Accuracy in Media

Washington Post writer Elizabeth Bruenig called out the hypocrisy of liberal women, including those in the mainstream media, for defending Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s reported abuse of her staff as “feminist” because male candidates would not be held to the same standard of staff treatment.

Bruenig specifically cited what Vox’s editorial director “Laura McGann mused: ‘It’s hard not to wonder, would a male candidate in the same position take the same heat?’”

Bruenig then ran through the reports against Klobuchar.

“Reports of Klobuchar’s abuse of staff members have included allegations that she has thrown office supplies such as phones and binders in the direction of underlings in fits of anger, that she regularly berates her workers, and that she has attempted to sink job prospects for staffers departing her office as revenge for their leaving,” Bruenig writes. “Her reputation for ill treatment of those in her employ apparently made it difficult for her to put together a team to staff her presidential campaign.”

Bruenig describes the hypocrisy of “feminist” voices who defend Klobuchar as “negative” rather than “positive” fairness because it reduces human behavior to the lowest common denominator.

“Negative fairness is a kind of fairness that reduces everyone to an equally bad position,” Klobuchar writes. “Arguments that we ought to discount coverage of Klobuchar’s maltreatment of her staffers on gender-egalitarian grounds, for instance, really hold that because we wrongly accept male abuse of workers, we also ought to accept female abuse of workers. But the reality is actually the reverse: We rightly don’t accept female abuse of workers, and we shouldn’t accept male abuse of workers, either. This line of criticism is both gender-egalitarian and aimed at increasing the overall common good by creating a moral expectation that all workers be treated with dignity. That’s positive fairness … There are enough women running who don’t share Klobuchar’s staff issues, and who can therefore more credibly set forth a pro-worker agenda, to make criticism of Klobuchar tactically safe (if you’re protecting a path for women to the presidency) as well as morally justified.”

Photo by Lorie Shaull

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