The piece by JM Rieger of The Huffington Post addresses “overt . . . sexism” on cable news. It was published in response to recent sexist accusations made by House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. This video assembles various instances of bigotry and chauvinism exhibited by both cable news hosts and guests, all of whom are men. Their remarks range from the petty – mocking Nancy Pelosi for her looks – to the more consequential – denigrating the wherewithal of working women and of a female president. The clips span a number of years, but the majority were aired by Fox News.

I found this video interesting because, although many are outraged by the misogynistic rhetoric surrounding Donald Trump’s bid for president, they are less outraged by the equally discriminatory and hateful rhetoric Americans see on television every day. This lack of outrage may be attributed to a lack of awareness rather than a lack of concern. Most Americans do not tune into Fox News, and those who do are far more likely to vote for Trump than they are to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election. In fact, I would hazard that these cohorts almost completely overlap. It is this ignorant, vitriolic rhetoric that made the rise of Trump, of Trumpism, at all possible in 2016.

My central questions are these: If pollsters say that Clinton is our next president, yet cable news says women belong in the kitchen, what does this mean for women in America? How will they – how should they – respond to “critics” whose only aim is to attack? How do the women in these clips (from what we can see) respond? Do they tend to invoke feminine style, or do they adjust their responses to the aggressive, male-dominated format? What is the role of a responsible male orator in this situation? And what does all of the above mean for a (very likely) Clinton presidency? Will Clinton’s election legitimize women as so-called “breadwinners”? Or will it incite even more rhetorical violence against women? Finally, perhaps more importantly, what is the source of this rhetoric? Is Fox News merely stoking the flames, using sensationalist tactics to win over a large audience? Or are they taking cues from the American people, only saying what the majority of our country wants to hear?

Thanks, again, for reading!

~ BH

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