The New Old Boys Club

Hey, did you get the memo? All of the influential young pundits in Washington D.C. are young and male, and at not-quite-30 they’re already looking back on their younger days and opining on what’s changed and how far they’ve come. So that’s cool.

Ann Friedman has a great parody response, noting that lady-journos have been around all this time, without much recognition. Journalists of color have also been around for a while; they also aren’t getting cable news spots.

None of this is to take away from the hard work that writers like Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Brian Beutler, Dave Weigel, etc etc have put in. Those guys are all really smart; they’ve all hustled and put in all kinds of time and effort to get where they are. They are all immensely talented writers and thinkers.

But there are lots of women and non-white people who have put in time and effort too, and who have hustled just as hard. The focus, though, still remains on the “juicebox mafia” guys — they’re the ones being asked to be on TV; they’re the ones getting newspaper columns; they’re the ones getting New York Times articles written about them. Again, that isn’t to take away from the great work those dudes have done, but it is to say: Why isn’t there more room at the table for people who don’t look like those guys? Why are the only women mentioned in the article either (a) older “establishment journalism” women who are portrayed as nay-saying bitter bitches, or (b) fiancees of the men in the article? (Despite the fact that Annie Lowrey, who is engaged to Ezra Klein, is a successful journalist in her own right?).

Ann lists a lot of women (and not just white women!) who could have been covered just as easily: Annie Lowrey, a reporter for Slate; Suzy Khimm and Kate Sheppard, reporters for Mother Jones; Marin Cogan, a reporter for Politico; Phoebe Connelly, a freelance writer and former web editor for The American Prospect; Britt Peterson, an editor at Foreign Policy; Dayo Olopade, a writer for The Daily Beast, Kay Steiger and Shani Hilton, editors at Campus Progress; Kat Aaron, a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Workshop; Monica Potts, a blogger for The American Prospect; Amanda Terkel, a reporter for The Huffington Post; and Laura McGann and Sara Libby, editors for Politico. There are also men of color in DC who are doing fantastic work, like Adam Serwer and Jamelle Bouie at the American Prospect.

In other news, Bob Herbert has left the New York Times, and they’re looking for a replacement columnist. No offense, white dudes, but I hope the Times doesn’t pick one of you. I’d love to see Herbert’s spot filled with someone like Dahlia Lithwick or Ta-Nehisi Coates. Who else?

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Gender, Media & Media Literacy, Politics, Race & Ethnicity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The New Old Boys Club

  1. Fingon Celebrindal says:

    “All of the influential young pundits in Washington D.C. are young and male,”

    It should have been
    “All of the influential young pundits who matter in Washington D.C. are young and male,”

  2. gretel says:

    @Fingon Clebrindal: Unless they are engaged to one of the pundits, and then they matter for that–not for the fact that they have their own journalistic career and write for a major blog.

  3. I have to say that I do not understand this degree of clubby sexism and exclusionary. But then again, there’s something thoroughly rotten about East Coast elitist attitudes, which are never based on merit. It doesn’t surprise me that the world of the DC insider has never really changed in all these years.

  4. Exclusionary attitudes, rather.

  5. Tony says:

    I love this quote.

    Mr. Klein is engaged to Annie Lowrey, a 26-year-old reporter for Slate. “They’ve grown up,” Ms. Lowrey said of her fiancé and his cohorts. “They’re not spring chickens anymore.”

    No one else could have provided that little pearl of wisdom.

  6. Alison says:

    I’d love to see Melissa Harris-Perry get the spot – her writing in The Nation is basically always awesome and I’ve been pleased to see her on Maddow’s show more often, too. She’s smart and insightful, with a great wit to boost.

    Lithwick or TNC would also be good choices, for sure. I’m reeeeeally hoping the Times doesn’t let us down, but….not holding my breath, sadly.

  7. delagar says:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, yes. If he would do it? He’s working on a book now I think.

    Every time I read him I swear I feel myself getting smarter.

    As opposed to, say, David Brooks, or that Friedman guy, who every time I read them I get more and more ignorant.

  8. DAS says:

    delagar:
    Ta-Nehisi Coates, yes.If he would do it? He’s working on a book now I think.

    Every time I read him I swear I feel myself getting smarter.

    As opposed to, say, David Brooks, or that Friedman guy, who every time I read them I get more and more ignorant.

    In other words the NYT will not hire TNC. The NYT would rather complain about how they can’t get any money because nobody is willing to pay for anything anymore (“kids today with their intertubes and younets … they want everything to be free”) than actually hire smart people to write about things that matter in ways that make sense … and, you know, maybe actually have content worth paying for. Nope … can’t have that. What did you think? The purpose of a newspaper was actually to inform people?

  9. ShawnaV says:

    I don’t read the NY times. But I do read ya’ll n Huffpo. Why not do a piece on the new class of lady/P.O.C. Journalists?

  10. shrimplate says:

    Lindsay Beyerstein.

    ‘Nuff said.

  11. Draft Lindsay. I’m totally on board with that.

  12. Jim says:

    “But there are lots of women and non-white people who have put in time and effort too, and who have hustled just as hard. ”

    And some who don’t come out of the Ivy League puppy mill! But start with women and non-whites because that’s where the fight is – that’s what visible, that’s what will have the most impact. The non-Ivy League wave of diversity depends on the first.

    TNC would considerably raise the tone at the NYT. But why does the world have to revolve around the NYT and all those East Coast sacred cows?

    ShawnaV: I don’t read the NY times. But I do read ya’ll n Huffpo. Why not do a piece on the new class of lady/P.O.C. Journalists?

    Amen!

  13. Tim says:

    How about Patricia Williams?

  14. trevayne says:

    Hilzoy late of Obsidian Wings

  15. Jane says:

    I wanted to send this to Jill in an email, but couldn’t figure out how to contact her. Maybe I am sensitive to societal notions that women of color are not really women, but I found this phrasing awkward:

    “But there are lots of women and non-white people….”

    Shouldn’t that read women and non-white men? Wouldn’t women include non-white women? I am sure it was not intentional, but this seems to imply women = white women, and women of color fall under “non-white people.” I think we need to do better.

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