Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi publicized the latest feminist lament that “a new analysis of campaign coverage found that women aren’t even the principal news source on a topic they would presumably know best: women’s issues.”
That apparently means sexual issues: “Major news outlets, print and TV, turn mainly to male sources for their take on abortion, birth control and Planned Parenthood, according to a study by 4th Estate, a research group that monitors campaign coverage.” Farhi turned to "women's groups" for comment -- just one kind of women.
The notion that abortion or birth control should be defined as “women’s issues” strangely ignores that women can’t get pregnant or feel the need to use contraceptives without having intercourse with men. It also ignores that roughly half of the aborted babies are boys.
The 4th Estate study “analyzed about 50,000 quotes from 35 print sources, such as The Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today, and the transcripts of 11 network news programs over the past six months.” In the fine print, you find it’s a “sample of” news stories, not a complete study.
They suggested men were the sources of 81 percent of the quotes in abortion stories, 75 percent of birth-control stories, and 67 percent of stories on Planned Parenthood. It didn’t matter if the men were radical feminists, only that they were male.
Farhi seemed embarrassed that someone at the Post decided that this story on women’s lack of presence in the media was assigned to a man:
Michael Howe, a spokesman for 4th Estate, said his group’s findings suggest that reporters might have “an unconscious bias” when it comes to selecting people who offer expertise and opinions about the news. “The thinking [among reporters] may be that men have more authority on a topic than women do,” he said.
(Yes, I — a man — consulted another man for his opinion on why women’s views aren’t sought out by media types on women’s issues).
Obviously, the same 4th Estate group that’s charging sexism sent out a man to be the talking head. So why blame the media when you can blame the source groups themselves? Did they break the study down to find if and how women reporters and producers choose more males to talk?
What’s a little ridiculous is that this whole story on alleged media one-sidedness only consults the feminist spinners – from Michael Howe to Terry O’Neill of NOW to Julie Burton of the Women’s Media Center.
The headline on the front page of the Style section was “Sources on women’s issues? Men.” Under a picture of NOW boss O’Neill, the caption read “UNNOTICED: NOW President Terry O’Neill says there are not enough women in decision-making roles.” That's funny. It's the conservatives that went "unnoticed" in this piece.
Inside, the headline was “Men expound on issues women may know best.” The Post insured there would be reverse sexism on both pages.