Yesterday, The New York Times reported on an exciting, potential political candidate with a stellar resume. Which of these two photos do you think appeared on the paper’s front page?
Diana Taylor’s career began as an investment banker with Smith Barney; she then became superintendent of banking under Gov Pataki, emerging as a prescient watchdog who predicted the mortgage crisis; she was chair of Action, a leading microfinance lender which has distributed more than 23 million worldwide, and since last July, has been a member of the board of directors of Citigroup.
But New York Times readers don’t learn any of this information about Taylor’s credentials on the front page of the paper. Reading through this muddled article, whenever I found an actual fact on Taylor’s career, I felt the kind of joy of discovery I see my on my kids faces during a scavenger hunt.
It’s not only the cover photo of Taylor in evening wear with her boyfriend, the Mayor of New York, along with the late placement of her substantial qualifications, but the language of the article that continually sexualizes and trivializes Taylor’s ambition and her candidacy.
The headline reads: “She has the Mayor by her Side, But Politics is Wooing Her, Too.” When has politics ever “wooed” a male candidate? When considering a senatorial bid a few years ago, this dreamy lady “muses” what kind of “relationship” she’d have with then senator Chuck Schumer. Bill Paxon, former congressman, recalls a “previously undisclosed meeting…at the Ritz Carlton hotel,” but details of Taylor’s “flirtation” with the senate run have “remained hidden.” Is this a story about a tryst or a political career?
When The Times finally gets to reporting on Taylor’s professional history, page A-3, she “mixes” with global leaders, sounding as if she were flitting about various soirees. Describing her position as chair of Action, there is no quote from Taylor from that time, but instead rockstar, Bono, saying: “Diana, you know how I feel about you. But don’t tell the mayor.”
Isn’t the New York Times supposed to be a bastion of the liberal media elite and sensitive to sexism? I guess when it comes to reporting on women, the only party that matters is the kind you dress up for and running for office is just like dating.