OK, all you outstanding women journalists out there, I need one of you to step up. There’s an important story that needs to be covered and only you can tell it.
I’m speaking, of course, of the mini-outrage sparked the other day when a candidate for governor of Mississippi named Robert Foster refused to allow a female journalist to shadow his campaign unless accompanied by a male colleague. The reaction from the journalist was that this was sexism and it prevented her from doing her job.
This was a missed opportunity. What should happen is that a woman journalist should ask for access and bring a male “colleague” along so that important questions can be asked. It doesn’t have to be a real colleague — any guy will do. The politician won’t know the difference because he’s too freaked out being questioned by you (and probably shocked that you agreed to this).
Then ask the key questions.
“What would happen if we were alone?’
“Why can’t you be trusted with me?”
“Have you been forced by hormones or, perhaps, the devil to lunge at unprotected women?”
“Are you so irresistible that I’ll attack you if we’re alone?”
“When dining alone in a restaurant, do you insist on being served by a waiter instead of a waitress or does the servile nature of the job negate the problem?”
“If elected, would you require a babysitter for meetings with women?”
In news reports, Foster has been quoted saying he’d be fine with women, but he made a promise to his wife not to be alone with other women and that if seen with a woman, it would create a false impression. After all, paparazzi are everywhere. I’m not sure what that impression would be, but I’m guessing it would be a false impression of him being a normal person.
He also noted that Vice President Mike Pence has a similar rule. I don’t know why that’s an explanation. It’s kind of like saying serial killing is acceptable because Ted Bundy and Charles Manson did it too.
These rationales require testing. At some point during your interviews, signal your “colleague” that it’s time for him to suddenly leave for a bathroom break and see what happens. Does Foster attack you? Do you attack him? Are there photographers taking your picture?
I suggest having a photographer secretly follow you and jumping out to take a picture when you’re alone with the guy. After the photo is published, gauge the public reaction to this scandal. Is he right about the impression this scene makes? It may be that the people of Mississippi are weirder than we think.
This will be award-winning journalism.
By the way, I do realize I’m being somewhat sexist here. A male journalist could do this story too — just dress up as a woman.
I wonder how Foster would feel about being interviewed by a drag queen? He couldn’t argue that he was being left alone with a woman. Someone needs to try this.
Final thought: Should Donald Trump be interviewed alone by a woman? Probably not.