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Category: Politics, Media, Media Monitoring

ACTION ALERT: Report Sexist Coverage of Rep. Weiner Scandal

| June 7, 2011

In light of the breaking news surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s admission of having online extramarital relationships, the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover this story productively.

Stories of assault, adultery, and sexual misconduct from high profile male politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have garnered much media attention in the past weeks. In each of these stories, the women involved bore the brunt of media coverage on the wrongdoings of male leaders.

Since the story on Anthony Weiner’s photo tweets broke last week, media immediately began delving into the identity and other personal details of the women allegedly involved.

And already since Rep. Weiner’s admission yesterday, some harmful media coverage has turned to the women. Last night on MSNBC, Chris Matthews said of Rep. Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin: “Maybe she’s partly responsible.”

Placing blame on women, and outing lurid details of women involved in this issue hurts those women because it places them in a negative spotlight they do not deserve, just as excessive prying into Rep. Weiner’s personal life is also unproductive.  As the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover the latest news about Rep. Weiner story in a fair and unbiased fashion, we ask you to be our eyes and ears. If you spot sexist coverage of the Weiner story, tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or report it on our website.

Even more importantly, media should focus their scrutiny and concern on our current cultural and political climate, and delve into why certain high powered male leaders use their positions of power to access women sexually — instead of obsessing on harmful, irrelevant personal details of the women and leaders involved. Media has the power to lead the conversation on these issues in a responsible manner.  And we’re here to remind them of their power and responsibility!

Thanks for all you do,

The Women’s Media Center

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