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Illustrating A Difference

January 24, 2013

This is Hillary Clinton choking up.

This is Hillary Clinton laying the smack down.

These two moments do not resemble each other in the least. Yet if you read most of the headlines today about the Secretary of State’s testimony before Congress, what you would have read was one thing, over and over again.

Hillary Clinton Chokes Up During Benghazi Hearing

Yeah, not so much. She had two, count them two, sentences wherein her voice showed tender emotion in five hours of testimony. The Secretary got fired up. She slapped the members of Congress who tried to grandstand. She was, at times, visibly frustrated and at others was extremely patient in the face of some remarkably stupid lines of inquiry. Her voice showed emotion on several levels, which is identical to the way that the president’s voice did in talking about the same subject and later, Newtown.

So why is this all we are hearing? Well, part of it has to do with the writers, specifically the gender of the writers. Here is a sampling of the by-lines of those people who characterized Secretary Clinton as  “choking up:” Jon Campbell, Luke Johnson, and Daniel Halper. Conversely, here is a sampling of the writers who correctly characterized her as showing some level of anger of impatience; Donna Cassata, Sarah Parnass, and that’s all I could find. In part that comes as a result of the dearth of female writers but mostly it comes as a result of the way in which women are viewed.

If a male member of the Cabinet had exhibited the exact same behavior, using the exact same tone and inflections, he would be characterized as having shown “strength” and possibly”determination,”  while that one, rough voiced moment would have been seen as evidence that a great statesman had concern and feelings for the people he served. But Hillary is just being emotional.

Hey guess what. THAT’S SEXIST!

Given the laughably feeble basis upon which this hearing is predicated and the largely clownish behavior shown by the Republicans on the Committees can we please stop acting as if Secretary Clinton’s reaction is  what is notable? Pretty please?

She did what she has done since she took on the position as SecState; exactly the right thing no matter the circumstances. The correct response is admiration.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2013 12:12 AM

    Everything above.

    In addition, I wonder, exactly, what the Republicans were wanting to get out of this farce that WASN’T an emotional reaction from Secretary Clinton. Clearly they wanted, in so many words, take her out back and give her the whuppin’ she deserved. Was getting a rise out of her, at least in part, not what they were going for? That typically is the aim of juvenile badgering, yes?

    I would’ve loved to see her not show up at all, leaving a row of condescending sockpuppets sitting alone in a room full of cameras.

  2. January 24, 2013 11:01 AM

    I didn’t get to see the entirety of the hearings, but from what I did see, it looked to me like Secretary Clinton rocked.

    Your point about gender and news coverage, I think, is right on, not only specifically in this instance but in general as well. It’s just another indication that the double standard is alive and well, still, in the twenty-first century. That’s disgraceful, whether it is the mediagasm the other day when Michelle Obama changed her hairstyle (“OMG, she’s got BANGS!”) or the focus of male journalists on Hillary Clinton’s breaking voice for a couple of moments during her testimony.


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