Glenn Beck: I should have called Clinton a 'nag,' not a 'b*tch'
As the Democratic primaries come to an end, many supporters of Hillary Clinton are blaming sexist attacks for the faltering of her campaign. ABC's Claire Shipman reported on Friday that "the apparent twilight of Hillary Clinton's candidacy has opened the floodgates on profound anger for a lot of women."
The Women's Media Center has put together a video called "Sexism Sells -- But We're Not Buying It," which intercuts classic feminist statements on discrimination against women with clips of media figures commenting on Clinton's appearance or comparing her to a nagging wife or mother.
Among the most notorious offenders in this area is conservative commentator Glenn Beck, who stated on his syndicated radio show in March 2007, "Hillary Clinton cannot be elected president because ... there's something about her vocal range. ... It's not what she says, it's how she says it. ... She is like the stereotypical -- excuse the expression, but this is the way to -- she's the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?"
ABC was unable to get other media figures, such as Chris Matthews or Tucker Carlson, to explain their controversial comments about Clinton, but they did give Beck -- who also serves as a contributor to ABC's Good Morning, America -- the opportunity to justify his remarks.
"This is what I meant," Beck told Shipman. "We were watching ... a speech, and she had that tone of voice. She just sounds like -- I can't listen to it, because it sounds like my wife saying, 'Take out the garbage.'"
"But what about the b-word?" asked Shipman.
"Here's the thing," Beck replied. "Calling her that, no. I don't think I called her that. I hope I've never called her that. Saying 'sounds like the stereotypical' -- probably a better word was 'nag.'"
The segment did not show whether Shipman followed up with Beck on either his denial that he called Clinton a bitch or his belief that the word "nag" is a less offensive alternative.
A spokesman for press watchdog Media Matters tells RAW STORY that Beck didn't do himself any favors with his appearance on Good Morning America Friday.
"I think it's impossible for Glenn Beck to take one foot out of his mouth without putting the other right back in," Karl Frisch, the group's communications director said.
"I think the real question is why Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews refused to discus their histories" with sexist remarks, Frisch continued. "Glenn Beck has a lot to apologize for, and as long as he's given a platform by CNN and ABC and his radio syndicate, these types of incidents are going to continue to happen, if history proves anything.
"The real problem is the impact that Glenn Beck has on the countless people that listen to his radio program and the literally dozens of people that watch his television program," Frisch concluded, referring to Beck's low-rated program on CNN's Headline News network.
Speaking about the Good Morning America exchange on his radio show, Beck reiterated his view that Clinton sounds like a "bitch."
"There was the one thing that is, you know, always played where I was talking about how she sounds, how she sounds like the stereotypical, excuse the expression, bitch," Beck said. "But she does. You listen to her and she just grates on you at times when she gets -- when she gets tough."
The conservative talker went on to say how well he thought the interview with Good Morning America went, although he shared his view that the entire thesis of the program's segment was wrong.
Does anybody believe this sexism? Is that why Hillary Clinton is losing? It's not because of sexism. It quite honestly is because she's not as real as Barack Obama. Barack Obama just looks like a guy who you would hang out with, you can talk to. He's talking to you like a human being. That's why he's so far ahead. He's also cool. He's the cool guy. Everybody wants to hang out with a cool guy. It's exactly why Bill Clinton won against Bob Dole and George Bush, because he was the cool guy. We vote like we vote for American Idol now. It has nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman.
On Good Morning America, feminist writer Naomi Wolf refused to endorse the image of Clinton as a victim of sexism, explaining, "When you're saying, 'I want to be president of the United States of America,' what you have to also be telling the American people is, 'I can handle anything.' And you can't expect fairness."
Beck similarly told Shipman, "Here's how you win in America. If I'm Hillary Clinton, instead of saying, 'Sexist, sexist, sexist,' I walk on stage and go" -- pulling out a Clinton nutcracker --
"'You're damn right.' That's what I want from the president of the United States."
Host Robin Roberts finished by telling Shipman, "I love -- how did you phrase it with Glenn Beck? He was the only one who would 'man up' and talk to you?"
"Yes," laughed Shipman. "Glad you caught that, Robin."
It's unclear what, if any, role Beck's contract as a Good Morning America commentator had in helping ABC secure Friday's interview. A Good Morning America spokesperson did not return a phone call or e-mail from RAW STORY seeking comment.
This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast May 30, 2008.