On Tuesday night’s episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart devoted an extended-length segment of the show to the media’s treatment of women in politics. While highlighting the sexism that women politicians are faced with from media outlets and their own colleagues, Stewart also focused on the obvious double-standard displayed when it comes to news coverage of male politicians. On a night when female progressive icon Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the guest, it only seemed appropriate that Stewart tackled this subject.
Below is video of the show:
The major focus of Stewart’s was to show the disparity in the the way the news media covers female and male politicians. Essentially, pundits, reporters and news hosts tend to make too much of women being ‘emotional.’ Recently, Chelsea Clinton announced that she is pregnant with her first child. After the announcement, the news media immediately wondered what impact this will have on Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 run for President. There were questions asked about whether or not this will be too much on Hillary’s plate, being a grandmother for the first time while running for office.
Stewart called out that BS by saying that no male candidates had ever had questions posed to him regarding the impact of a new grandchild on his campaign. The Daily Show host juxtaposed all of this media coverage on Hillary Clinton becoming a grandmother with the fact that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney has quite a few grandchildren and added three more during his Presidential campaign. Of course, nobody wondered how Romney’s grandchildren would affect his ability or to run for office or his overall state of mind.
Coverage was brought up surrounding two other women who had recently been deemed too ‘emotional’ while on the job. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) heads the Senate Intelligence Committee and has led an investigation into the CIA’s interrogation program during the Bush Administration. Feinstein’s investigation found that the use of torture was far more prevalent than originally thought. When asked about the findings of the report, former CIA Director Michael Hayden stated that Feinstein had too much ‘emotional feeling’ and could not provide an ‘objective report.’
Bridget Kelly’s treatment by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s handpicked Bridgegate investigative team was also featured. Kelly was presented as being emotional, duplicitous and worried about how others perceived her, especially men. The smear job done by Christie’s hit men was repeated by many in the news media.
The media’s double-standard was then fully exposed by Stewart. He aired clips of media figures ripping into Hillary Clinton after she seemed teary-eyed after losing the Iowa primary in 2008. The comments from the media at the time were that we can’t have our politicians getting weepy in front of others. Stewart then brilliantly contrasted this with footage of Mitch McConnell, Darrell Issa and John Boehner all bawling their eyes out in public.
We also saw older footage of pundits claiming that Clinton is just way too angry. Of course, Stewart just had to show clips of Christie flying off the handle, berating people left and right and basically being the bully he is. This was followed by the infamous moment of Issa cutting off the microphone of Rep. Eiljah Cummings (D-MD) during a Congressional hearing. Finally, we saw Rep. Don Young (R-AK) yelling at a witness during a House committee hearing.
Stewart then showed more footage of male politicians being emotional, in one sense or another. This was followed by an array of clips from various pundits and media figures praising and defending male politicians for showing emotion in public, claiming it is ‘courageous’ or that it shows they are ‘passionate.’ Stewart then ended the segment with the perfect line: “In politics, it’s OK to be a p*ssy, as long as you’ve got a d*ck.”