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’08 Election Coverage: More Cleavage… Less Issues

by Pamela Leavey

Robin Givhan’s WaPo column on Hillary Clinton’s cleavage has become the latest piece of tacky journalism that keeps on giving. Today, Deborah Howell bemoans the fact that the WaPo “got thousands of angry letters and calls last week — the vast majority from women — in response to a July 20 Style column by Fashion Editor Robin Givhan, commenting on Clinton showing a bit of cleavage on the Senate floor.”

There’s a bigger issue about her Clinton piece: Does this have anything to do with whether Clinton should be president? Not a thing. But do we want to read the column about her cleavage? Yes indeed. It was the most viewed story on the Web site all day. So was a recent story on John Edwards’s hairdresser.

There has to be a balance in campaign coverage. Readers deserve substance, but they also want to know who these people are, about their families and their lives.

Howell shares, “One last thought: An angry female reader left a shouting voice-mail message, demanding that Givhan do stories on the more private parts of male candidates. Yikes!”

Yikes, my ass… As I said here in my piece about the Givhan column the other day, “when was the last time Givhan reported on any of Clinton’s male counterparts and discussed the package in his pants?” No doubt, Givhan wouldn’t ever report on such a thing, it would be inappropriate, to quote here on the very thought of “catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!

And, look away Givhan should have done with Hillary Clinton, instead of making a sexist issue out of Clinton’s style that day. Shawn Mullen on TMV notes, “this cleavage thing is beyond silly.” But, lest we forget just how whacked some in the media are, C&L has video of John Harwood of the WSJ, claiming “Hillary’s blouse was a calculated move.”

I think we all need to ask the media at this point… Can we please get back to the important issues of the campaign season?

3 Responses to “’08 Election Coverage: More Cleavage… Less Issues”

  1. The story about the cleavage of Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post is a diservice to the American people. We need to know about the mind of Hillary Clinton and her ideas and policies, not irrelevant news about body parts.

  2. America bills itself as the most enlightened, progressive country in the world. Yet, on matters related to sex, we remain in some respects puritanical.
    A few years back Janet Jackson suffered her famious “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show. A portion of one of her breasts was exposed for about two seconds. If you happened to blink your eye, you would have missed it. This minor incident sent puritanical Americans into a mood of theological related revulsion. To make sure the revulsion grew, the
    “malfunction” was shown over and over again on almost every network. This was pure hipe without substance.
    There continues to be an ongoing, and totally, illogical argument that U.S. women should not be permitted to breast feed in public places. Every woman I have ever seen breast feeding has done it in such a discreet manner, that it most often goes un-noticed. Again, this is much ado about nothing. If her baby is hungry, a mother should be permitted to breast feed without a pouring out of self rightious indignation!! Since when has the human body been deamonized to the extent that the feeding of an infant would be deamed pornographic?
    Having been in Europe, I can attest to the fact that lesbians and gay men can walk down a crowded street hand-in-hand and no one bats an eye. I have even witnessed their commited partner give then a light good bye kiss on the cheek and again passersby display not the least bit of a reactiion. However, if these common expressions of love were exhibited on most any U.S. street, there would be an uprour which would be promoted for months on end by the media and “born again” Christians.
    Now, Hillary Clinton appears on the Senate floor in an attractive, well coordinated outfit of which the blouse in cut SLIGHTLY low. The blouse was not suggestive and if you were looking for cleavage, you had to look very hard. Why does a dumb issue like this even become a news story? Perhaps we need to install Senate cameras throughout the chamber at crotch level to see which male Senators may have forgotten to zip their flys. After all, they could have forgotten on purpose in a morally outragious attempt to gain votes!! Buzz

  3. William, you write, in part, “Yet, on matters related to sex, we remain in some respects puritanical.”

    That has to be my nominee for “understatement of the year.”

    With regard to discourse covering the regions between the neck and the knees, this country is stone cold nuts. (No pun intended.)