Interrupt Me Again, Motherfucker

Last night I had a choice.  I could go with friends to see Urinetown, The Muscial, a show so dark that it ends with the line, “Hail, Malthus!” or I could watch NBC’s Commander in Chief forum.  I’m glad I went to the show.

First, as Shakespeare’s Sister noted earlier today, it’s interesting that it’s only now, when a woman is likely to be elected, that there’s a need for the candidates to demonstrate their competence to lead our military.  That’s some serious sexism, whether conscious or unconscious, right there.

But, and more importantly, NBC’s Matt Lauer’s differing treatment of Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump was so sexist as to be remarkable.  Now, by remarkable, I don’t mean that it was unusual.  Most, if not all women, and certainly professional women, have been subjected to just such differing and demeaning treatment so often that we sometimes don’t even bother to mention it.  Or, we walk away blaming ourselves for failing to find that absolutely impossible, razor-thin path between showing that we’re “tough enough” for the job and not being “too aggressive.”  (To be fair, society gaslights women all the time by pretending that if we’d just learn how to act, disparate treatment based on sexism would evaporate.)  What I mean by remarkable is that the sexism was writ large for all to see and all could see that it wasn’t Secretary Clinton who failed to navigate some unarticulated, but important, standard.  Rather, it was Mr. Lauer whose blatant double standard resulted in all of the well-deserved criticism he’s received over the past twenty-four hours.

Sarah Jones at Politics USA has written a really important article about what was wrong with Mr. Lauer’s behavior and I want to encourage everyone — men especially — to read her entire, brief, discussion.  As Ms. Jones, notes:

There is a trickle down effect when viewing a very popular and admired political figure like Hillary Clinton being treated like her word is worth less than a man’s, especially a man who is lying. This is male entitlement, underscored for the world to watch.

Lauer interrupted Clinton more than he did Trump in a glaringly obvious way. This wasn’t because Clinton was talking too long or lying; in fact, Lauer let Trump ramble on, repeatedly and consistently breaking the rules Lauer set in the beginning of not bashing the other candidate but rather speaking about your own policies.

This is anther thing Hillary Clinton didn’t do; Clinton followed the rules, like any serious candidate should.

So Clinton followed the rules and got sneered at, while Trump broke the rules and was not corrected when he lied. This is called a double standard.

Trump asserted his privilege to speak over Lauer, and Lauer acknowledged and respected Trump’s inherent privilege. Trump nattered on spreading propaganda and Lauer laid down and lit the path instead of calling it out.

It matters. It must not be allowed to continue in the debates to this degree. Yes, it exists and it will be an obstacle, but it must not be allowed to exist in the Lauer frame of such glaring contempt for women. This isn’t Lauer’s first brush with misogyny.

She also makes an important recommendation for the upcoming presidential debates:

Networks who are handling the debates need to show moderators this forum, count up the interruptions, the pushback and the tone, and teach their moderators not to behave this way.

This is not to suggest that the press shouldn’t be tough on Clinton.

***

But it’s possible for the press to be tough and not humiliate themselves in the process. It’s possible to be tough and not send women and girls the message that they will be treated like a second-class candidate while you wipe the spit off of a con artist’s shoes.

If one result of the horrible treatment that Secretary Clinton has received during this campaign is to spotlight and prevent sexist treatment, it will have been a very good thing.

 

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5 responses to “Interrupt Me Again, Motherfucker

  1. It’s absolutely infuriating that he’s not being called out on his blatant falsehoods and incompetence, while she’s being lambasting for things that have time and time again been proven inconsequential, and despite it all, she did nothing but show her competency even with an unfair disadvantage.

  2. I have never seen anything like this in my life. It is beyond outrageous.

  3. Exactly. And what makes me sick to my stomach is to go onto NBC or other “liberal” or “maistream” websites and see the lies spewed about Hillary . . . by women. Talk about voting against your own interest. Hillary is not a “hold your nose vote for the lesser of two evils” candidate. She is a fabulous candidate. And she is being crucified by the mainstream media, not just Faux News. NBC has lost all credibility, and not just based on that “segment”. Take a look at their political articles, for every fleetingly negative comment on Trump, there is a link with a provocative title to a disparaging article on Hillary. Some just end with that. This is not “fair” and “evenhunded” journalism. It is trumped-up journalism. Really, that’s quite fitting, isn’t it?

  4. Brava to all concerned. Name it, shame and bring the motherfucking walls down.

  5. Rudolph Schnaubelt

    Say it again. Louder. And with feeling.
    Thanks Hecate.

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