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Media Still Hasn't Caught Up With This Historic Moment

Media Still Hasn't Caught Up With This Historic Moment


Instead of focusing on the content of Clinton's speech, some pundits criticize the tone of her voice.


Hillary Clinton walked onto Philadelphia's Democratic convention stage Thursday night to officially accept her party's nomination, with a hug from her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

It was a touching moment, and definitely a first -- a daughter introducing her mother to the world as the next president of the United States and then embracing her before stepping offstage.

A Clinton presidency is sure to bring many firsts, as President Obama's did. The most historic of all is that she's the first woman nominated by a major U.S. political party. Still, some media outlets had other things on their minds after Thursday's speech, such as the tone of her voice.

Fox's Brit Hume had a lot of opinions about Clinton's speech, all about her delivery. "She has a habit, when speaking, of breaking into kind of a sharp, lecturing tone," said the pundit on-air. Her delivery sounded like one is being "called into the principal's office to be read the riot act," Hume told his viewers, as Mediaite reported. "She has a great asset as a public person, which is a radiant smile, but she has a not-so-attractive voice," said Hume, without any irony at all.

Everyone agrees that Donald Trump shouted his entire speech when accepting the Republican nomination. But it's still Clinton's voice and laugh that the right wing complains about. National Review's Jonah Goldberg tweeted, "I did not know that infectious could mean 'stabbing sound, like nail file in ear.'" "I can't stand her voice," wrote Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld. He added later, "Even when she says, 'you know,' it's recited like a windup doll." Plus: "She's like an Chinese restaurant at 11 pm: no delivery" and "To best express Hillary's delivery in print: you need lower case, middle case, upper middle case, then upper case, then loud super case."

The criticism directed at Clinton last night wasn't all from the right, as Jezebel reported. Andrew Sullivan, the gay journalist and commentator, was live-blogging from the convention and wrote that he understands Clinton "carries an enormous weight as the first woman presidential candidate" and thus "that makes the usual criticisms of her -- that she's pedestrian, uninspiring, and hectoring at times -- sound sexist."

hillary clinton

No one would disagree with that idea. Sullivan adds a strong but statement following the sentence. "But there were many, many women in this convention who spoke far more memorably than she did, who held the crowd in more rapt attention, who were able to modulate their speeches in ways that helped people understand their message better," wrote Sullivan.

"This is not, in other words, a woman problem; it's a Hillary Clinton problem. She simply doesn't have certain gifts of oratory and connection with people that other more natural politicians do. It's a weakness in a presidential candidate," he continued.

Rachel Maddow, the out MSNBC commentator, spoke out Tuesday, criticizing Bill Clinton for his speech, calling it "not a feminist way to start." The former president referred to his wife as a "girl" multiple times as he recounted how they met and got married. Mostly, Maddow did not appreciate the male gaze of desire through which Clinton told his entire story of a woman who could become the next president of the United States. Very few of her fellow commentators even understood where Maddow was coming from with the criticism. They weren't equipped to engage in a conversation about whether it was feminist.

Tuesday, when Clinton's party officially gave her the presidential nomination for her ticket, many newspapers across the country failed to put her on the front page to honor the historic moment. Instead, many featured the face of Bill Clinton. At least one newspaper apologized.

As a nation we've broached a historic first with Clinton's nomination, and if she wins the election, it will be, of course, another historic moment. But as coverage of the election continues, will the media catch up?

Will more men be conscious of their statements and how they can come off as sexist, as Sullivan acknowledges? Will more women get seats on mainstream networks? Maddow, when positing that Bill Clinton's speech wasn't feminist, looked around at a panel of men.

Watch Hillary Clinton deliver her remarks at the convention below.

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.