Where Were You 6 Months Ago, Katie?

by Gloria Feldt on June 12th, 2008
in Media and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

So now that Hillary Clinton has lost her bid to be the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for president,  Katie Couric has decided to speak out. My my. What a profile in courage.

Watch the video teaser and read more here on Huffington Post.

“One of the great lessons of [Hillary Clinton’s] campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media….It isn’t just Hillary Clinton who needs to learn a lesson from this primary season — it’s all the people who crossed the line, and all the women and men who let them get away with it,” says Katie. Well, yeahhhhh!

Not that I don’t appreciate her speaking truth to power now–I really do–but where was she six months ago? It’s not like the rampant and unchecked media sexism was just discovered. In fact, Katie herself has experienced more than a little of it. And now Keith Olberman has dubbed her the “Worst Person in the World” for her report. I hope she has the strength to stand up to abuse like this, now that she has at last started the conversation we should have had a long time ago.

She’s being helped by several new reports and organizing efforts, including the Women’s Media Center and Media Matters’ new campaign Sexism May Sell, but We’re not Buying It. You can Watch the video on my “On Media” page to learn more. And NOW has it’s own Media Hall of Shame.

As the dust settles and America moves forward toward the general election, there is hardly a question that Barack Obama has an enormous opportunity to lead a national conversation on sexism as he has started to do on racism. For the two isms are joined at the head, and it is highly likely that (sad perhaps but nevertheless true) many people will be more inclined to listen when the initiator is a man, especially one with two young daughters.

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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7 Responses to Where Were You 6 Months Ago, Katie?

  1. Punditmom says:

    Agreed. I am a fan of Katie’s and she’s been the subject of sexism, as well. Maybe we can convince her to continue to speak out now that she has started? I know PunditGirl and I would love that!

  2. Stacy says:

    Katie gets no kudos as far as I’m concerned- speaking out after the fact and when so many others (even some in the media) have already acknowledged the double-standard used against Hillary Clinton, is hardly courageous- had she done this early on in the campaign when she saw it happening, she might have had a positive impact on some of her more obnoxious peers in the media.

    I know I am being a bit harsh and I guess her speaking up now is better than nothing, but it’s a bit like Scott McClellan telling us years after the Iraq war began that the Bush administration wasn’t being entirely honest when it made its case for war. Well that’s just great.

  3. Daisy says:

    i wonder if Katie was under pressure not to appear biased while Hillary was still actively campaigning. In Katie’s national position, the network has a lot of say in what she says and how she says it.

  4. Gloria Feldt says:

    Three cheers for PunditGirl!

    Stacy, McClellan is the perfect analogy. What do they say about the hottest places in Hell being reserved for those who in times of moral crisis do nothing? (A prize for the correct reference).

    And Daisy has hit it on the head…the media is so timid in general that their definition of “neutral” is actually biased against rocking the boat, or defying conventional wisdom that they themselves have often created. I don’t think that excuses her inaction or anyone else’s though.

  5. Stacy says:

    Of course Katie may have pressure from her bosses, who determine content whom are biased and looking out for the bottom line as opposed to the truth, but we can’t forget that Katie is not some powerless individual scraping by for a living who fears if she loses a job, she loses her house and ability to put clothes on her kids. In fact, she has considerable power, opportunity, contacts and wealth which make it all the more offensive to me that she is speaking out now after-the-fact and when Hillary’s campaign is over and when Katie would seemingly have less to lose- there is something quite selfish about her refusal to do so earlier in my book, which is why I don’t give her too much credit now, nor am I willing to put the blame solely on the networks themselves.

  6. Gloria Feldt says:

    Oh yes, personal responsibility. What a concept. It is better late than never. Perhaps you saw the New York Magazine article “The Fall and Rise of Hillary Clinton”: http://nymag.com/news/politics/47837/
    She has some choice words to say, She also would have been better served to have said them during the campaign.

  7. Pingback: Is Political Media Coverage Biased Against Women? | GLORIA FELDT

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