Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media has been accused for decades for shielding Democratic Party lawmakers and members of the media, and this week was not much different. ABC News chief political analyst Matthew Dowd tweeted an allegedly sexist statement about Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Stefanik is considered a rising female star within the Republican Party, having been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age thirty in 2014. To encourage and support Republican women seeking to run for office, she started Elevate PAC, or E-PAC, to boost female GOP recruitment efforts.

Dowd tweeted, “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn’t necessarily get you the leaders we need.” Dowd’s tweet, since deleted, was criticized by GOP lawmakers and pundits alike for allegedly being a sexist remark.

Dowd claimed that critics did not understand the point of his tweet, but later apologized for the tweet and deleted it. He said, “Hey @EliseStefanik, I just want to apologize for a tweet that is being misinterpreted. I didn’t mean to suggest you were elected only because you were a woman or a millennial. I deleted the tweet.”

Stefanik thanked those who supported her and also accepted Dowd’s apology.  She said, “Apology accepted @matthewjdowd – @ABCPolitics should be ashamed of your comment. This is one of the reasons young women don’t run for office.”

However, the mainstream media buried the story as if it never happened. CNN and NBC News, for example, did not publish stories on the social media controversy. On the other hand, right-leaning outlets, such as Fox News and the National Review reported on the Dowd-Stefanik controversy.

This disconnect in news coverage is disheartening because it should be an example of the media reporting on how the GOP protected a female lawmaker from alleged sexist criticism from a member of the media. But the media’s silence on the story reinforced the perception that the media is biased against those on the political Right and is more willing to protect its own when a controversy arises.

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