Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?
In the mainstream media, women on the left are almost always portrayed as paragons of compassion and virtue. But when it comes to conservative women, it’s a different story. Why is this? Heather Higgins, chairman of Independent Women's Forum and CEO of Independent Women's Voice, explains the reasons behind the double standard.
For more information on Independent Women's Forum visit IWF.org
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Who's the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court?
My guess is that most Americans would answer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s so famous now that she is often referred to just by her initials—RBG.
Elevated to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the left-leaning Justice Ginsburg was the subject of not one, but two movies in 2018 alone. But she isn’t the first female Supreme Court justice. She’s the second. The first doesn’t have a movie named after her. That’s because Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed by a Republican president, Ronald Reagan.
We hear a lot about “the year of the woman,” “the women’s march,” and “the war against women.” But if the major media—the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS and others—were more interested in accuracy than advocacy, it would be that they are promoting “the year of leftist woman” or “the leftist women’s march.”
The major media like to pretend that all women think alike and that conservative women are just the exception that proves the rule. But according to a 2018 Pew Research study, about a third of women are Democrats; a little less than a third are Republican; and a little more than a third are independents.
So if there are all these conservative women around, how does the media make it seem like they barely exist?
They use three strategies.
The first is Omission: If you don’t see something, you don’t have to deal with it.
Open up a glossy magazine. Every liberal woman is glamorized. Stylishly dressed, beautifully photographed, their personal stories are almost always an inspirational version of Joan of Arc: they have overcome overwhelming obstacles to make the world a more compassionate and tolerant place.
Glamour magazine recognized eleven Democrat women among their 2018 Women of the Year. No Republican made the cut.
First Lady Michelle Obama was on the cover of Vogue three times.
First Lady and former fashion model Melania Trump? So far, not once.
Every now and again, the major media will do a story about a female conservative to “balance things out.” But, let’s be honest, it’s not balance—it’s tokenism.
The second strategy the media uses to diminish conservative women is Mocking: Making fun of a woman’s appearance discounts what she says.
You would think the major media would resist this kind of objectification. But they don’t. Not if the target is a conservative woman.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, are routinely belittled for their hair, their eye makeup, or their weight. Their significant accomplishments, in contrast, are rarely acknowledged.
Why? Because the media doesn’t like their boss. And it treats women who work for him as traitors to their sex.
The third strategy the media uses to demean conservative women is Labeling: Using stereotypes precludes there being a valid reason for conservative women to hold the positions they do.
The major media simply can’t accept that conservatives have serious and important reasons for their beliefs. So they have to come up with answers to explain this seeming anomaly to themselves: these women must be racist or self-hating or just weak-minded.
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