NY Times Is Shameless on Sexism in 2012 Song Lists

On Monday, Clay Waters noted the New York Times slanted its story on the official Mitt Romney playlist. Even his list of selected campaign-trail songs is somehow sexist: "On Romney Song List, Guys Win, 18 to 1." The Times produced no affirmative-action breakdown of the Obama list.

But last month, David Graham at the Atlantic underlined just how shameless this Times treatment was when he broke down the official Obama playlist, which also skewed very male, 19 to six: "Only six of these songs center around a female singer, while 19 have male lead singers. Four are mixed, and one is an instrumental."

Not only that, while Obama's staff picked seven country music songs, he had zero from rappers:

Number: 0

What It Says: In a shocking omission, Obama hasn't included a single rap song on his list. That's despite vocal support and occasional musical shoutouts from Jay-Z, Nas, and others; despite his own professed love for Lil Wayne; despite his invitation of Common to the White House; and despite K'Naan publicly offering the president use of his "Wavin' Flag" even as he asked Mitt Romney to stop using it. But rap is dangerous territory for a politician, liable to scare off older white voters and with lyrics often marred by casual sexism and talk of violence. After Common's appearance caused a kerfuffle, the Obama team is trying to tread carefully.

At least Chris Richards of the Washington Post noticed the hip-hop zero last month -- at the end of his Obama list summary. (It's a little funny that very pale British bands like ELO get a nod, but not the rappers.)

Richards did inspire giggles by underlining “The campaign says that all of the artists were contacted for their blessing before being included on the mix. So the president shouldn’t expect the backlash suffered by so many Republican candidates in the past.” It’s not exactly hard for liberal candidates to find friendly musicians to augment their appearances. Musical liberals would probably compete for the chance.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis