GUEST POST: The Dispatch‘s Disgraceful Disservice to Women
by: Seth Bringman

I had the pleasure of touring the Dispatch newsroom at the beginning of my tenure as Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director. What struck me the most from the visit was that there was only one female reporter in the bureau frat house, something I couldn’t help but focus on in recent days.

Having worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, I am incredibly sensitive to the media’s failure to identify sexism and call it out when they see it. Last week, “Ohio’s Greatest Home Newspaper” seemed to up the ante, actually defending our Governor following his comments that political wives are “heroes” because, for instance, “they’re at home, doing the laundry.”

Further demonstrating his women-do-the-laundry worldview, John Kasich has used his official capacity as governor to brag about how others tell him he has a “hot wife” and describe how she’s busy “working out” and “makes the little decisions” like “what [they] eat” while he makes the “big decisions” as governor.

What’s the Dispatch‘s response to our Governor? Call the exterminator, Columbus; the editorial chambers at 3rd & Broad are infested with crickets.

With men filling the positions of Publisher, CEO, President, Chief Operating Officer, Editor, Editorial Page Editor, and all three political columnists, the Dispatch just doesn’t seem to care when John Kasich tries to put women in their place. Similarly, their crew can’t possibly understand that efforts to eliminate weekend early voting are nothing less than modern-day Jim Crow tactics. Jon and Johnny, the Dispatch‘s favorite good-ole-white-boys, can do no wrong.

For our Governor, though, it goes far beyond just having a 1950s foot in his mouth. He has been widely criticized for having few females in his Cabinet, not to mention the fury of legislation he has signed limiting a woman’s right to choose. And he is a proud supporter of a national ticket that wants to redefine rape and limit access to birth control. Queue the Y chromosome-bearing crickets again.

Judging by his comments and his record, I’ll go ahead and say that John Kasich is possibly the most sexist governor in America, outpacing vaginal ultrasound pioneer Bob McDonnell of Virginia. But Governor Kasich has countered such charges, saying that he can’t possibly hold sexist views because (are you ready for this?) he is married to a woman. Perhaps that explanation suffices for the Dispatch.

Let’s also not forget that during his 2000 presidential “campaign,” he angrily threw hot coffee on a female aide. If only she hadn’t forgotten to add the fabric softener, he perhaps thought, he could have become President.

That story – it is well known in political circles – was passed up by the Dispatch, which must have reasoned that Ohio voters didn’t deserve to know how their would-be governor treats his former female employees.  Instead, the story was written by a female reporter at the less-read Other Paper, which (in one of life’s greatest ironies) has since been bought out by the Dispatch.

Beyond #coffeegate, I have it on good authority that in 2010, our Governor attended a reception at which he asked a local female elected official whether or not she worked outside the home.  Given his recent comments, I can only assume he thought she should have been home doing the laundry.

Indeed, John Kasich has left a trail of women in Ohio and across America who he has treated like second-class citizens. He’s notoriously rude to female servers, and his perpetual mistreatment of fellow human beings earned him the heavily trafficked Facebook group, “John Kasich Treated Me Like Crap.” These stories are well-documented, albeit not by Ohio’s Greatest Home Newspaper.

When free-thinking Central Ohioans use the term “Columbus Disgrace” or tweet replies to @DispatchAlerts, it’s not only because we are lefties who disagree with an agenda-driven media empire. It’s also because the newspaper isn’t the “SERVICE” to the community that the obnoxious sign at Wolfe World Headquarters credits the paper to be. Like John Kasich, the paper is all too often a disservice to Ohioans and, in particular, a disgraceful disservice to women.

One day, if I have anything to say about it, John Kasich will be clearing lint filters while a woman will be making the biggest of “big decisions.” (She will be President.) In the meantime, the boy’s club at the Dispatch should learn – and write – that women are heroes for more than just doing laundry.

Bringman is a Democratic political consultant.

  • Leonidas

    Very well put. We have been highlighting the way that the Dispatch uses subtle (and not so subtle) editorial decisions to shape public perception of a story. Examples include selective editing of wire stories and drawing false equivalences. Just this afternoon we highlighted how the Dispatch buried the lede of Kasich possibly criticizing Romney for his position on taxes.

    We certainly benefit from the perspectives of media professionals on these issues — you guys know how to recognize the tricks of the editorial trade much better.
    We had always proceeded on the assumption that this was an intentional process employed by the Dispatch. But this suggests that the editorial choices may in some instances be the result of the fact that the Dispatch is a “Good Old Boys” club with little outside perspective. Can we pull this apart. And does it matter?
    Thanks for this. Keep up the fight!

  • DublinIrishBob

    I would like to know how many people of color and/or other minorities write for The Dispatch. I may be wrong, but they just don’t seem to have any that I have noticed.

  • oldmomma

    And we NEVER hear from his wife…about ANYTHING…..not even the way he talks about her……don’t know how any woman can vote Republican @ this time in history!

  • Victoria

    Haha I make Johnny cry.

  • Dmoore

    Isn’t this the same guy who called his wife “sweetie” at the most public of all state events, the State-of-the-State address? How telling.

  • clr1390

    One day women in this country are going to wake up and go WTF just happened. The women today do not have a clue that just back in the 70’s women had to have their father or husband sign for them to have a charge card. Most of the young women today are just clueless because they have not lived it…they better wake up, or when things like using birth control will put them in jail, they are going to be shocked.

  • hilt

    why is the dispatch so anti worker

  • Lake Rat

    The most under-reported story of last fall? The Dispatch bought a monopoly on print media in central Ohio- as noted in the article, even The Other Paper. This includes all suburban papers, magazines- you name it. My complaint to the Feebs went nowhere (what across-the-board power for the Wolfe family? Tv, radio, all print…). TG for Plunderbund!

  • Jim Flogelheimer

    Too bad there is a female editor and three females on the public affairs staff as writers. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, though.

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