Last December, FishbowlDC's Peter Ogburn accused the Daily Caller's Michelle Fields of showing off her cleavage in a video for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation. Except Fields wasn't showing off her cleavage at all, and instead was wearing a modest raspberry shirt that hid her breasts entirely. But why worry over such details when you can write "One Small Step for Michelle Fields, One Giant Leap (Backwards) For Womankind"? That was only the beginning of Fishbowl's obsession with Fields' looks, and now editor Betsy Rothstein — one of the angriest people in D.C. — is widening her scope to take aim at any female reporter who dares to be attractive.
In a post earlier today, "Females on Campaign Trail Go For Sexpot Look," Rothstein claims "an unusual trend is developing among campaign and White House reporters of the XX persuasion. They’re using provocative, sometimes sexy photographs of themselves for their Twitter accounts." Let's skip right ahead to the three photos in question, shall we? The New York Times' Ashley Parker is smiling at the camera. The LA Times Maeve Reston is smiling at the camera. And The Hill's Amie Parnes is neither looking at the camera nor smiling. I'm having trouble, as a heterosexual man, finding what is provocative or sexy, to say nothing of "XX," about any of these pics. Reston is wearing a sleeveless, single-strap dress — that's as scandalous as it gets.
At this point I would like to bring to your attention the photo atop this post. That's Rothstein's Twitter avatar.
Now let's turn to the "experts" whom Rothstein quotes. Brad Phillips, president of Phillips Media Relations, says, “I think it’s unfair that women are judged on this." And Harry Jaffe, true to his role as a professional dude-guy, says "unless it’s truly x-rated, I think it’s within bounds to strike a cute, perhaps sexy, pose." In other words, there is no story here. And yet.
I've storified only a few of the hundreds of tweets attacking Rothstein. You might be better off watching FishbowlDC's feed, where she's fighting back like a cornered animal.