of Their Qualifications
Sexist Coverage Of Female Politicians Diminishes Votes Regardless Of Candidates’ Qualifications. According to a 2013 survey by Name It. Change It., sexist coverage of female politicians diminishes support among voters. In fact, when media cover a female candidate’s appearance, she loses ground in the polls, regardless of “whether the coverage of a woman candidate’s appearance was framed positively, negatively or in neutral terms.” A second survey found that “sexist coverage further diminishes her vote and the perception that she is qualified.” [Name It. Change It., 4/8/13] [Media Matters, 5/28/14]
Fox’s Jesse Watters: Single Women Are “Beyonce Voters” Who “Depend On Government Because They’re Not Depending On Their Husbands.” On the July 1 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, guest co-host Jesse Watters called single women voters “Beyonce voters,” saying that “they depend on government, because they’re not depending on their husbands.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/1/14]
Fox’s Tucker Carlson: ” You Want Your Government Run By People Whose Favorite Show Is Say Yes To The Dress?” During the October 2 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, Tucker Carlson criticized a Republican campaign to encourage young women to vote Republican by asking whether or not the young women targeted by the ad should vote at all:
CARLSON: I don’t think as a general matter you should be encouraging people who don’t know anything about what they’re voting for to vote. That’s what the Democrats do, giving Newports to the homeless to get them to the polls. That’s literally true. Republicans shouldn’t follow suit on that. You shouldn’t pander to people. Tell us what the candidates are for, what they’re against. Attack the other guy, that’s fair too. I’m all for attack ads. But, you know, you’re targeting people — you’re targeting people who are watching Say Yes [To The Dress]? You want your government run by people whose favorite show is Say Yes [To The Dress]? [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/2/14]
NRO Offers Five Reasons Young Women “Are Too Dumb To Vote.” In a September 28 post challenging actress and writer Lena Dunham for encouraging young women to vote, NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson provided his “Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb To Vote.” Calling voting a “shallow gesture of citizenship” that women use to say “I want,” Williamson urged those who do not agree with his political values to not vote at all:
I would like to suggest, as gently as I can, that if you are voting as an act of self-gratification, if you do not understand the role that voting in fact plays in a constitutional republic, and if you need Lena Dunham to tell you why and how you should be voting — you should not vote. If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election, and there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business. [National Review Online, 9/29/14]
Fox’s Harris Faulkner: Do We Want Young People To Vote “If They Don’t Know The Issues?” On the October 8 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Harris Faulkner responded to Rock The Vote’s #TurnOutForWhat campaign by questioning whether or not young people should vote “if they don’t know the issues.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/8/14]