A duo of female reporters for Politico are convinced that the rest of us are ignoring the real meaning in the Massachusetts race: “a glass ceiling that remains almost impenetrable, even in the blue state of Massachusetts.” You see, there’s a devious “double standard that some longtime women’s advocates see in the success of Republican Scott Brown, whose college-aged centerfold and lesser professional success didn’t prevent him from capturing Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat from the Democrats.” And this cursed sexism really just exists in Massachusetts, mind you. Sexism is no problem in “nearby Maine, where both senators are women.”
Oh, puhleez. This sort of woe is me/her is getting old. The indifference to all other political facts and phenomena in order to play the gender victim card is tiresome. There is of course no real evidence of this sexism. Nor does anyone think Coakley actually deserved to win. In fact, the reporters say that Coakley’s gender worked to her advantage in the primary and that gender really didn’t come up in the race. The best the duo can come up with is one female Boston Herald columnist who made some cracks, a Teamster boss who wouldn’t vote “for a broad,” one crude comment by someone in the crowd at one Brown rally, and some Internet commenters. That’s it.
There are plenty of legitimate theories to explain the results in Massachusetts. Sexism isn’t one of them, however. The reporters only embarrass themselves and their publication by crying sexism with nothing to back it up. It’s the Keith Olbermann style of “news” — non-news really. Olbermann last night pretended to apologize for calling Scott Brown “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” He added: “I’m sorry I left out the word ‘sexist.’” He then simply dared his audience to disprove his baseless slurs.
This seems now to be the operating standard for much of what passes for “journalism” — make a slur, repeat it, offer no proof, and challenge the targets to defend themselves. We’ve come to expect that of MSNBC, but MSNBC’s less loony journalistic colleagues should resist the temptation to follow in the netroot network’s footsteps.