Sexism, along with every other form of discrimination, is an inherently conservative trait – at least on paper. Unfortunately, in reality, sexism is so ingrained in every inch of our society that it regularly rears its ugly head on the liberal side of the fence as well. We spent the entire 2016 election witnessing it on an hourly basis. Even with the election long finished, the liberal sexism against Hillary Clinton (and various other strong liberal women) continues unabated. There was no better example of that than this week’s Vanity Fair incident.
Despite its reputation as a pop culture magazine, Vanity Fair has been cranking out some impressive pieces of investigative political journalism of late. However, that all got overshadowed when several members of the magazine’s staff appeared in a juvenile video in which they mercilessly and pointlessly mocked Hillary Clinton for no good reason. This video was one of the most gratuitously sexist liberal attacks on Hillary to date (She should take up knitting? Really?). But it is also part of a larger pattern.
When the Republicans invented the fictional narrative that Hillary leaked classified information via her emails, it was intended to play into sexist stereotypes: Hillary is a woman, therefore she’s a gossiper, so of course she couldn’t keep a secret, let alone state secrets. What the right wasn’t counting on was the left’s willingness to buy into that same stereotype. Liberal leaning news outlets, as well as self-labeled “progressive” activists, couldn’t wait to bathe themselves in the notion that Hillary was too much of… well, too much of a woman to be trusted with classified information.
That was just one example. We saw it again and again and again and again. The media and the public, even on the left, graded Hillary on an entirely different curve than anyone else in the race – simply because she was a woman. Leading fact checking sites like PolitiFact showed that Hillary was the most honest person in the 2016 election (Bernie Sanders was second). But the media, and much of the left, spent every day pushing the fictional narrative that Hillary was a liar who couldn’t be trusted. It wasn’t based on anything. It didn’t have to be. It stuck, simply because she was a woman.
Sure, there were other factors at play as well. Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming frontrunner from the start, so the media had to desperately scramble to inject some suspense – even false suspense – into the election so that people would tune in. The media spent the entire primary pretending Hillary was either losing to Bernie, or that she was cheating against Bernie, when the actual numbers showed that she was winning in a multimillion vote blowout the entire time. The media then spent the general election dishonestly attacking Hillary for the same reason – she was ahead the entire time, and it needed the appearance of a horse race for ratings.
But there was much more to it. Remember the “progressive” surrogate who called Hillary Clinton a corporate whore? That wasn’t by accident. Not a day passed in the 2016 election without some liberal leaning reporter, pundit, or surrogate basking in the opportunity to gleefully attack Hillary in sexist fashion. Maybe they didn’t hate her for sexist reasons. But once they decided they hated her, they jumped straight to sexist attacks as their method of trying to knock her down a peg.
We spent all year seeing compelling evidence that Donald Trump and Russia rigged the election with fake news and worse. Even with all of that cheating, Hillary Clinton still won the popular vote by three million votes. She didn’t have a popularity problem in the slightest; imagine how much bigger her blowout win would have been without all the cheating. Yet to this day, pundits on the left love to push the idea that Trump “won” because Hillary wasn’t likable enough. Nevermind that Trump didn’t even legitimately win. Nevermind that Hillary was just named America’s most admired woman today for the umpteenth year in a row. The thing about sexism is that the facts don’t matter.
Part of this, of course, is the media just trying to cover its own ass. Nearly all of the major media outlets slanted the election against Hillary Clinton as absurdly as they could, because they desperately needed a suspenseful election for the sake of ratings. None of these outlets were aware of the extent of the Trump-Russia cheating, and none of them knew that the FBI would lie to voters about Hillary just eleven days before election day, so the media didn’t realize it was helping to put Trump over the top. Now these same news outlets feel like they need to destroy the ghost of Hillary, for fear the public will figure out that – yes – the lying media with its fake news is the single biggest reason Donald Trump is illegally occupying the White House.
But again, it goes far beyond that. You only need to take a look at the Vanity Fair video in question (you can google it; no I won’t link to it) to see how eager these imbeciles on the magazine’s staff were to attack Hillary Clinton in the most gleefully sexist manner they could think of. Based on Vanity Fair’s political leanings, everyone in that video likely fancies themselves a liberal or progressive.
Even the relevant editor apparently didn’t think to nix the video before it went live, because hey, that kind of targeted sexism against someone like Hillary Clinton usually flies. If anything, the only surprising aspect of this story is that there has been enough backlash to put Vanity Fair’s future at risk. People are canceling their print magazine subscriptions. The staffers who appeared in the video are deleting their social media accounts. Heads will inevitably roll over this.
During the 2016 election, a video like this one would have simply marked a typical Tuesday. The media – on the left and right – was too busy pretending that Hillary Clinton’s tens of millions of supporters didn’t exist anyway. Now it appears the line is finally, belatedly beginning to be drawn. Perhaps we are finally turning a corner. The story here isn’t that drooling sexist garbage like this video is still being made by the left. The real story is that there’s finally some accountability for this kind of crap.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report