The Biden campaign expects record levels of sexism and, likely, racism when Joe announces his Vice Presidential candidate. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, in a recent campaign phonecall, called on everyone on the campaign to defend the candidate.
That means Balloon Juice, too, although I think nobody here was on that phonecall. Get ready.
The announcement of the candidate is coming this week or next. And then the “fun” begins.
Kelsey Suter, a disinformation researcher with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, is helping women’s groups identify sexist memes that begin in private or semiprivate social media groups, so they can point to the origins if they become mainstream.
When Biden makes his announcement, Suter said, she expects “a flood of content playing on common sexist tropes: portraying her as crazy, untrustworthy, unqualified, dumb, or sexual — claiming she is angry, or extreme, or perhaps that she ‘slept her way to the top.’ ”
Suter said if past patterns hold, social media users will be bombarded with content saying the nominee is a liar or will say anything to get ahead. Images will be manipulated, showing her with crazy-looking eyes or in sexualized poses, said Suter, who added she has already seen such content in difficult-to-access corners of the Internet.
What can we do about it? A lot.
I intend to post and tweet as I see necessary. That is not simply quote-tweeting the attacks with or without comment. The pushback has to be more substantive, and it should avoid repeating the words of the attack, because repeating them reinforces them, even if you don’t intend to.
For all of us: get informed. Margaret Sullivan has a very good column about how the media should respond. There are ideas there for all of us to think about in our communications.
Get informed about the candidate’s record and virtues. Then broadcast them far and wide when an attack comes, whether it’s from a relative or on social media. Again, avoid referencing the attack if you can.
Contact media executives and object to poor coverage. From Sullivan,
But as we cringe, we also can get better at identifying and calling out the problem. A group of influential women including former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, who call themselves “We Have Her Back,” sent a letter to top news executives last week demanding a new approach — and more thoughtful preparation, starting now.
We can do that too.
And let’s talk about it here. I’ll be posting as I think necessary, and if you’ve got something you want featured, send it to me via the standard contact.