CNN Pushes False Narrative that Female Dems Get Sexist Media Treatment

Thursday afternoon, a CNN panel rehashed the media’s already tired complaint that female candidates face a sexist standard that their male opponents, do not: Their “likability” with the media. Inside Politics host John King and his guests praised a Marie Claire interview where several of these Democrat women running in 2020 complained about the sexist questions they get asked, as they touted Hillary Clinton for paving the way for these women.

King began by praising the Democrat party’s diversity, before playing a video clip of Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sharing the sexist questions they’ve been asked, that a man would never get asked:

WARREN: One question I've heard is with a woman win? But I've never heard anyone ask a guy, can a man win?

GABBARD: Are you tough enough? Can you handle the heat?

HARRIS: Speak to us about women's issues, my response is usually, I'm so glad you'd like to talk about women's issues, so let's talk about the economy.

GILLIBRAND: How do you balance your family life and your work life?

Afterwards, White House correspondent Abby Phillip praised Hillary Clinton for taking helping these candidates by “taking arrows the last time around: "I think in some ways Hillary Clinton may have helped them with that by being that person who took all the arrows the last time around, and now they can kind of share it, and they don't all get to be weighed down by it," she touted.

Panelist Lisa Lerer also praised Clinton as being the “only serious woman candidate” to make it to the presidential level, (did she forget Carly Fiorina?) while touting this slew of female candidates on the left as “good for the country.” But Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur crushed the hopeful tone of the female panelists, griping that men “never get asked” if they are likable:

Another question women have to deal with all the time that men don’t is the likability one. Men never get asked this question. Women do. It's often sexist. It has to do with the fact that ambitious women make a lot of men uncomfortable. And if you're talking presidential candidates,, you're probably very ambitious.

Lerer agreed: “Yeah there is a lot of research backing that up, too. That definitely is a real thing. To have unlikable women, that's a good thing, right?” she gushed.

This narrative that women face a “likability” standard men don’t, is just plain false. To see just how wrong this is, see the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto’s takedown, showing an abundance of articles where Republican male presidents and candidates were questioned for their “likability” by the media.

Furthermore, candidate Donald Trump was frequently criticized by the media as a “mean boss,” a complaint the media recently brought up as “sexist” with Amy Klobuchar.

To read the full transcript, click expand:

JOHN KING: One of the great things about the campaign so far is the historically diverse democratic field. That’s not taking sides with the Democrats, it’s just nice to see the diversity out there running, including a handful of women who did a photo spread, an interview spread with Marie Claire magazine and they were asked, the candidates were asked, what do you get asked as a woman candidate that the men don't get asked?

WARREN: One question I've heard is with a woman win? But I've never heard anyone ask a guy, can a man win?

GABBARD: Are you tough enough? Can you handle the heat?

HARRIS: Speak to us about women's issues, my response is usually, I'm so glad you'd like to talk about women's issues, so let's talk about the economy.

GILLIBRAND: How do you balance your family life and your work life?

JOHN KING: It is interesting to watch after -- you know, there is a lot of criticism of the media, a lot of questions last time when you had Hillary Clinton running. One woman candidate against Donald Trump. In this field, this is going to be fascinating to watch it play out.

ABBY PHILLIP: Yeah, and I think it's different for that exact reason. Last time around, it was Hillary Clinton. And she became the repository for all of these various concerns about female candidates, some of which are actually very real, that if you talk to pollsters, there is something out there about why some voters don't want to vote for women candidates. This time around there is so many of them, and they can all talk about these issues so it doesn't get focused on any one of them.

In some ways it can diminish their importance, which I think many of them would actually appreciate, that what you're hearing from these candidates is, let's not talk about necessarily the fact that I'm a woman, let's talk about what I'm running on, which is the economy or health care or whatever, and some of those issues like paid family leave for Kirsten Gillibrand and sexual assault in the military are issues that they championed themselves, but that's not the entirety of their candidacy. I think in some ways Hillary Clinton may have helped them with that by being that person who took all the arrows the last time around, and now they can kind of share it, and they don't all get to be weighed down by it.

CATHERINE LUCEY: You're also seeing -- there are so many women, and as Abby said it isn't the first time around. You're seeing women make different choices about how they run, which I think is interesting. There is a range of issues, obviously, that they're talking about, but even some of the tactics, one of our reporters went to dinner at Kirsten Gillibrand's house and she talked to her about her family agenda and paid leave. That's not something you might not have see in the past from a male candidate running. They're maybe trying to experiment, use different tactics. I think we’ll see more of that as the race goes on.

LISA LERER: This is just very good for the country, objectively, to have so many women running, because what you're showing the country is women can run in all different ways. As you pointed out, we just haven't seen that in a very long time. Hillary Clinton was the one and only woman that made it to the level of, really, a serious presidential candidate. And she had one way of doing things. So by showing that diversity of styles and of campaigning, you are sort of getting the country, getting voters more and more accustomed to this idea that women can break this highest glass ceiling of president.

CATHERINE LUCEY:I feel like there’s set pieces about candidates hobbies or interests. Maybe we will see some different things this time. I think Hillary Clinton struggled with people saying, oh, your hobbies are yoga and you talk about your grandkids. Maybe we’re moving past some of that being unusual.

SAHIL KAPUR: Another question women have to deal with all the time that men don’t is the likability one. Men never get asked this question. Women do. It's often sexist. It has to do with the fact that ambitious women make a lot of men uncomfortable. And if you're talking presidential candidates,, you're probably very ambitious.

LISA LERER: Yeah there is a lot of research backing that up, too. That definitely is a real thing. To have unlikable women, that's a good thing, right?


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