The only female anchor of a broadcast nightly newscast has catapulted a conversation about sexism onto the front page. Katie Couric’s Reporter’s Notebook on Wednesday accelerated a discussion that is, today, the focus of a NYTimes story about the media’s coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and whether some of that coverage was overtly sexist.
Cable television has come under the most criticism. Chris Matthews, a host on MSNBC, called Mrs. Clinton a “she-devil” and said she had gotten as far as she had only because her husband had “messed around.”
“I get it, that in this 24-hour media world, you’ve got to be on your game and there’s very little room for mistakes,” said MSNBC exec in charge Phil Griffin. “But the Clinton campaign saw an opportunity to use it for their advantage. They were trying to rally a certain demographic, and women were behind it.”
Griffin’s star anchor, Keith Olbermann also points the finger back at the campaign…
Any suggestion that MSNBC “was somehow out to ‘get’ Senator Clinton is false and unfair,” Mr. Olbermann wrote in an e-mail message. “We became a whipping boy.”
He said that after Feb. 5, when Mrs. Clinton went on a losing streak, her campaign strategy was to blame the news media, which he said was “its only fuel.”
Still, he said, there was “constant reflection and analysis at MSNBC, and I must say there was constant good faith in trying to make certain Senator Clinton was not treated unfairly.”
The Times story also quotes CNN’s Candy Crowley who did not see sexism in the daily reporting, “but I certainly did see it in the commentary.” She adds, “It was hard to know if these attacks were being made because she was a woman or because she was this woman or because, for a long time, she was the front-runner.”