Why Cosmo’s Political Reporting Matters

The right wing media, along with a couple of the Very Serious People, are very upset that Cosmo–yes, that Cosmo–has been providing excellent political coverage, especially regarding women’s health and economic issues. Yes, you really did just read that sentence (I’ll return to this in a bit). Anyway, for the full details, you should read Jill Filipovic and Amanda Marcotte, but I just want to add two things here.

First, Cosmo scares the shit out of the right wing. Why? Because one of their favorite tactics is to paint feminists, or even just those who wouldn’t be described as misogynist, as fashionless, anti-sex man-haters. Well, that just won’t work against Cosmo: between the, erm, fashion articles, and the ‘better sex’ articles, it’s an absurd charge (though that does mean conservatives at some point probably will try this line of attack…). Why respond to arguments when you can go tribal? Except when you can’t. Consider this culture war schadenfreude.

Second, to the extent the mainstream media denigrate their political reporting, that’s really a shame, since, if you care about women’s issues (not just abortion and contraception, but workplace discrimination, spousal abuse, and the low earnings reality of women), Cosmo is doing just as well (perhaps better than) the major media. If you want to read political coverage that could actually give you useful information on how to vote, for instance, most political coverage in the mainstream media is either completely useless or very difficult to parse, largely due to all of the political horse race bullshit, along with the uncritical ‘he-said/she-said’ stenography. In addition, Cosmo, unlike the ‘majors’, assumes that their readers are reasonably intelligent, but not focused on politics, while the mainstream media foolishly assumes their readers are keeping track of all the political ins-and-outs (guess what? They’re not), but are dumber than a sack of hammers (how else do you explain Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd?). In other words, if you’re a putative news organization getting your ass kicked by Cosmo, your business model has problems.

Here’s a bonus point (considering you didn’t have to pay for the first two, might as well throw this one in for free!). Major ‘serious’ media devote an inordinate amount of time and space to relatively uncritical attention (with some exceptions) to traditionally ‘male’ activities that can result in life-long physical trauma, including brain injures. I’m referring, of course, to the sports section. But they’re very serious! Fashion, however, is not serious at all, and is a mark against you. This really doesn’t make sense to me either (and I’m a sportsball fan).

Keep up the good work Cosmo, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not fabulous….

This entry was posted in Feminism, News Media. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why Cosmo’s Political Reporting Matters

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    traditionally ‘male’ activities that can result in life-long physical trauma, including brain injures. I’m referring, of course, to the sports section. But they’re very serious! Fashion, however, is not serious at all…

    I’m guessing you have never fallen off stiletto heels. Serious, and dangerous.

  2. OmegaMom says:

    I have been noticing many tweets and links to Cosmo’s feminist or women’s issues articles lately, and after getting over my Cosmo disdain enough to click the links have been glad I did.

    Is this something new for them? Kudos to them whether it’s new or not; my Cosmo disdain has become muted.

  3. albanaeon says:

    Lots of unusual places are stepping up into the serious reporting gig as our media fades out of if. The Daily Show and Colbert Report have done a pretty good job of actual investigative reporting. If nothing else, they are willing to poke at political figures and ask follow up questions. Cracked has done several excellent articles on the TSA, Global Warming, etc. Or how about Rolling Stone? That Cosmo is stepping up isn’t really that surprising. Modern women care about fashion and sex AND politics, and certainly they aren’t getting much from traditional media.

    The whole thing just highlights that it isn’t that Americans really don’t want good news coverage, its that the traditional outlets have gone that way and then pretend that they are just following the trends. That’s bs, but America has suffered for it.

  4. Pingback: Shorties Untold – Bridget Magnus and the World as Seen from 4'11"

Comments are closed.