Now that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is officially in it (the 2012 presidential election) to win it, that doesn't mean everyone is treating her with the respect of an official presidential candidate. Take FOX News' Chris Wallace, who interviewed her in a way that left audiences puzzled.
After briefly noting how Bachmann has a track record of gaffes, he asked her flat-out, "Are you a flake?" The presidential candidate was able to spin her answer to tactfully explain her background, but then Wallace followed-up his jarring inquiry with another patronizing question: "Do you recognize that now that you are in the spotlight in a way that you weren't before that you have to be careful?"
Huh. Is Wallace Bachmann's overly-concerned grandmother or a journalist?
To be fair, the reporter did make an apology for the way in which he interviewed Bachmann, saying, "If my question got in the way of what I think is a good interview, as I say, I didn't do it right." But his "sorry" doesn't change the fact that there's a strange, but prevalent underlying theme here. Despite being more and more visible on campaign trails, female politicians are still being treated differently by the media.
The last presidential election in '08 seemed like a game-changer. With Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin as top-tier contenders then, you'd think that almost four years later -- with 82 percent of Americans saying they'll vote for a woman for president -- the media may have outgrown the mindless conversations about pantsuits vs. skirt suits, who is the sexier female candidate vs. who is the Wicked Witch, etc. But judging from Wallace's patronizing approach, we haven't really come as far as we should have by now.
As Greta Van Susteren wondered, "Is this how Chris Wallace would ask the same question of a man?"
Can you see any journalist asking Herman Cain if he's actually serious about getting out of the pizza biz? Or critiquing Tim Pawlenty's tie? I can't recall anyone ever blatantly asking George W. Bush if he is an airhead.
Until that starts happening, and ignorantly worded, condescending questions are asked of ALL politicians, you gotta call it sexism when you see it. Forget Wallace's apology. Bachmann, Palin, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and anyone who isn't a man in D.C. has, at one point, been treated like a "silly little woman" who has a pipe dream of winning a public office. It's outrageous, and if this country has any hopes of moving forward, it can't happen in the first place.
Here's a quick video of the Bachmann interview yesterday ...
Do you think journalists treat female candidates differently from male ones?
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