Sunday, March 2, 2008

Do I Hate All Women, or Just Hillary?

That's what an emailer asked me last week, after hearing my latest parody song, this one about the Clinton-Obama race, and seeing me opine on CBS-5 TV that the media are saying negative things about Hillary Clinton simply because there is bad news to report about her. Another asked "when will the misogyny end?" Every time we report anything negative or even mildly critical about Clinton, the newsroom phone rings off the hook and the email box fills with vitriol.

Believe it or not, folks, I don't hate women. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll laugh at the idea. Really hard. And, whether the humorless critics who get so incensed at our reporting want to accept it or not, our news coverage is not based on the gender, race, ethnicity or any other physical or innate attribute of the people we cover, unless it's germane to the story in some way.

Reporting that Hillary Clinton has lost 11 straight nominating contests, or is shaking up her staff, or is falling behind in the polls, or has gone from frontrunner to underdog, is not sexist. Any more than it is racist to report that Barack Obama has questionable ties to an indicted Chicago developer, or that Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of him makes some Jews uneasy, or that he's still a little vague on some critical policy questions and doesn't do enough interviews with the media. And yes, we have reported on these things, even though the Clinton crowd refuses to believe it.

Are the media "nicer" to Obama and harder on Clinton? I really don't think so. There are a lot of factors at play: he's a relative newcomer to politics, so there's less to pick on. She has a long, and controversial, history. He's had a remarkable streak of success and good luck the last two months, while she's had some stumbles. No one raised this issue when she was way ahead and presenting herself as the inevitable nominee. When we all did stories on how women loved her, I got no complaints. But as soon as Obama started to pull ahead, and draw massive crowds, and generate this extraordinary buzz, the nasty comments started coming. People need to step back and see the bigger picture. Have you met some of those people who hate Hillary Clinton, in an irrational, visceral way? They don't hate her because she's a woman. It's because of who she is, what she believes, or who she's married to. Most of the people who represent me in government - my City Councilperson, my County Supervisor, my Congresswoman, both of my U.S. Senators - are women. Nobody seems to resent their gender. They're all strong, powerful, outspoken women. I know them all well. Rarely do I hear anyone hate on them - well, except Barbara Boxer, some conservatives really detest her. But the point is, I think the anti-Hillary sentiment is just that - anti-Hillary. It's not misogyny. And it's not coming from the reporters who are covering this campaign, many of whom are smart, high-achieving women themselves.

In other news - and I apologize for not blogging for a little while - Ralph Nader is in again, and this time he's got former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez as his running mate (you can hear our live KCBS interview with Gonzalez here). Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote in the New York Times that he is not going to run for president. But former Atlanta Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is, and she's likely to win the Green Party nomination.

What's it all mean? It means maybe three percent of the vote siphoned off the left, which will hurt the Democratic nominee. If Clinton comes back to beat Obama, then Nader and McKinney could do even better, attracting disappointed progressives. But if Obama is the nominee, I don't think they're likely to make that big a difference. Now if the disenchanted conservatives run a fourth-party candidate, that could really hurt John McCain, but right now I just don't see who that candidate would be.

Lots of other things in the news - including the spat over Hillary's "red phone" commercial, Congressman and superdelegate John Lewis switching from Clinton to Obama, John McCain accidentally calling himself a liberal - and you can read or hear all about those on the Sovern Nation home page.

We'll be back to cover the Texas Two-Step and the Ohio showdown (poor Vermont and Rhode Island are being ignored, but I promise they won't be by me, especially since I lived in the Ocean State for six years), Tuesday night on KCBS and on the website too.


Anonymous said...

Try this, Doug: ask some of the women who accuse you of hating Hillary because of her gender how many WOMEN they know who've switched from Hillary to Obama. Out of the gate, women backed Hillary by a huge margin BECAUSE she's female. Now, everyone has at least one or two women in their circle who've bailed out on her. Why is that? Because they now hate women, too?

Anonymous said...

VIDEO: NAFTA, McCain, Clinton and Change:

ginabsf said...

I wholeheartedly agree! (from a strong, successful woman)

Anonymous said...

hey doug... nice post, but you didn't actually answer the question you posed? is it all women, or just hillary... i know how i answer!

come wednesday, its time to go fishin'

Fake Bill Clinton

Doug Sovern said...

Thank you all for your insights and humor, especially you Bill!