The fury of twitter blue checkmarks over the Washington Post’s decision to suspend female reporter Felicia Sonmez has manifested in a #MeToo-style hit piece directed at the Washington Post.
In a laughable piece by reporter Emily Peck, the Huffington Post relies on anonymously sourced quotes and evidence-free assertions from ‘staffers and contractors’ bashing the paper for unspecified indiscretions like valuing ‘male characteristics’ over ‘female characteristics’, without ever describing or explaining what they mean.
The piece begins by describing two recent scenarios where reporters received ‘death threats’. The backlash to Sonmez’s tasteless tweet about a nearly two-decade-old retracted rape allegation against Kobe Bryant in the wake of his untimely and extremely brutal passing, and an incident involving national security reporter Shane Harris.
Sonmez was suspended, and offered no protection. Harris received protection within 72 hours.
Now, were either of these reporters truly in danger? Probably not.
Both male and female journalists receive death threats and abuse constantly online, and there are zero reported incidents of reporters being murdered in the US by angry twitter followers. But from this one incident, Huffpo extrapolates an entire culture of misogyny, a culture that, according to many in the WaPo newsroom, doesn’t actually exist.
HuffPo cited data from the WaPo union suggesting that the pay gap between men and women at the Post has narrowed in recent years, though, thanks to a larger number of men in senior positions, the median pay for men is still skewed slightly higher than the median pay for women. But rather than explain what these numbers actually mean, HuffPo simply points to the discrepancy and asserts that it’s evidence of a ‘gender pay gap’ attributable solely to latent sexism.