Many remember the flak Candy Crowley got for notably interjecting (or as some would call moderating) during the October 16 debate at Hofstra University. She corrected Governor Romney on Obama’s statements regarding the September 11 Libyan attack, but conceded to his point that the White House’s buzz over the event generated confusion following the President’s address. If you missed it, check out my previous blog post here.
Brahm Resnick-the moderator for the Carmon/Flake debate-referenced Crowley’s statement. After some tough exchanges between the candidates, he noted “…geez, now I know how Candy Crowley felt.” In response, Carmona leaned over, patted Resnick’s arm, and candidly added, “you’re prettier than her.”
Buzz the alarm, call the Times, and shout it from the rooftops: Carmona called a man pretty! Or, was it that Carmona’s rude remarks about Crowley angered viewers? Did this play into Flake’s ads painting Dr. Carmona as “angry” towards women? Flake’s ad against Carmona describes him as having anger-management issues about his previous female employer. Needless to say, the Carmona camp took quite a lot of heat regarding his offensive comments towards Crowley and issued an apology stating: “I tried to tell a joke to lighten the mood in a debate. I shouldn’t have, and I am sorry.”
To be honest, I can’t shake the feeling that Carmona’s statement was issued in response to the camp’s need to appease people’s homophobic sentiment and not out of respect for Candy Crowley. To be clear, I am not defending Carmona. But after all, had Carmona said “you’re prettier that her” and not leaned in to touch Resnick’s arm, would the media have reacted similarly? Maybe, but history suggests that probably not. Blatant sexism in politics has never been shunned before and it’s dishonest to say it has been here. Let’s look at the remarks about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in 2008? Any apologies then?
Conventional wisdom suggests that, on the aggregate, people do support LGBTQ rights in the United States. In instances such as this, I fear there is still more work to be done.
Joshua D. Wodka