Reflections: “Hooting” Hillary Off The Stage?

A page from Katie Couric’s CBS News Reporter’s Notebook yesterday, in which she declared that in the “endles” media post-mortems of the Clinton campaign, “Senator Clinton has received her fair share of the blame and so has her political team but:”

[Like] her or not one of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an ‘Iron My Shirt’ poster at campaign rallies or Hillary nutcrackers sold at airports or a mainstream pundit saying they instinctively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote, it would be front-page news. It isn’t just Hillary Clinton that 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.

(Flashback: Couric to Hillary Clinton on 60 Minutes in February: “Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?”)

Tom Brokaw commented earlier this week to the AP on another aspect of Clinton coverage, the When Will She Fold, Already? Watch:

IIt was inappropriate, for journalists especially, to try to cut the process short. It was an appropriate issue for people to report on, in context, but there was an awful lot of commentary disguised as reporting that gave the impression that people were trying to shove her out of the race.

The AP found an example of what Brokaw may have meant:

[L]ast Tuesday, Brokaw was talking about the contrasts between McCain and Obama [on MSNBC] when [Keith] Olbermann interjected about “a third one trying toshoehorn her way” into the coverage. “Well, I think that’s unfair, Keith,” Brokaw replied. “I don’t think she shoehornedd her way in. When you look at the states that she won and the popular vote that she piled up, and the number of delegates that she has on her side, she’s got real bargaining power in all of this.’”

The Politico’s John Harris said this to the AP on the same topic: “I’ve always felt that it was not the job of reporters to be like `The Gong Show’ and hoot candidates off the stage.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.