Last week, the Republican National Convention showcased prime-time speeches by America's first Latina Governor, Susana Martinez, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and African American Utah congressional candidate, and rising star, Mia Love. Ann Romney, meanwhile, praised the hard work of mothers across America, while Mitt Romney highlighted the powerful women in his administration as governor of Massachusetts, along with his mother's run for U.S. Senate.
The party accused of waging the "War on Women" made a conscious effort to illustrate both the racial and gender-based diversity among its leaders, while DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz referred to these women merely as "shiny objects".
This week, the Democratic National Convention launched in Charlotte. Appealing to women voters looks to be a high-priority. Speakers include Lily Ledbetter and Sandra Fluke, who became the face of a national debate on insurance coverage of contraception earlier this year.
With both parties aggressively vying for their votes, what should women make of these attempts to win their support? How can they separate genuine concern for women's issues and women's empowerment from election year pandering?
Political writer Anita Finlay -- author of the controversial new book "Dirty Words on Clean Skin" (currently #1 on Amazon's "Women in Politics" Bestseller list) -- has answers. As a supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2008 run, she saw firsthand how the media can actively manipulate coverage, making it nearly impossible for voters to see facts and the truth. This election season, Anita has already observed bias in the discussion of women's issues and media coverage of the conventions, especially in how the networks have been selective in their airing of speeches.
"Dirty Words" is an account of what happened to Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary of 2008 and serves as a case study of the bias that remains in American politics and the media manipulation that affects us all. The book has recently been adopted to the curriculum at Pasadena City College and is a study of the mistreatment of women who run for public office.
Questions to be answered:
How do Democrats contradict their own message as the "party of women's progress"
How do Republicans likewise contradict their own message of women's empowerment
How does media bias has played a role in coverage of the conventions
How are both the RNC and DNC are actively vying for women voters
Why is MSNBC's Chuck Todd's description of the RNC's "deep bench" troubling for Democrats
Is the Democratic Party likewise grooming and pushing a bench of rising female talent
Allen Media Strategies
- Anita Finlay (of Los Angeles) is an Editors' Pick at BlogHer and writes for The New Agenda, a bi-partisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of women. She is also a senior contributor to NoQuarter, a website recognized for its excellent political coverage. Her articles have been published on Real Clear Politics, MemeOrandum, and FishbowlDC / Media Bistro, and several other political sites. She has most recently appeared on America's Radio News, WPXW Chicago, Free America Radio, "The Daily Drum" on Sirius/XM 141, "The Chuck & Don Show" on KMA, "Talk of Chicago" on WVON, and is currently speaking at organizations and colleges throughout California.