Multiple times over the years on various mainstream cable outlets I came away from a TV hit feeling beaten down and shamed because of my worldview. One time, after suggesting that a lot of men are still grappling with understanding what the new #MeToo rules are (think Aziz Ansari or Al Franken), liberal panelists acted like I was a potential predator who had just defended Harvey Weinstein. Another time, during what felt like the zillionth segment about the 2017 Women’s March, I suggested that young working-class men are arguably facing greater challenges than women. I noted that they are being left behind by women who attain higher education levels and are increasingly deemed “unmarriageable.” Instead of being applauded for offering a counterintuitive insight, this assertion was mocked and dismissed by the host.
On another occasion, I got into two fights with two different hosts on the same day because I dared to refer to the protesters who chased Ted Cruz and his wife out of a DC restaurant as a “mob.” The second time, things got so heated that CNN’s Don Lemon, whom I generally got along well with, told me to “shut up.” This was sort of like Whoopi Goldberg telling McCain, “Girl, please stop talking!” except, unlike McCain, I was not a co-host.
What I experienced was par for the course (politics ain’t beanbag), though still frustrating on a day-to-day basis. Others have suffered far worse. I recall one occasion a few years ago, when I was on set with a bunch of panelists, including a full-fledged pro-MAGA pundit. During our segment, one of his female interlocutors feigned filing her nails on the split screen as he talked. Things were even worse when the camera went off, when not one but two of his female counterparts took turns berating him. He tried to patch things up and extricate himself, but they wouldn’t permit him to squirm away. I went to the bathroom, only to find one of the other panelists, a prominent liberal commentator, lingering there. As I approached the urinal, he explained to me he wasn’t there to go: “I’m just hiding.”