Since the Press Says Hillary Shouldn’t Raise Her Voice, I WILL

Today, Media Matters for America released our comprehensive guide regarding sexist media coverage of Hillary Clinton during her 2008 campaign. Eight years after this disappointing experience, I had hoped that sexist tropes in Clinton coverage would not be repeated. But this week we realized that the media still have not learned the ugly lessons of 2008.

  • On Wednesday, Bob Woodward said on Morning Joe that Hillary “shouts,” that there is “something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating.” The Morning Joe cast immediately piled on, with Joe Scarborough offering up the conservative icon Ronald Reagan as an example of someone who just used a microphone better.
  • Then, during last night’s Democratic Debate, the editor-in-chief of The Hill tweeted, “When Hillary Clinton raises her voice, she loses.”
  • And this morning, in its post-debate analysis, the New York Times wrote that Hillary was “tense,” “angry,” and “sensitive” — while Sanders “kept his cool” (as pointed out by Greg Sargent).

Since the media tell Hillary Clinton not to raise her voice, I WILL.

It is an outrage that Donald Trump can swear and scream on national television and no one says boo about how he presents himself.

It is an outrage that pundits say Sen. Sanders “rails” on certain issues while Hillary is just “shrill” on whatever she talks about.

And it’s an outrage that we’re even talking about this when President Obama and Sen. John McCain — and President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, and President Clinton and Sen. Bob Dole — got to talk about the issues.

To be fair, we saw this coming.

As I wrote in Killing The Messenger:

“…while most Americans would probably recoil from the kind of grotesque attacks you can find if you wander into the fever swamps of the far right, many will see cable TV hosts and newspaper columnists refer to Hillary’s coldness or calculating nature without a second thought as to the root of such stereotypes. They’ll come to accept it as an article of faith that Hillary is overly ambitious, even though no one is saying that about the men who are running for president with far thinner resumes.”

Whether it was the Washington Post publishing a full story on Hillary’s cleavage in 2007 or Politico speculating that she might not run in 2016 because her first grandchild was on the way (when not one of Mitt Romney’s 18 grandchildren prevented him from running), sexism has followed Hillary Clinton for her entire public life.

If we want a president to tackle the biggest issues of our time — income inequality, rising healthcare costs, climate change, an opiate epidemic — then we must call out these ugly clichés. We have an election to win and lives to change. This kind of analysis by innuendo has no place in our politics.