Sexism Parody Demonstrates Lack of Sexism

A handful of young male bloggers have launched themselves to the head of the line, leapfrogging those who've spent years playing the game by the old rules.juice

A Friday feature in the NYT, “Washington’s New Brat Pack Masters Media,” has engendered some criticism for, among other things, portraying DC’s young media stars as exclusively male.

ONE winter evening, Brian Beutler, 28, a reporter for the online publication Talking Points Memo, sat with his friend and roommate Dave Weigel, 29, a political reporter for Slate and a contributor to MSNBC, at a coffee shop on U Street. Recovering from a cold as snow fell outside, Mr. Beutler spoke about his younger — well, relatively younger — days in the city.


In the years surrounding the 2008 presidential election, The Washington Post employed Mr. Weigel; and The American Prospect and then The Post made his peer Ezra Klein into a multiplatform superman of blogging-twittering-column writing. The Atlantic and then Think Progress — the online arm of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund— transformed Matt Yglesias from a formerly bored Harvard kid who hated reporting into an Internet star.

Ann Friedman has responded with a parody piece, “Washington’s Lady Journos Have Been Here All Along.”

One sweltering DC evening many months ago, Ann Friedman, 29, then an editor for The American Prospect, sat with her friends 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, at a bar on U Street. Ms. Friedman spoke about her younger — well, relatively younger — days in the city.

The problem with this is immediately obvious: Beutler, Weigel, Yglesias, and Klein are actually very well known within political journalism circles–and there are another half dozen or so within their circle who are similarly impactful. Of the ladies listed, the only ones I recognize off the top of my head are Lowrey, Khimm, Potts, and McGann. And none of them are in the same journalistic league as Yglesias and Klein, who are genuine influencers.

The story of young women making their way in journalism may well be very interesting. (It certainly is in the foreign policy and national security realm, where women have a role geometrically larger than was the case even a decade ago.) But it’s simply a fact of life that there are a handful of young male bloggers who launched themselves to the head of the line, leapfrogging those who’ve spent years playing the game by the old rules, and that this has spawned resentment and interest.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. TG Chicago says:

    You didn’t consider the possibility that being male increases the chances that you climb the ladder more quickly. You said that the men “launched themselves to the head of the line, leapfrogging those who’ve spent years playing the game by the old rules”, as if their success is 100% determined by their own efforts. But Ezra Klein did not hire himself to be on the WaPo staff. Yglesias didn’t just wake up one day and decide to join the Atlantic or Think Progress; they decided to bring him aboard. Can you see how being a male might have influenced some decision-making by the bosses?

    I’m not saying that necessarily is the case. I’m just saying that in order to make the point you want to make, you surely have to address that possibility.

  2. James Joyner says:


    Sure. But Klein and Yglesias had both built themselves wide followings before they got hired by major outlets.