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Category: Politics, Media Monitoring

“Boston Herald” vs. Elizabeth Warren: “The Nation” Asks, Will Sexism Win or Lose?

August 2, 2012

At The Nation's blog today, Greg Mitchell observes a troubling expansion of the Boston Herald's tendency to skip any analysis of Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's record or her positions on the issues in favor of ad-feminem gender baiting. What began as columnist Howie Carr's coinage of the derogatory nickname "Granny" to refer to Warren—a witticism with which Carr is so self-pleased, he's used it another fifteen times since—has now spread to multiple columnists, and even the news pages.

Mitchell quotes Women's Media Center's Name It. Change It. project's blog:

Since her debut in the political arena, Elizabeth Warren has been a lightning rod for media attention from both supporters and oppenents. However, there comes a time when it is vital to draw distinctions between the legitimate commentary she receives based on her politics and the repeated attacks launched against her because of her age and gender.

However, Mitchell suggests that if the Herald thinks it's hurting Warren's candidacy, it may be barking up the wrong tree:

But sexism, indeed, might work in Warren's favor, given the usual breakdown of voters in the state, meaning more than half are women.  Far more effective will be constructing a class divide, which the Herald works even harder at.

We would like to think that the Herald's sexism would backfire but we have yet to see any evidence that it does anything but make everyone involved look bad. This is why calling out sexism, and making it recognizable as such, is so important.

Read Mitchell's full column at The Nation's blog, and for more media monitoring of sexist coverage of female political candidates, visit the Name It. Change It. site.