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Cokie Roberts Calls Out Sexism Against Palin

April 1, 2010

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="197" caption="Cokie Roberts"][/caption] (H/T Think Progress.) In an NPR interview yesterday, Senior News Analyst Cokie Roberts discussed a panel she moderated with Senators including Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).  Along with a conversation about why women in Congress are less likely than men to get involved in sex scandals – Gillibrand and Hutchison argued that women are too busy doing their jobs to have affairs – Roberts took advantage of the national broadcast to call out sexism in the media. She played a clip from the Don Imus show, in which Fox host Chris Wallace and Imus joked about whether or not Sarah Palin would be sitting on Wallace's lap during her "Fox News Sunday" interview. Mincing no words, Roberts called remarks "appalling": "You know, it’s the last place that men feel that they can just make jokes," she said. "They would never make such jokes about a minority, you’d be in terrible trouble. But you can still make sexist jokes about women and get away with it." Cokie Roberts, THANK YOU. It's your example, and other high-profile consequences for misogyny, that give women – and if I can speak for a generation, young women particularly – the confidence to speak up when they know they've heard something sexist. Or seen it. Or felt it. As Katie Couric said, "Sexism in the American society is more common than racism, and certainly more acceptable or forgivable." And that is, in part, because not enough of us are as willing as Roberts is to call it out publicly when it happens. Keeping quiet tells Imus, Wallace, and others that sexism is no big deal. Sure, joke about a former Vice Presidential candidate sitting on your lap. Whatever, it’s cool. Women's Media Center has spoken out against Imus in the past, particularly as an early and vocal opponent against his now-infamous and offensive remarks about the Rutgers basketball team. Join us, along with Roberts and Couric, in combating sexism in the media. Hear something that needs attention? Tell us.

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