After Bill O’Reilly got finished mansplaining that the war on women is nothing more than a desperate political ploy to “save the Democratic Party,” he revealed that he thinks women actually have an advantage over white men in the marketplace.
As I previously posted, O’Reilly spent last night’s Talking Points Memo arguing that female biology and nature are the important factors holding women back in the workforce and that it’s just too bad about the “old boy network” that also works against women. Immediately following that commentary, O’Reilly brought on two Democratic strategists to debate him.
O’Reilly’s disregard for women’s concerns was on display early in the segment. After noting he went to Harvard with guest Mary Anne Marsh, O’Reilly quipped that Marsh “got a lot more opportunities in the cafeteria line and in all of these other places because she’s much nicer than I am.” I don’t think he meant any disrespect but comparing opportunity in the workforce and other women’s issues to placement in a cafeteria line says a lot about how seriously he takes the matter. Or not.
O’Reilly continued speaking to Marsh:
I didn’t see any impediment to you, holding you back. If I had, I would have helped you out. You know me. So all of this to me is theoretical. It’s theoretical. And I believe that it’s politically motivated. That the Democratic Party has only one shot – one shot – and that’s to convince women they’re getting’ jobbed, pardon the pun, to vote for them.
Both Marsh and the other guest, Marjorie Clifton, made excellent points. But as is usual with Democrats on Fox, they never confronted the elephant in the room of Fox News tactics. They never pointed out how politically expedient or condescending it is for Republicans and Fox to dismiss women's issues as manufactured. Nor did they explain that the "war on women" is also about control of women’s bodies and their reproductive choices. Nor did they note that O’Reilly’s snarky contempt was exactly the kind of attitude that turns women off.
For example, Marsh argued that women are in the majority, but they make less money and are “woefully underrepresented in the places that matter: government and business.” When O’Reilly contended that nothing is stopping women from running for office, Marsh said it’s harder for women to raise money and therefore harder to win.
O’Reilly reiterated his belief that women earn less because they work less. “I’m not buyin’ any of this. …It’s so blatant to me that women have even more of an advantage – educated, articulate women have more of an advantage over white men now in the marketplace, I think.”
Clifton said the U.S. is one of three countries “in the entire world that does not have guaranteed paid maternity leave.”
O’Reilly countered, “What does that have to do with competing in the marketplace? You want guaranteed maternity leave for how long? …Most companies have that. …What do you want? What do you want? What do you want, Marjorie? What kind of guaranteed maternity leave do you want?”
He later said that if a woman loses her job for taking maternity leave, “You can sue all day long.”
O'Reilly again suggested that women are too stupid to sensibly deal with having more rights. He also suggested again that the real victims in the workplace are white men:
There’s fear in the marketplace now, particularly in the upper echelons of executive circles, that you’re gonna get sued. HR’s gonna get involved… and it holds women back. And the lawsuits are legion in every single American corporation. Legion. White guys can’t sue. What do we sue for? Alright? But minorities can sue and women can sue and they are. And there’s a giant industry that exploits them.
Neither guest seemed to notice what was loaded into those sentiments.
Marsh sensibly replied that if that were really the case, women would be on equal footing with men by now.
O’Reilly snapped, “Mary Anne, don’t give me any of this. Any lady who wants to run for office, you’ll help ‘em out. Your firm up in Boston’ll help ‘em. Come on.”
Watch the condescension below.