Ailsa Chang’s NPR profile of New York Senator — and former North Country congresswoman — Kirsten Gillibrand is getting panned on-line and apparently edited by NPR’s on-line crew.
Chang’s report cast Sen. Gillibrand as a soft-voiced woman, whose strength was demonstrated most poignantly by her courage during pregnancy.
Chang also notes that Gillibrand was once described as one of the “hottest” lawmakers in Washington.
All of this at a time when Sen. Gillibrand is taking the lead in opposing sexual assault and bias in the US military.
The coverage has drawn fierce criticism on-line. Here’s a sample:
Wow, this story really takes me back to the 1970s … and not in a good way. I find the sexist language highly offensive: “girlie voice,” “petite, blond and perky,” “hottest member of the Senate,” indeed!
And another jab:
I am extremely shocked that this article even made it to this section of the website. This article is full of sexist garbage that really just minimizes Senator Gillibrand’s work. You would never hear about a male senator being described this way.
According to Jezebel.com, NPR significantly edited the piece after it was placed on-line, pointing out that “in the edited version of the piece, those descriptors [of Gillibrand] have been tapered down.”
The story still includes questions like this one, taken from Chang’s script:
Gillibrand essentially operates as a single mom during the work week because her husband’s job keeps him in New York City during the weekdays. Friends marvel at her multitasking skills — she manages to get home early nearly every night to cook her two sons dinner, get them bathed, read them books and put them to bed. But is this woman the stuff presidential candidates are made of?
So what do you think? Reasonable questions about a rising politician who happens to be a woman? Or questions asked of a woman — and adjectives applied to a woman — that would never be applied to a male politician?