Thursday, February 22, 2018
NYT Editor Assails Sexist Treatment of Trump Adviser; Readers Say Not So Fast

NEW YORK, NY  March 6 (DPI) – A prominent editor of The New York Times came out with a surprising defense of Kellyanne Conway, asserting that Trump’s hopelessly incompetent and optics-blind adviser was the victim of the same sexist treatment – even a hatred of women – that Hillary Clinton faced.

And about nine of ten readers responding to the opinion piece by Susan Chira pushed back, asserting that Conway is getting fairly criticized for her poor work and her egregious errors – and not her gender.  “Why is Kellyanne suddenly a special victim?” asks one poster today.

More than 600 readers responded to Chira’s piece in a few hours.

Chira, a high-ranking and longtime editor at The Times, seeks to make the point that attacks on Conway are “sexualized” and have been meaner because she is a woman.  Chira included some of the more vicious twitter posts – no less vicious, though, compared with those targeted at Sean Spicer and their boss, Donald Trump.

Many readers pointed out that Chira is ignoring the fact that anonymous internet attacks are directed at all public figures these days, often for reasons such as their appearance: “Let’s not pretend that women are the only ones who come under scrutiny for physical appearance,”  as one popular post declared (see below).

Some of the top-ten-recommended reader comments:

This woman deserves ridicule for her speech and behavior. Her gender is irrelevant.

Oh come on. There are so many women in politics who are honored and respected, and not subject to ridicule- witness Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins. Kellyanne Conway is deceitful, and has made a Faustian bargain with Trump. That’s her choice. If she is ridiculed, she has set the stage.

Lying and obfuscation is applicable to both sexes. That is the issue I have with Kelly Conway.

Our country is obsessed with image and it’s not limited to misogyny. Trump’s hair, ties, hands, strangely-orange skin, Chris Christie’s weight, Mitch McConnell’s droopy face, Stephen Miller’s tired face.

Are the positive comments about candidates any better? Republicans fawned over Sarah Palin, Melania Trump, Trump’s odd collection of young, attractive political commentators. These women also use their physical appearance to gain favor. People think a more handsome man is more credible too. They loved Ronald Reagan, they hoped for Rick Perry (who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan), they fawned over John Edwards before the scandal broke. If the point is that words, actions, and policies should matter more than appearance, then I would agree. But let’s not pretend that women are the only ones who come under scrutiny for physical appearance.  Most of the criticism about Kellyanne is about her lies, her denials, her avoidance of truth. Track comments about any public figure, male or female, and you’ll find plenty of criticism about their appearance. Why is Kellyanne suddenly a special victim?

This article manages to suggest that the accomplishments of Conway, a relatively unknown political consultant who first threw her lot in with Ted Cruz before limping onto the Trump campaign, and whose skill set seems to be limited to improvised propaganda, are the same as Clinton, the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state. How did such a foolish false equivalence ever make it past the editors who read the first draft of this utterly preposterous story?


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