Many of the big beasts on the US media landscape gushed about Biden’s “history-making” appointments after the Democrat’s transition team announced the selections on Sunday night.
“It is the first time all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female,” the Washington Post reported. NPR said it was “the first time in history” such roles had been filled by women, while a raft of high-profile reporters and commentators from other outlets, including CNN and PBS, eagerly parroted the same claim.
We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing!
Biden hires all-female senior communications team
Congrats, @KBeds, @K_JeanPierre, @jrpsaki, @SymoneDSanders, @pilitobar87 https://t.co/SVwGNHWLAi
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) November 29, 2020
It is the first time that all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female.https://t.co/FbefP43rnt
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) November 29, 2020
However, the excessive backslapping quickly drew the ire of the current administration, and several figures from the White House sought to correct the record by noting that the Trump administration’s communications team is entirely female-led now.
Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, noted that Trump has an all-female senior press team, as do Vice President Mike Pence and First Lady Melania Trump. McEnany is the third successive woman to hold that role for the sitting president.
President @realDonaldTrump already has an ALL FEMALE Senior White House Press Team.
So does @VP…
So does @FLOTUS…
So does @SecondLady…
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) November 30, 2020
The bizarre MSM framing of the matter prompted another Trump adviser, Ben Williamson, to quip: “If anyone wants to know what it’s like having women in leadership roles across the communications board, feel free to reach out to the Trump White House for comment – given that’s been our setup for several months now.”
Media bias in practice.
Biden’s female hires warrant a breaking news alert. Trump’s female hires are ignored. pic.twitter.com/5awDQFo1FD
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) November 30, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the rebuttals did little to change the mainstream narrative, and journalists began pointing to lower-level employees who are men as proof that their reporting was accurate. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times cited Judd Deere as an example in responding to McEnany’s tweet.
Wonder how Judd Deere, who answers most calls to that office, and Morgenstern feel upon learning this https://t.co/9hhSWPNbnj
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 30, 2020
Haberman was seemingly unaware that Deere had already addressed the issue, pointing out that his bosses had always been women during his time in the White House.
Since I arrived at the Trump White House a woman has always been my boss.
First it was Hope Hicks, Mercedes Schlapp, and Sarah Sanders.
Then it was Stephanie Grisham.
And of course currently it’s Kayleigh McEnany and Alyssa Farah.
I guess the media forgot? 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/D6P1iiSCQS
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere) November 30, 2020
Amidst the squabbling, national security commentator Rebeccah Heinrichs noted that the entire discussion was misguided. “I don’t think the male/female ratio thing is a measure of competency. But for those keeping score- For the first time in our history, under Trump, our nuclear enterprise was led by two women; and half of the NSC directorates were led by women,” she said.
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