At first I simply brushed off last week’s news of Hillary Clinton’s supposed “meltdown” during her stop in the Democratic Republic of Congo as another attempt of media over exaggeration in return for page views. But the nasty headlines kept coming, and the bad cable news commentators kept talking, but no one was saying anything of substance. The pantsuits; again with the pantsuits.
My dear friend Meg White, a Chicago-based reporter, summed up my sentiments exactly in her BuzzFlash post. Not only does Clinton get the usual sexist treatment by the media (Sorry, Jon Stewart. I love ya, but I gotta disagree with you on this one), but if you watch the video, the headlines that followed the Q&A incident completely differ from the tone in the room. The audience seems in support of Clinton’s response to the question.
As Meg points out in her story: “Indeed, the saddest part of this treatment is what the story coming out of Clinton’s visit to the DRC should be, but isn’t. On her way there she seemed eager to bring attention to the widespread culture of sexual violence that flourishes in Eastern Congo.”
The whole thing seems to drive the sexism reality home – the fact that one of Clinton’s goals was call out and denounce the systematic rape of women and burning of villages filled with women and children amid the conflict between the United Nations-backed Congolese army and the Hutu rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (as well as the Ugandan rebel force), and all the mainstream Western media can focus on is how she sharply put an end to an inappropriate question (even if supposedly misspoken or mistranslated… or not). Because the rape of women isn’t as fun to report on as a bitchy woman is, huh?
To learn more about Clinton’s DRC visit, check out the videos on the State Department’s site.