WASHINGTON – Democrats are complaining about what they say is the media’s penchant for heaping loads of praise on the white men running against President Donald Trump in 2020.
They want to know why female candidates are not receiving similar treatment.
National media are heaping too much praise on Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, according to Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic political consultant. It’s not fair to the women in the race for the White House and is starting to look a lot like a replay of 2016 when reporters focused on then-candidate Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, she said.
“I feel like the media is always captivated by the person they seem to think is a phenom: Bernie. Trump. Beto. But they always seem to be white men who are phenoms,” Marsh told Politico Friday. “In a year where we have more choices than ever, more women and more persons of color than ever, none of them seem to be deemed a phenom.”
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She added: “Not one woman got that kind of coverage. Not one. Not Kamala. Not Kirsten. Not Elizabeth Warren. Not Amy Klobuchar in a blizzard.”
A Democratic adviser for Clinton, a former secretary of state during the Obama administration, mirrored Marsh’s sentiments.
“I fully appreciate that he can espouse progressive values as a Democrat, that’s a benefit for the Democratic field. I don’t welcome being fed the retro candidacy,” Tracy Sefl, a Democratic strategist and onetime Clinton adviser, told reporters. “There’s a romanticizing of him. It’s the artful Vanity Fair cover — but in reality he was in Keokuk, Iowa in a coffee shop. That’s the product of romanticizing.”
There’s also a gender imbalance at play, Democratic pollster and strategist Celinda Lake said. The women running have received the bulk of the negative coverage, she added. Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for instance, was forced to defend reports about treating her staff poorly. She also got dinged for eating a salad with a comb.
“I think if you look at the pattern, there is a real distinction between the way men were covered and the way the women were covered. There’s a huge double standard,” Lake said. “With women, many, many more negatives were raised and the men were treated like the second coming. I’m surprised that this is continuing in 2019, after the year of the woman.”