Lawyer and writer Jill Filipovic apparently views Hillary Clinton's defeat in the 2016 presidential election as a form of sexual harassment. Filipovic set forth her argument in yesterday's New York Times:
Matt Lauer, like Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin before him, is a journalist out of a job after his employer fired him for sexually harassing female colleagues. It’s good news that real penalties are now leveled on men who harass — after centuries of the costs mostly befalling the women who endure harassment. But the deep cultural rot that has corroded nearly all of our institutions and every corner of our culture is not just about a few badly behaved men. Sexual harassment, and the sexism it’s predicated on, involves more than the harassers and the harassed; when the harassers are men with loud microphones, their private misogyny has wide-reaching public consequences. One of the most significant: the 2016 election.
Many of the male journalists who stand accused of sexual harassment were on the forefront of covering the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Matt Lauer is a particular villain in Ms. Filipovic's eyes:
Matt Lauer interviewed Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump in an official “commander-in-chief forum” for NBC. He notoriously peppered and interrupted Mrs. Clinton with cold, aggressive, condescending questions hyper-focused on her emails, only to pitch softballs at Mr. Trump and treat him with gentle collegiality a half-hour later.
For Ms. Filipovic merely asking hard questions of Mrs. Clinton was a form of sexual harassment. She doesn't seem to grasp that anybody running for president should be able to answer hard questions, even if they are posed in a cold or condescending manner. It was not Lauer's questions that harmed Clinton–it was her answers, her demeanor, her sense of entitlement, and her creation of an email scandal. Add in her remark about half the Trump voters being "deplorables," and she didn't need Matt Lauer to throw an election she assumed was rightfully hers.
While Lauer comes in for most criticism, he is not alone. Filipovic chastises Charlie Rose for, who in a post-election interview, was guilty of "talking down to [Clinton], interrupting her, portraying her as untrustworthy." Has Filipovic ever watched Charlie Rose? Charlie Rose talked down to and interrupted all his guests. The guy couldn't stop talking. And, if he treated Mrs. Clinton as untrustworthy, perhaps it was because he was echoing the voters, who likewise found her untrustworthy. She did not come across as untrustworthy because male journalists were mean to her. She came across as untrustworthy because of decades of Clinton scandals.
And this is rich:
A pervasive theme of all of these men’s coverage of Mrs. Clinton was that she was dishonest and unlikable. These recent harassment allegations suggest that perhaps the problem wasn’t that Mrs. Clinton was untruthful or inherently hard to connect with, but that these particular men hold deep biases against women who seek power instead of sticking to acquiescent sex-object status.
I think the press largely gave Mrs. Clinton a free ride. As for being unlikable, well, you know who was likable? Carly Fiorina, who took Donald Trump's nasty (and genuinely sexist) remark about her appearance, and turned it into an advantage. Clinton wasnever capable of doing anything like this, despite her many years in the public eye.
Clinton took umbrage at questions she didn't like. She had too much baggage and too pronounced a sense of entitlement, It wasn't Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose who toldher to set up a private email servier or not to take certain states for granted. Moreover, if we are going to elect somebody to be the most powerful person in the world, we want somebody who can, at the very least, handle Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.
Feminists would do themselves a favor if they'd just admit it–it wasn't men who defeated Hillary Clinton. It was a woman. Hillary Clinton.