This could just be a sad but predictable trio of entries in a long series called What Women Journalists Were Forced to Endure This Week.
It could be, and in some ways it is, but it’s something else too.
Because in each of these stories, something awesome happened: The women fought back in brilliant ways.
Pretty terrible, right? But Olivia Nuzzi’s column chronicling the whole ordeal not only puts this guy in his place, it is a brilliant analysis of what politics has become in the Age of Trump:
Among people who exist publicly, like reporters do, “Don’t read the comments!” is a common refrain. It’s a suggestion that by ignoring the segment of the population who hide behind their computer screens and spout off, you can render them powerless.
At one point, that might’ve been true.
But it’s no longer a question of what the journalist—who chose a career that invites public criticism—can handle.
We are now existing in the post-shame era of American politics, where the comments have come alive—and they’re running for office.
A Minneapolis news anchor was reporting on the story of Jacob Wetterling, a young boy who disappeared in 1989. Jana Shortall treated the story with a kind of elegance you don’t often see in local broadcast news — Wetterling’s disappearance “changed us … It made us different kids, it made us different parents,” she said. But a columnist for the Star Tribune didn’t care much about what Shortall had to say; she was focused on what Shortall had to wear. Her jeans were “inappropriate” and “downright jarring,” the columnist wrote.
Shortall’s response, like Nuzzi’s, was perfect. A snippet:
You made it about my pants.
You. You, whose name I will never write again.
You. You with the column I will not link to.
You. The bully with the keyboard who took this night, this story, and made into gossip about my pants.
Shame on you.
This is something that men and women journalists alike have to deal with: political operatives who will try to advance a narrative regardless of the facts. But when a Donald Trump adviser tried to downplay Trump’s yearslong flirtation with birtherism, NBC’s Katy Tur was having none of it.
Tur repeatedly called Jack Kingston out for interrupting her and trying to speak over her, and methodically detailed countless interactions she’s had from more than a year on the campaign trail that refuted what Kingston was saying.
Some of these interactions are hard to read and watch, but I’ll take the silver lining: Though it’s common for women reporters to face everything from outright rape threats to petty fixations on their outfits, it’s becoming just as common for them to feel empowered enough to call this behavior out and shut it down.
What VOSD Learned This Week
We published this guide to the 14 local #bananasballot measures as early as we could so that you’d have time to work your way through it. Some of the measures are complicated and dense, some are not all that sexy, but they’re all begging for a decision by you – so get to studying!
One of those complicated measures is the one being offered by the Chargers, who want voters to approve their plan for a new downtown stadium. Scott Lewis found that one of the claims being offered by Chargers’ supporters as to why people should embrace the measure is misleading.
Even if you set the prospect of a new stadium aside for a second, the neighborhood where one would go – East Village – has seen an enormous amount of change over the last decade. Now, one of the last remnants of the neighborhood’s reputation as a haven for artists is on its way out.
There have been many stories over the last few years about police departments scrambling to clear their backlog of untested rape kits. San Diego is not one of them. It’s not because it doesn’t have a backlog – it has 2,400 untested kits by its own admission. It’s because unlike other departments that are instituting policies to test all kits, SDPD doesn’t think doing so is valuable or efficient.
Voters in Poway won’t have to wrangle with all the citywide San Diego measures on the ballot, but they will have to get to know the nine school board candidates vying for two seats. Here’s something to help that process along.
What I’m Reading
• A stunning read about what happened on board Air Force One on Sept. 11, 2001, when it was the only plane in the sky. (Politico Mag)
• Turns out, “bite mark analysis” – which has been used to put lots of people in prison, sometimes for life – is actually garbage science. (The Intercept)
• This examination of New York City’s ambitious universal pre-K program hits at something much bigger – the very nature of government services in America. (The Atlantic)
• This story about how often and how casually police departments dismiss rape reports as “unfounded” is infuriating. (Buzzfeed)
Line of the Week
“In the end, it isn’t in anyone’s interest to call bullshit.” – How the culture of Silicon Valley kept the myth of Theranos alive for so long, from a pretty epic story about the company’s downfall.