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D.C. Journos Win Awards for Alleged Sexism

Not all awards are meant for resumés.

Some Washington journalists are among those getting recognized for being sexist in their political coverage. Name It. Change It., a non-partisan project of She Should RunWomen’s Media Center, and Political Parity that aims to combat what they call “widespread” sexism in the media, began publicly informing winners this morning on Twitter.

Among the award winners: HuffPost Social Media Editor Ethan Klapper for an allegedly sexist slideshow; HuffPost Style fashion writers Lauren Rothman and Christina Wilkie for what the organization deems as sexist fashion reporting; and FNC “The Five’s” Greg Gutfeld and Kimberly Guilfoyle for referring to Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as “frizzilla.” Guilfoyle remarked, “I gave up perms a long time ago.”

We reached out to HuffPost for reaction. Klapper had no comment and referred me to HuffPost Publicist Rhoades Alderson. The others did not immediately respond to our request. UPDATE: See a comment from Alderson after the jump…

Name It. Change It. gave HuffPost their Award For Creating Sexist Standards For Women in PoliticsThey write that HuffPost Politics invited readers to tweet captions for an AP picture of Sec. of State Hillary Clinton dancing in South Africa. The problem was, they said, the suggested captions included several blow jobs jokes curated together in a slideshow titled #ClintonCaptionContest. The sexist watchdog group (and we hope they don’t find the word “dog” sexist) goes after HuffPost‘s Wilkie and Rothman for their critiques of Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s (R-Minn.) wardrobe. Rothman actually compliments the lawmaker’s clothing choices, calling them “glam,” but says she could have had just a little bit more of a “feminine touch.” Wilkie says perhaps wearing more red would have done the trick. (Is red some sort of new code for sexist?) But when Bachmann lost the GOP presidential primary, Rothman said, “When her numbers when down, she should have brought down her neckline. Might have helped.” (Okay, well that one was sexist, but at least they didn’t say she should’ve shown more of her rack.)

The group acknowledges that HuffPost also ridiculed Herman Cain and Rick Perry (who, last time we checked, have penises.)

In 2010, Human Events won a sexist accolade from the organization for their “Babes of the DNC Calendar” in which they describe Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as “mesmerizing spiced beef.” Name It. Change It. insists the feature was “dehumanizing.”

See this year’s full award list here.

UPDATE: When Name It. Change It. received a lot of blowback for these so-called sexist awards, they acknowledged that HuffPost indeed has reporters who are not sexist in their journalist. They added to their website:

“The Huffington Post indeed is a large organization with many different journalists and departments. We acknowledge that there is not media sexism directed at women candidates and politicians across all of The Huffington Post’s channels.

In fact, there are journalists with sterling credentials who cover issues of importance both to women and women in politics. Reporters Amanda Terkel and Laura Bassett bring sophistication to their work and have a deep understanding of sexist media culture. Every outlet would benefit from reporters of their caliber Upon further consideration, Name It. Change It. is giving our Award For Creating Sexist Standards For Women In Politics to five “winners” at The Huffington Post. The award will now be shared by Ethan Klapper, politics social media editor at The Huffington Post Politics and Lauren Rothman, Christina Wilkie, Ellie Krupnick and Jessica Misener of Huffington Post Style for the cumulative sexist impact of their work in The Huffington Post that focused on the appearance of women in politics, rather than their policies.”

(But again, ridiculously, Wilkie gets the award for saying Bachmann might want to wear more red? Please.)

From HuffPost Publicist Rhoades Alderson: “We agree with WMC when it says, ‘there are journalists with sterling credentials who cover issues of importance both to women and women in politics. Reporters Amanda Terkel and Laura Bassett bring sophistication to their work and have a deep understanding of sexist media culture. Every outlet would benefit from reporters of their caliber.’”

From Planned Parenthood President Cecilia Richards:

To whom it may concern,
It has come to our attention that the Women’s Media Center’s Name It. Change It.
project, which tracks sexist media coverage of women candidates and politicians, has
given The Huffington Post the 2012 Award for Creating Sexist Standards for Women in Politics. Although I realize it may not have factored into these awards, I would like to draw your attention to the excellent job The Huffington Post has done covering the ongoing assault on women’s health and rights over the past several years. For example, for two years in a row, writers from The Huffington Post have been awarded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Maggie Award for Media Excellence in the category of Online Reporting. The annual Maggie Awards recognize exceptional contributions by the media that enhance the public’s understanding of reproductive rights and health care issues, including contraception, sex education, teen pregnancy, abortion, and international family planning. In 2012, Laura Bassett was chosen for an Online Reporting Maggie for her coverage of the recent attacks on women’s health, including the Catholic bishops’ influence on legislation and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation defunding controversy; and in 2011, Ryan Grim was chosen for his piece, “Behind the Assault on Planned Parenthood”. In the past few years, we have seen many commendable stories from the Post educating readers on women’s health and women’s issues at the state, federal, and global levels, and The Huffington Post regularly reports on issues of women’s health and rights before other media outlets. Based on The Huffington Post’s strong and sustained record of reporting on serious issues that affect women’s health and rights, we respectfully disagree with your decision about this award. I hope you will acknowledge the excellent job the Post has done in covering women’s issues and the recent legislative assaults on women’s health.
Sincerely,
Cecile Richards
President

 

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