What the media can and can’t say about Biden’s running mate

A group called “We Have Her Back” has sent a remarkable memo to “News Division Heads, Editors in Chiefs, Bureau Chiefs, Political Directors, Editors, Producers, Reporters, and Anchors.” In the memo, the authors tell the media leaders how to cover the female whom Joe Biden will select as his running mate. They even graciously offer to provide the mainstream media with guidance as the campaign progresses. And they warn that they “will be watching you.”

After the obligatory pablum about George Floyd and “inequality,” the authors provide a partial list of things they are forbidding:

• Reporting on a woman’s ambition as though the very nature of seeking political office, or any higher job for that matter is not a mission of ambition
• Relationships with partners, staff, colleagues and donors are characterized differently if the woman is not seen as subservient or supportive
• Reporting on whether a woman is liked (a subjective metric at best) as though it is news when the “likeability” of men is never considered a legitimate news story.
• Reporting, even as asides in a story, on a woman’s looks, weight, tone of voice, attractiveness and hair is sexist news coverage unless the same analysis is applied to every candidate
• Reporting on questions of electability of women is, in itself, a perpetuation of a stereotype about the ability of women to lead
• Reporting on doubts women may not be qualified leaders even when they have experience equal to or exceeding male leaders
• Reporting on the heritage of Black women or women of color perpetuates a misunderstanding about who is legitimately American
• Reporting on and using pictures of a woman’s, particularly black women, show of anger at injustice or any other kind of passion in communication perpetuates racist tropes that suggest unfairly that women are too emotional or irrational in their leadership or worse “hate America”

What, specifically, is off the table? Would it be out-of-bounds to point out that Kamala Harris’ rise in politics began with jobs she got with the help of a powerful, married male politician with whom she was having an affair?

Would it be out-of-bounds to note that Rep. Karen Bass was a fan of Communist dictator Fidel Castro and delivered a eulogy for Communist Party president Oneil Marion Cannon, whom she described a “mentor”?

Would it be okay to observe that Keisha Lance Bottoms’ experience in public life consists only of eight years on the Atlanta city council and less than three years as Atlanta’s mayor?

How about pointing to Susan Rice’s history of poor foreign policy judgments and her willingness to lie on behalf of her powerful patrons?

The memo from assorted Democratic operatives is a response to an obvious problem Joe Biden faces. He has decided to discriminate on the basis of gender, and possibly race, in selecting his vice presidential candidate.

Having artificially restricted the pool, he is choosing from a fairly undistinguished lot. To make things dicier, the public knows there is a good chance that, if Biden is elected, his running mate will become president before there is another presidential election.

How to get around this problem? Try to silence the media.

In other words, the “back” these feminists “have” is really Joe Biden’s.

Will they be able to induce media silence about Biden’s running mate? That’s probably the wrong question. The right questions are (1) whether the mainstream media needs to be induced and (2) whether the mainstream media has the power to control the narrative over Biden’s running mate.

Let’s conclude by noting the obvious hypocrisy of the “We Have Her Back” group. As Karen Townsend says:

It is as though these liberal women expect conservatives to forget how Sarah Palin was treated. Democrats said she was uneducated, ignorant, possibly having a child that wasn’t her husband’s, a hick from Alaska, she wore the wrong clothes, she didn’t speak well, they mocked her religion, and so on. It was hideous.

Townsend also reminds us that in 2012, one of the authors, the far-left feminist Hillary Rosen, attacked Ann Romney for having “never worked a day in her life.” Ann Romney wasn’t running for any office.

The feminism of women like the authors of this memo is little more than a tool to promote Democrats and other left-liberals. We saw this with the allegations that Joe Biden sexually harassed a female staff member, and we see it with “We Have Her Back.”

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