Brow Beat

The Daily Show Examines Sexism in Media Coverage of Female Candidates

There are at least five women running for president. That’s a great thing. What’s not so great is that, as Trevor Noah noted on The Daily Show, female candidates have been shown to receive less media coverage than their male counterparts—and the airtime they do receive often has a much, shall we say, shriller tone. With some help from comedian and Daily Show correspondent Desi Lydic, Noah’s segment examined some trends in 2020 election coverage of women, like the repeated allusions to Kamala Harris’ looks and Elizabeth Warren’s “likability problem.”

This media bias has deep roots, extending back to Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s campaign in 1972, when the press mocked her weight, height, and accused her of playing “vaginal politics.” And the problem was on conspicuous display during Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, when she bore the full brunt of political sexism. But this time around, the high number of women running does give Lydic some hope. “There’s safety in numbers,” she said. “That’s why we go to the bathroom together at bars.”