In her latest op-ed for the New York Times, feminist commentator Jill Filipovic contends that the slew of sexual-misconduct allegations against leading journalists proves that media sexism — rather than crippling unpopularity and a coinciding populist wave — cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. As evidence, she points out that several disgraced male journalists asked the candidate pointed questions and interrupted her last year.
Not only is this explanation for Clinton’s loss a poor one, but by comparing sexual misconduct to entirely normal journalistic conduct, Filipovic downplays the seriousness of the former.
Filipovic is absolutely right to criticize what she terms the “deep cultural rot that has corroded nearly all of our institutions.” She is right, too, to avoid suggesting that this rot is a partisan phenomenon or that it stems from right-wing anti-woman sentiment; to my knowledge, Filipovic has declined to play favorites and condemn conservative figures such as Roy Moore for their sexual misdeeds while excusing perpetrators on the left such as John Conyers and Al Franken. And she compellingly details how the sexual objectification of women creeps into workplaces and changes the way men treat their female colleagues — even when such treatment falls short of harassment or assault.