Watch Out For ‘Coded Sexism’ If Hillary Runs

By Ann McFeatters
Tribune News Service.

I would like to discuss Hillary Clinton’s impending announcement that she is running for president, but, frankly, I am afraid.

If I posit that she is ambitious, driven or a lovely grandmother, it will be taken as “coded sexism.” If I say she is brilliant, well-organized and aging beautifully, it will be seen as sycophantic.

Folks, we are getting into a new etymological (study of words) quagmire here, and it is sort of scary. How, you ask, will the popular (or not) media handle this?

My betting is that it will be treated with all the gusto, political correctness, ineptitude, posturing and ridiculousness you would expect from the media. And in the end, everything will be said about the former secretary of state that is condescending, obnoxious, sexist and rude and everything will be said about the former first lady that is hyperbolic, ostentatiously pretentious and over the moon.

Having covered every presidential election since 1974, I know that the preferred metaphor is the horse race. (For a brief period in 2012, it was neck-and-neck between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.) If the horse race analogy doesn’t work, we go to the boxing ring.

Geraldine Ferraro’s vice presidential bid was “down for the count” after her press conference in which she tried to explain her husband’s murky financial affairs.

But some of Hillary’s “people” (she won’t have actual paid aides in her campaign for a few days until she announces) are telling reporters they don’t want any “coded sexism” in the coverage of their beloved politician.

Some blogger who is a big Hillary supporter from 2008 let fly by email a list of words he warned reporters not to use when writing about the next Clinton candidacy.

When this overwrought nugget was tweeted out by a New York Times reporter, the airwaves palpitated with 1) speculation this could hurt Hillary because the sensitive media would be furious; 2) outraged claims that such a blogger has absolutely no connection to Hillary and was just stirring things up; 3) assurances that when the real campaign aides come on board such missteps won’t happen.

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