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Women's Group Says Media Sexism Helped Defeat Warren

Women's advocacy group UltraViolet Action is blaming "sexist media coverage" in large part for Elizabeth Warren's decision Thursday (March 5) to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Various reports had Warren suspending her campaign, though her campaign Web site was still seeking supporters with the rallying cry: "LET’S DREAM BIG, FIGHT HARD, AND WIN."

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"[W]ith earned media driving this election cycle, just as it did in 2016, we once again saw the devastatingly decisive impact that sexist and racist news coverage has on women and people of color running for office.," said UltraViolet Action co-founder Shaunna Thomas."We saw the impact of the DNC policy decisions that kept candidates of color off the debate stage, starving them of needed exposure, and the deep bias on the part of mainstream media that has shaped voters perceptions of who is electable. It is clear from Warren’s campaign that there is a glass ceiling held firmly in place for women by a media who relentlessly shape voters perceptions of who is electable through a deeply sexist lens."

"In a year in which primary voters' top concerns is electability - the media has had a massive impact on how voters perceived the candidates - and when Warren was on the top of the polls, the main narrative driven by the media was that she was not electable," she added. "That’s unacceptable."

Warren has leveled the media criticism herself.

At a CNN town hall last year, she talked about her run for the Senate in 2012. She said the early news coverage was "about what I'm wearing, it's about my hair, it's about my voice, it's about whether or not I smile enough -- I didn't." And she won anyway.

Thomas suggested there was similar focus this time around, but with a different result.

It is the media's sexism that determined Warren's fate...[t]he media is responsible for hurting her ability to win support among primary voters."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.