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Posted by on Aug 24, 2010 in At TMV | 0 comments

Two Female Candidates Plus Two New York Papers Equals One Obvious Example Of Right And Wrong

I’ve written before about how exactly do women use whatever positive attributes, as women, we have on the campaign trail, especially given that there are three or four generations of women around to vote and they definitely don’t all view female politicians and campaigning as a woman in the same way. But now the New York Times has really conflated the coverage of women politicians and still somehow managed to ignore what does matter in a political competition in, “Blazing Campaign Trails in a Certain 3-Inch Heel.”

Folks: Women politicians can be covered for fashion – in the fashion section and at the same rate that men politicians are covered for fashion. I would never deny that fashion is something candidates – male or female – think about.

But women politicians should be covered by the media for their issues and character and leadership abilities, based on their experiences, accomplishments and vision for how they’ll fulfill expectations in public office should they win. Exactly as men politicians.

It’s beyond the pale now: there is no question that the NYT did this story to get up hackles and in the end, throw serious political reportage of women candidates under the bus. It’s an inexcusable dog and pony show for readers and frankly, if I were that candidate, I would have demanded a different article.

Now – lest I be picked on for saying that a woman politician should be able to choose being portrayed anyway she wants, fine.

BUT I would then ask: was she given a choice? Did the Times say to her: we can either do a fashion piece on you and connect shoes to women running for office, or we can do a piece on how you and Maloney differ and what you bring to the table that she doesn’t. Which would you like?

I highly doubt it. It’s more likely: if you want media coverage, this is what we can do. Take it or leave it.

Utterly gratuitous:

Those hip heels run the risk of undercutting Ms. Saujani’s credibility with the people she needs to convince of her gravitas (a wedge issue, even?).

They don’t run the risk of undercutting her credibility if you the media don’t keep suggesting that it matters. Let her wear heels and get on with running her race. And then cover her actual competition with Maloney.

Ugh.

There women are running to represent PEOPLE, in CONGRESS, for REAL. This is what the NYT thinks is really going to help voters decide!?!? With all the moaning about how few pages there are in a paper these days and the short attention span, this is the best they can do for a young political ambition taking on a heavy-duty incumbent?

Double ugh.

For the record, here’s Reshma’s campaign website and here’s Maloney’s.

You can think I’m full of it but today’s New York Daily News coverage of this race shows exactly how it’s done as it publishes a FAR more newsworthy take on the rivalry between these two candidates for the Democratic primary (Sept. 14) nod in, “Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney, challenger Reshma Saujani question each other’s mosque support.”

Now, if I were a voter, that would have information in it that I’d care about and would be glad the media is publishing.

UPDATE: Also worth reading on this very topic, Jill at Feministe.us’s take on same is here.

Second update: Just search on “reshma saujani” under Google News or Blogs and see how much serious coverage there is. It makes the NYT’s coverage look even worse.

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