This just in: The biased news media is sexist! I sure am glad that I have advisers from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign to let me know.Apparently, as a female, I should be offended that Barack Obama supposedly called Gov. Sarah Palin a pig. But, when Sen. Hillary Clinton was running for president and McCain used the same "lipstick on a pig" turn of phrase to allude to her campaign, it was OK.The media focus should be on the issues that will actually affect Americans. Palin agrees with this and went so far as to criticize the Clinton campaign's claims of sexism."When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate I think, 'Man, that doesn't do us any good, women in politics, or women in general, trying to progress this country,'" Palin said to Newsweek in March.But McCain campaign policy adviser, Nancy Pfotenhauer, wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 3 that criticized Obama's treatment of Palin as sexist. I'm not here to debate whether this is true or not. I'm just wondering where this sudden outrage is coming from.A couple of weeks ago, I saw a great segment on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" that discussed this very issue.There was a clip from Nov. 5, 2007. At that time, Dick Morris, a commentator for Fox News, was discussing Clinton's complaints of sexism on the campaign trail."When a woman wants to be president, she shouldn't complain based on gender," Morris said.However, once Palin was announced as McCain's running mate, Morris --like many conservative commentators --changed his tune."A man would never have had to go through this," he said on Sept. 3. "It's a deep sexism."So what happened in less than a year to cause this complete reversal of opinion on sexism in the media? The woman being attacked was a Republican.This hypocrisy is not only ridiculous, it takes away from the actual issues. It is "controversies" like this that make TV news look so bad. Instead of focusing on the issues, the 24-hour cable news networks want to shock you so you'll keep watching and their ratings will go up. It makes journalism look bad.
I don't care what designer makes Palin's eyeglasses. I don't care that Obama's middle name is Hussein, and neither should you. What the American people deserve is a discussion of the issues.The McCain-Palin campaign's knee-jerk reaction that any questions about Palin's qualifications are sexist is disingenuous. Gender bias in the media is a legitimate issue that should be addressed. We should wonder why the Washington Post dedicated 781 words to Clinton showing a little bit of cleavage on C-Span 2 on July 20, whereas the only appearance-based stories about men that come to mind are former Sen. John Edwards's $400 haircut.The glass ceiling still exists, and issues of sexism in the media and the workplace need to be addressed. But forgive me if I'm loath to believe a party that all of a sudden finds sexism in the media. This issue only exists to them now because it is beneficial for their campaign.When Republicans start coming up with policies that support women's rights --such as equal pay for equal work, maternity policies that do not punish women for having children and a woman's right to choose --then I'll pay attention.