Eric Boehlert throws a victory parade for the liberal blogosphere to celebrate its great triumph over Chris Matthews, who apologized to Hillary Clinton the other day for saying that she owes her Senate seat and subsequent political career to her husband’s affair because it caused people to vote for her out of pity.
It was a dumb thing to say. Obviously many factors contributed to Hillary’s win in New York in 2000, and sure enough the comment prompted lefties to generate a “blog swarm” of rage directed at Matthews for being so sexist. How dare he suggest that Hillary won an election, not on her strength as a candidate, but because voters felt sorry for the poor, helpless woman who had been so mistreated by a man?
I mean, that’s a pretty sexist thing to say, right? It would be like if someone said that Hillary won the New Hampshire primary because voters felt sorry for her, because all the mean attacks on her in the press after her third-place finish in Iowa made her cry, and because Chris Matthews was especially mean, calling her names like “she-devil” and “Nurse Ratched.” But who would come up with a theory like that?
The notion that Matthews’ sexists attacks on Clinton had created a media backlash among voters in New Hampshire was now taking root online, and the narrative was being met with a torrent of enthusiasm, as bloggers, who days earlier had been bitterly protesting the media’s coverage of Clinton, were now, in light of her surprising win, turning that bitterness into glee and racing to tag Matthews as the villain, as well as the night’s big loser.
“The importance of tonight’s win can not be understated. It was a revolt of women sick and tired of the likes of Chris Tweety Matthews and the Media Misogynists. Their hatred of Hillary Clinton was soundly rejected by the voters,” announced TalkLeft, an influential liberal blog published out of Denver, Colorado, by defense attorney Jeralyn E. Merritt. […]
“The gender bias, this was stuff that women bloggers had been writing about for some time and now the Clinton coverage was proof of what we’ve known all along,” says [Pam] Spaulding. “Even though I would prefer not to see Hillary Clinton as president, I do no want to see that kind of discourse on the talking heads programs. You expected the Republicans to slap her like that. But the fact that you had purportedly objective members of the media pontificating like that, it was almost like a gang up on her. It truly was unacceptable.”
Right after highlighting the TalkLeft posting, Spaulding, whose day job is an IT manager at Duke University Press, saw NBC’s Brian Williams discussing the New Hampshire vote on MSNBC and wondering out loud if there had been a Bradley effect.
“That was the first effect that came to mind, but I don’t think in the end that is what caused it,” she says. Instead, at 11:50 p.m. ET, Spaulding suggested on her blog that a brand new phenomenon had been on display in New Hampshire — “The Tweety Effect”: “where the misogyny of a talking head in the MSM so enrages a demographic that they go out and vote in a manner that will put egg on the face of the talking head.”
According to this theory, Clinton won in New Hampshire not on her own merits, but because she was ill-treated by a man. It was not about her, it was about Chris Matthews. Just like her Senate victory was not about her, it was about another man who mistreated her. So sexist. I demand an apology.