Any half-awake, semi-literate follower of the coverage so far of Campaign 2008 offered by either the mainstream media or the blogosphere is aware the media is still controlled by the good old boys network in America.
Nevertheless, I was surprised yesterday to read a casual comment by Kos himself in a post on his leading left of center blog, The Daily Kos, confirming the obvious: one of Hillary Clinton’s challenges in her run for the Democratic nomination is a “hostile media.” (If you need further verification of the media's abusive treatment of Clinton, check out a recent item on Media Matters.)
From screaming negative headlines exaggerating poll results in Iowa favoring Obama by one or two points and either tucking news of a Clinton lead away in an obscure corner or not reporting it at all to skewed coverage of a debate by the Democratic candidates, it’s hard to find clear, objective, and honest coverage of campaign 2008 anywhere in the online media, including the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
The reader comments following a typically biased article from supporters of front-runner Clinton’s rivals is scary. This is especially true at the Huffington Post where within the past several days, Obama supporters have used every obscenity in their apparently limited vocabularies to accuse the Clinton camp of everything from staging the hostage crisis in New Hampshire to get favorable publicity and perpetrating the YouTube video titled Obama Obollywood. (You can see the video from this site by clicking on Obama’s image from the YouTube icon in the sidebar to the right of this post.)
“Good old boys” has always been something of a misnomer for a power structure that blocks advancement of talented, capable women. Sad to say, the boys have always found allies among those women who can’t tolerate sharing the limelight or power with a successful sister who shows signs of breaking through yet another major glass ceiling. Particularly disappointing have been the personal attacks on Hillary Clinton by Maureen Dowd and Arianna Huffington.
Lately, I’ve been reading Huffington’s book, On Becoming Fearless, that suggests at least a modicum of awareness on her part of the obstacles to success American women continue to face: “Our presence in powerful positions, on corporate boards, and as heads of our own businesses continues to grow. Fortune magazine reports that as of 2005, roughly half of all management and professional jobs were filled by women. In the last ten years, the number of Fortune 500 companies with at least one quarter of their boards filled with women directors went from eleven to sixty-four. And women now own 48 percent of small business.
“That’s all going in the right direction, but women are still not even close to parity, especially in pay. The compensation-package half-empty view looks like this: According to catalyst, a non-profit research group, women still account for just under 15 percent of Fortune 500 board members. And for the past ten years, the rate has been increasing only 0.5 percent a year. This means we won’t hit the 50 percent mark until 2076 – a nice tri-centennial present for America, but still, should it take three hundred years?”
Obviously, Huffington talks the talk on behalf of women’s rights, but don’t get me wrong: I don’t expect her, Maureen Dowd, or any other representative of the American media, male or female, to support Hillary Clinton in news coverage or opinion pieces because she’s a woman. I do, however, demand fair and equal coverage of Clinton’s undeniably fearless front-running bid for the presidency.