In the run-up to Thursday night’s highly anticipated Republican primary debate, the ongoing feud between Donald Trump and Fox News’s Megyn Kelly has once again heated over charges of bias from the GOP frontrunner. The Washington Post, however, sees something much more sinister at work from Trump. Media writer Erik Wemple believes Trump’s criticisms of Kelly are gender-based:
Trump riffed about Kelly: “I’m not a big fan of hers at all. I don’t care,” said the candidate. “I mean … I might be the best thing that ever happened to her. Who ever even heard of her before the last debate?” …
Wemple then lists all the opportunities people had to hear about Kelly before Trump came along, and sums things up:
As all those Megyn Kelly profiles demonstrate, this is a woman who made her way from Delmar, N.Y., to the top of the No. 1 cable network because of hard work and risk-taking. Nowhere in those profiles is any mention of a “small” $1 million loan given to Kelly by her father, as is the case with Trump. In fact, Kelly’s father died when she was 15, not long after he’d canceled some of his life insurance coverage, as reported by the New York Times.
But yeah, she owes her professional success to big-man billionaire Donald Trump. Why can’t she just thank him?
To paraphrase “The Princess Bride,” I do not think the word sexism means what you think it does.”
In order for Trump to be labeled a sexist, he would have to be guilt of treating women, or in this case Megyn Kelly, different from how he treats the fellas. This spurious sexism charge fails on two levels:
- If you didn’t know who he was talking about, you wouldn’t know Trump is talking about a female.
- Trump plays these kind of psy-ops games with everyone, not just women. To get under the skin of someone he sees as a rival or competitor, he regularly takes credit for either their rise or fall.
Do we really want to get to a place where criticizing a female is de facto sexism?
Actually, that’s exactly where The Washington Post wants to take us.