MATTHEWS: Another media double standard for Republican women that needs to go away

Kayleigh McEnany speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Last week, Bloomberg News reporter Nancy Cook noted on her Twitter feed that iconic fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz was seen at the White House. According to Cook, Leibovitz was there to take photos of President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki “for an upcoming magazine profile.”

No big deal in the scheme of things. These glowing profiles of Democratic women are frequently done in fashion magazines and in mainstream media publications. We’ve gotten so used to them, in fact, that unless you’re a big fan of the woman being profiled you rarely, if ever, give the story a second glance.

But during the Fox News “Outnumbered” program Friday, former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked to weigh in on the double standards shown by the media during the Trump administration towards Republican women and mothers in leadership positions compared to the puff pieces Democratic women in similar roles often get. And she brought up a point that I think is worth amplifying, because it’s a persistent issue that needs to change.

While McEnany stated emphatically that “we need investigative journalism” and not “fawning coverage,” she also flashed back to how New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman lovingly touted a December 2020 Glamour magazine profile of then-Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, who talked about juggling motherhood and being a presidential campaign manager at the same time.

“Putting aside everything else, it is rare to hear a woman speaking unapologetically and unselfconsciously about life having kids and an intense job,” Haberman tweeted, apparently forgetting that there were numerous women in the Trump White House, like McEnany, who are also mothers with pretty demanding jobs.

McEnany’s response to Haberman’s tweet included no words. Instead, she tweeted a photo of herself smiling while pushing her infant daughter Blake in a stroller in the White House while carrying two shoulder bags that were packed full, after what appeared to be a long day at the office.

McEnany also recalled how at one point, the New York Times took photos of several female Trump campaign figures back in 2016 for a piece that never got published by the paper.

“We kept waiting for the story to pop. It never did because it just simply wasn’t negative enough,” McEnany noted.

We kept waiting for the story to pop. It never did because it just simply wasn’t negative enough.

Her point was not, “Hey, where’s MY elegant magazine profile, you jerks?”, as some of her critics predictably suggested. Instead, it was about the respect that Republican women had not demanded but earned — respect which is not shown by the Usual Suspects in the media and on the left.

Republican women, especially mothers, are often treated as though their opinions are irrelevant, because they don’t march in lockstep with the left, and therefore aren’t worthy of praise and appreciation. Why is this considered okay?

What happened to the respect that is supposed to be shown towards women who have differing viewpoints?

If you’re a media outlet that is going to do a fawning piece on a Democrat mother, there’s nothing wrong with that. But how about at the very least acknowledging from time to time that there are hard-working Republican moms out there as well, many who are also doing the tough balancing act between motherhood and work?

This is one more on a long list of double standards employed by the media that needs to change and change soon.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.