I just saw morning anchor Tony Harris perform the most sexist, condescending interview of two intelligent young women I've ever had the displeasure of witnessing. I really don’t want to see anything like this again.
The young women were high school students who had posed questions to the Republican candidates for tonight’s YouTube debate. Rebecca Durr asked about homeless Iraq War veterans. Hilarity ensued (I’m transcribing this by hand but will post a linked transcript when it becomes available):
TONY HARRIS: Becka let’s start with you, you’ve been watching the debates I understand, and you feel you know where the candidates stand on the issues that are important to you.
Rebecca Durr: Well I feel that it’s important for the public to be able to ask the questions that they want to ask to the candidates and declare issues that are on their mind. So the questions that we asked were important to us, and we did want to hear the ans-
TONY HARRIS: (interrupting) Look at you there all strong and poised! Very nice! Okay!
Gee, thanks Mr. Harris! Golly! But that didn’t end the trainwreck:
TONY HARRIS: Annie one last question for you, has the internet participation, CNN/YouTube debate, has it made the debate process more interesting, more compelling for you?
Annie Ulizio: Definitely. I think it’s really a way for kids that can’t vote yet to get involved, you know, because people are on the internet a lot, people hear about the YouTube debate and it’s just a great way to understand where the candidates are coming from on different policies so people can really be comfortable with what they’re voting for in November and really know what they’re doing.
TONY HARRIS: Boy, so smart! So poised! Both of you! How great is that!
How condescending! How sexist! How unprofessional! And no, Tony Harris, it’s not great. Had the students interviewed been young men, not women, I doubt the interview would have descended into verbal pats on the head.
But of course, it’s CNN. And we all know that CNN thinks young women should ask more appropriate questions, of the silly ”diamonds v. pearls” variety.