MSNBC's All-Male Panel About Hillary Clinton | The Mary Sue
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Hillary Clinton Said Sexism Affected Her Campaign. MSNBC Asked An All-Male Panel To Comment.

Here we go again.

In her first interview since the election, at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit in New York, Hillary Clinton reflected on her campaign and the numerous factors that contributed to her shocking defeat. She also stated the obvious: “Certainly, misogyny played a role. I mean, that just has to be admitted. And why, and what the underlying reasons were, is what I’m trying to parse out myself. With men, success and ambition are correlated with likability. So the more successful a man is, the more likable he becomes. With a woman – guess what? It’s the exact opposite.”

To discuss Clinton’s claims, MSNBC assembled a crack panel of…four white men.

After playing a clip of Clinton’s talk, host Steve Kornacki weirdly pivoted away from discussing sexism explicitly to ask: “Listening to Hillary Clinton at that event, and listening to a lot of what Democrats have been saying the last few months, is it fair to say [that] the feeling among Democrats is not that Hillary Clinton really did anything that lost the election, it was more things that were done to her?”

“It was a perfect storm,” said the first speaker, former DNC Press Secretary Michael Czin. “It was a lot of reasons. I think it’s hard to put your finger on one thing, but there was this cacophony of issues, whether it was Comey, WikiLeaks, people being complacent because they just didn’t think Donald Trump would win…”

Of course, Czin conveniently left misogyny off that list.

“I think trying to blame other people is not good politics,” said Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner. “There is sort of a — I call it ‘elite identity politics’ — going on in the Democratic party.”

Yup, just four bros concluding that there’s nothing to see here, ladies.

On the one hand, I understand what they’re getting at. Clinton’s campaign failed to resonate in some traditionally blue areas of the country, and that should spur introspection and self-criticism from the party, rather than merely blame for external forces. That’s fair enough.

But the way that these panelists, and the host in particular, wanted to hop right past the misogyny question to speculate about political strategy is telling. It would be too uncomfortable, and too honest, for these men to admit that many Americans are still deeply hostile to women exercising power. It would mean saying aloud that a woman will have a harder time running for office, no matter who she is. It would mean saying that sexism is real and present and has consequences, even for the highest office in the United States.

That’s something most women would be able to speak to–but it looks like MSNBC just didn’t want to hear it.

After Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty pointed out the discussion’s sexism on Twitter, host Steve Kornacki tried to justify himself.

NPR’s Linda Holmes then stepped in to remind Kornacki that he was, essentially, quibbling.

I understand that Kornacki feels like Tumulty mischaracterized his program, but…”I avoided discussing misogyny, even though that’s what Clinton’s quote was about, because I only brought men on my show” isn’t exactly a great defense. It means you (1) hosted an irrelevant discussion after your lead-in video and (2) believe it’s still acceptable to call an all-white, all-male panel – just as long as you’re not discussing misogyny. An all-white, all-male panel is a problem whenever you discuss a presidential campaign.

Do better, MSNBC.

(Via Twitter and RawStory; featured image via screengrab)

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