Is Shielding Sarah Palin Sexist?By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
Viewers of CNN’s prime-time program, “Campbell Brown: Election Center,” might have been surprised last night to see the host rip into the McCain campaign.
Like an Arctic blast, Ms. Brown slammed the campaign for sequestering Sarah Palin from reporters — and blamed their behavior on sexism.
“I call upon the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment,” Ms. Brown declared.
“This woman is from Alaska, for crying out loud,” she went on. “She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now.”
McCain aides had no comment Wednesday as they focused on the financial crisis.
Ms. Brown said in an interview that her commentary was part of a broader effort by CNN that includes fact-checks and truth-squads to “cut through the bull and the misinformation” that have permeated the entire campaign.
Asked whether CNN felt a need to be edgier, since it’s up against opinion on MSNBC and FOX, she said no.
“They are both partisan and bringing their partisan views into what they do, and that’s not what we’re doing,” she said. “I don’t see it as opinion. For me, it’s about accountability. I’m approaching this as a journalist,” she said, adding that she would take on Senator Barack Obama when she thinks he crosses the line.
And yes, by the way, she does think that the McCain campaign is being sexist about Ms. Palin. “The McCain campaign says that if she were a man, the media would not be treating her this way,” she said. “So it’s fair of me to ask, if she were a man, would they be coddling her this way?”
Readers who posted comments on the CNN Web site had mixed reactions. “If it’s provocative,” Ms. Brown said, “that’s a good thing.”