In the latest version of The Hoot, we get treated to this kind of thinking:
It’s a legitimate concern to consider how the United States is perceived by the rest of the world and it’s a legitimate desire to have the leader of our country be someone who is PR-friendly. After all, regardless of whom we elect president, he/she will have his/her share of mistakes and it is the media that will reign over how colossal or mild their transgressions are. But, this isn’t to say that a presidential candidate can’t overcome their lack of PR luster. After all, we did elect Nixon—twice.
I disagree with the premise of this editorial. It’s not a sophisticated PR shop that allows St. McCain to be the darling of the D.C. Press: it’s his relationship with the reporters who cover him. In 2000, the reporters covering Al Gore infamously hated him. This led to the establishment of some journalistic frames of thinking about Al – (He’s too wooden, a serial
exxaggerator, etc) that, regardless of their inherit truthfulness, served to perpetually shape how he was covered.
And remember, the Giuliani myth was predicated on him having a good PR team on 9/11. Truth is, he made corrupt and horrible choices that got men killed that day. He got away with it for 6 years before people started taking notice.
Marianna Faynshteyn may not be conscious of it, but what she advocates is letting the beltway press choose our president for us. I don’t think that’s a good idea.
Earlier in the piece she writes:
The answer is, we’re not supposed to like her. Most of us could probably imagine Hilary in high school and it would be much like Couric’s perception: “You were the girl who sat in the front row and took meticulous notes and raised her hand all the time.” In our minds, that’s who Hilary is. But, and here’s where the conflict comes in, is this wrong?
Now, this isn’t a knock on Marianna, because she’s quoting Katie Couric (a horrible ‘investigative’ reporter), but what’s with the obsession with comparing politics to high school? You see it all over the opinion pages.
Lastly, there’s a discussion online about misogyny and racism in the press, etc. First off, Chris Matthews is a sexist loser. That being said, I found a really interesting rant quoted in Jack and Jill politics (really interesting blog, by the way). Here are a few excerpts:
Tell me, what would happen if Obama went on a tirade against Hillary, like she’s done over the weekend??? What would happen if he (gasp) raised his voice to this white woman? What would happen if he spent all of his time talking about the “white man,” the way Hillary talks about the “boys club?”
I can’t make this any clearer. Obama has to RUN AWAY from issues of race for fear of being labled the “black candidate.” It’s the only way he can win. Yet, Hillary gets to embrace “girl power” in ways Obama could NEVER embrace “black power.” Now you’ve got Tina Fey saying “Bi*ch is the new black.” WTF does that mean?
(Full quote here.)
Well I really hate to get into a “what’s worse? Sexism or Racism” pissing match. However, I do think that the commenter makes a good point. What if Obama started talking about “the white man?” He’d have been marginalized like that. Yet I do feel that modern society today is much more accepting to misogynistic remarks than racist ones. At least, talking heads on television feel much freer in that regard. Where does that leave us? I guess sexism and racism are … different. They manifest themselves in different ways so that a discussion of “which is worse” compares apples to oranges.
And let’s not forget the school of thought that says that gender, religious, and racial divides are abused to distract us from class gaps. That isn’t to say that the various -isms aren’t wrong just that when we’re focused on defeating racism, denouncing American Theocracy, and promoting Feminism, we’re too busy to take on economic inequality.