Boston Herald’s Front Page Calls Elizabeth Warren “Granny”

The image above is the cover of today’s Boston Herald. By calling Elizabeth Warren “granny” and “Liz” (which is not a moniker she uses), the Boston Herald has moved beyond mere dislike of Warren’s politics to sexist name-calling. The “granny” nickname first surfaced in a Howie Carr column, but the jump to the front page means that the Herald’s editorial voice is now completely sexist. At least one writer at the Boston Phoenix at least seemed to notice the stepped up sexism.

Since her debut in the political arena, Elizabeth Warren has been a lightning rod for media attention from both supporters and oppenents. However, there comes a time when it is vital to draw distinctions between the legitimate commentary she receives based on her politics and the repeated attacks launched against her because of her age and gender.

Name It. Change It. has been monitoring the Boston Herald’s use of the moniker “granny” since February 2012 when it first popped up in Carr’s column. Since then Carr has referred to Warren as “granny” in no less than 15 columns, in addition to openly calling her “granny” on his WKRO radio program.

Again and again, Name It. Change It. has noted that The Boston Herald is engaging in a one way rhetorically sexist battle against the Democratic nominee for the Massachusetts senate seat. No other mainstream media outlet has shown Warren such disrespect as a woman running for office. Whether the editorial page of this paper is mocking her age by calling her “granny” or belittling her by calling her Liz or Lizzie, it has become clear that The Boston Herald cannot stray from utilizing sexist vocabulary when writing about Elizabeth Warren even after being called out for it.

The Boston Herald’s blatant disregard for Warren goes beyond their ideological differences, it goes beyond disagreeing on what is best for the economy; The Boston Herald’s problem with Warren is not that she’s a Democrat, it’s that she is a woman in her 60’s who dares to run for office. This unrelenting abhorrence of Warren, which is featured on today’s front page of The Boston Herald’s  website, comes from more than just the columns of Howie Carr.  While Carr has dedicated many of his vitriolic columns to Warren, the demeaning and sexist rebranding of Elizabeth Warren as “Liz” or “Lizzie” in the headlines of other Herald reporters and columnists such as Hilary Chabot, Michael Graham, Kimberly Atkins, and Jennifer C. Braceras, continues unabated and unremarked by any other media observers. What began as one man’s crusade against Warren has become the collective action for a large part of the paper’s editorial staff.

The voters of Massachusetts deserve better than sexism coloring their electoral coverage. While there is editorial freedom of the press, there should also be editorial voices willing to calling out sexism in the media when it appear over and over again. The state of Massachusetts has never elected a woman to either the governor’s seat or to the Senate. Perhaps sexist coverage by the state’s second largest paper is part of the reason that women in Massachusetts don’t have political parity.

So we ask: now that the voice of one sexist writer has become the voice of The Boston Herald, will other media outlets call out their sexism? Or will they sit idly by while the quality of political journalism continues to be tarnished by the unremitting use of sexist language?


Published by Kate McCarthy on 07/31/2012

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