By Peter Daou and Tom Watson
UPDATE (10/13/15): "Hillary Clinton’s declining image numbers inch upward." This WaPo headline sums up the topsy turvy 2016 Hillary Clinton coverage...
The national media’s obsessively negative – and often openly hostile – Hillary Clinton coverage is driven by a single absurd premise: that she should be winning, and by a wide margin.
The idea that any candidate ought to be winning a presidential election is laughable on its face, let alone a woman in a nation that has embarrassingly never elected a female president.
Virtually every mainstream article and news segment in the 2016 campaign portrays anything less than total victory as Hillary’s failure.
It's the straw man versus the strong woman.
Ahead of twenty opponents in the polls? Failure. Not far enough ahead.
Out-raised every single candidate and broke fundraising records: Failure. Only raised a few million more.
More cash on hand than other candidates. Failure. Spending too much.
Survived and thrived despite a relentless media/pundit assault: Failure. Wasn't able to stop them from attacking.
Show poise and dignity in the face of endless verbal abuse: Failure. Not being "contrite" enough.
The gender factor is an unavoidable reality in the impossibly high bar set for Hillary. An American Management Association study confirms that women are held to a higher standard than men:
AMA examined the backgrounds and experience of Fortune 500 CEOs, of which almost 5% are women, an all-time high. Female chief executives were found to have earned more rigorous academic degrees, have greater work and life experience when first appointed, and proved more often to have worked their way up internally.
“These statistics seem to show that women are held to different if not more demanding standards than men,” said Jeremey Donovan, Chief Marketing Officer for AMA, who authored the report. “What we learned suggests this applies to women at all levels.”
If coverage and commentary is predicated on the false notion that Hillary should coast to the White House, then everything is bad news for Hillary. Indeed, that is exactly how this election is being covered.
Our favorite, from Matthew Yglesias: "New poll showing Clinton beating everyone is reported as bad news for Hillary."
You know coverage has gone off the rails when Bill O’Reilly says the press has it in for Hillary and that it’s unfair:
Will it change anytime soon? Probably not.
The corporate media are profiles in conformity. So far, not a single mainstream reporter has demonstrated the courage to break from the anti-Hillary pack.
Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.