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Saturday, February 11, 2023
MRC Hides Factual Basis Of Colbert Joke It Bashed
Topic: Media Research Center

As part of the Media Research Center's complaining that non-right-wing media pointed out how far-right the Republican opposition to Kevin McCarthy as House speaker was, Alex Christy served up a side complaint about a joke in a Jan. 10 post:

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert tried and failed during his Tuesday show to use Republican infighting during the Speaker battle to play the sexism card by suggesting there was a double standard present.

Recalling the fourteenth and penultimate ballot, Colbert recalled, “After that, all pluperfect hell broke loose. A furious [Kevin] McCarthy got out of his seat, walked up the aisle, and got into a yelling match with [Matt] Gaetz.”

Advertising for a parodic show, Colbert moved on with an exaggerated McCarthy impression, ‘You can catch all the drama on the new Bravo hit: The Real House Guys of D.C. No, no. No! uh-uh, I'm not here to make friends. Because I'm Kevin McCarthy, and no one will be my friend.’” 

While showing some C-SPAN footage, Colbert recalled, “then it got even dramatic-er, when McCarthy ally Mike Rogers approached the scrum and then-- where it is, right here-- and appeared to lunge at Matt Gaetz, and then was quickly pulled away.”

Colbert reacted to this confrontation with fake horror, “Oh, my god. I don't know if men should hold political office. They're just too emotional! You know what I mean? They're just... hormones, I guess. I just-- it's just-- it's the damn-- it's their damn hormones.”

The point Colbert is trying to make is not literally that men should be banned for public office because of testosterone. He is trying to ironically suggest a double standard, arguing that less sophisticated people believe women are not as qualified because they are hormonal. Of course, he cannot point to anyone of any relevance to back up this accusation or rebut the obvious point that most people vote based off party label. As it is, the man who called Kellyanne Conway “Satan’s trophy wife” should hold off on accusing other people of sexism.

Christy either didn't do his research or did research and hid it -- but it turns out that Colbert's joke has a basis in fact. CBS reported on a 2019 study on Americans' attitudes toward female politicians:

A Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) analysis of the General Social Survey, a broad study of attitudes and opinions conducted every two years, found that 13 percent of Americans still have serious doubts about women's emotional suitability for political office. And while that number represents a substantial decline in the bias against women in politics since the 1970s, it still represents a real hurdle for women running for office. 

Republicans were almost three times as likely as Democrats to believe that men were better suited emotionally for politics than women. 


Case in point: Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton marketed herself as the most experienced candidate to ever run for president, but was dogged by questions concerning her temperament and general likability. 

It was a problem female candidates commonly face: Women in politics need to be strong and decisive, but doing so risks making voters uncomfortable by pushing the boundaries of typical gender norms, according to CEW.

A successful, powerful woman could risk coming off as shrill and demanding. At the same time, she could read as too soft on serious issues facing the country such as national security or defense.  

That's right -- the idea that a woman is not emotionally fit to hold office is more likely to be held by a Republican than a Democrat. So Christy's right-splaining the joke in an attempt to make it less funny backfired because a full explanation actually shows it to be quite a hoot.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 AM EST

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