Right-wing media pundits attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for celebrating her victory in the Iowa Caucus, claiming her tone during her speech was “unpleasant,” “angry, bitter, screaming,” and suggested that Clinton “may be hard of hearing.” Criticism of Hillary Clinton's speech echoes a larger, sexist right-wing media campaign to denigrate Clinton's voice, mannerisms and public appearances.
Clinton Celebrates Iowa Caucus Victory
Hillary Clinton: “I Stand Here Tonight, Breathing A Big Sigh Of Relief: Thank You, Iowa.” Reacting to winning the February 1 Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton told a crowd of supporters that she is a “progressive who gets things done”:
For the Democratic Party and for the United States of America. There is so much at stake in this election, I don't need to tell you. Every single one of you who came out for me, who worked so many hours -- from my young organizers with energy and passion to the families and friends across this state -- I am deeply grateful.
I love all of you. Here's what I want you to know. It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas. To really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like if we do our part to build it.
I am a progressive who gets things done for people. I am honored to stand in the long line of American reformers who make up our minds that the status quo is not good enough. That standing still is not an option. And that brings people together to find ways forward that will improve the lives of Americans. I look back over the years of my involvement from the very first job I had at the Children's Defense Fund. And I know. I know what we are capable of doing, I know we can create more good-paying jobs and raise incomes for hard-working Americans again. I know that we can finish the job of universal health care coverage for every single man, woman, and child. [Vox, 2/2/16]
Right-Wing Media Immediately Label Clinton's Speech “Angry, Bitter Screaming”
Geraldo Rivera: “Why Are You Screaming”, It's “Unpleasant” When “You Shriek That Way.” During the February 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Geraldo Rivera responded to Clinton's Iowa victory speech by asking “Why are you screaming? You have a microphone, it's amplified and when you shriek that way, it's such an unpleasant -- I'm talking audio”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): She races out in the middle of Tom Harkin's speech, angry and then she sounds -- all of a sudden, a transformation. She sounds more left wing than the socialist Bernie Sanders and by the way she almost sounds like Howard Dean.
GERALDO RIVERA: Why are you screaming? You have a microphone, it's amplified and when you shriek that way, it's such an unpleasant --
HANNITY: That's sexist, Geraldo.
RIVERA: I'm talking audio, I'm not talking sex, I'm not talking gender. I'm talking like -- maybe she needs, a like, a rock-n-roller earphone.
MONICA CROWLEY: The reason she tries to elevate her voice and speak is because, first of all, she's trying to be heard. All of the energy, enthusiasm is on the Bernie Sanders side, so she thinks if she raises her voice, she is going to be heard, or get the message across. No, the problem is not that the American people or Democrats don't know who she is, it's that they do know who she is, Sean. And they are rejecting her. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/2/16]
Bob Woodward And Joe Scarborough Attack Hillary Clinton's “Style And Delivery” Because “She Shouts.” During the February 3 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, guest Bob Woodward claimed that Hillary Clinton “shouts,” and “there's something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating.” Host Joe Scarborough agreed, claiming “last night I was watching her and I said to myself 'Has nobody told her that the microphone works?”':
BOB WOODWARD: Some of these past policies have not been great. I think a lot of it with Hillary Clinton has to do with style and delivery, oddly enough. She shouts. There's something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating and I think that just jumps off --
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): So Bob, it's interesting you said that. Because last night I was watching her and I said to myself has nobody told her that the microphone works? Because she always keeps it up here. The genius of Reagan was, Cokie, Reagan kept it down low. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 2/3/16]
Sean Hannity Attacks Clinton's Iowa Victory Speech As “Angry, Bitter Screaming.” On the February 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, host Sean Hannity noted Bob Woodward's claim that “I think a lot with Clinton has to do with style and delivery,” arguing “What is likeable about that [...] angry, bitter screaming”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): It was funny. Now, I pointed out yesterday -- Bob Woodward, Watergate fame, hardly a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, he says, “I think a lot with Clinton has to do with style and delivery.”
HILLARY CLINTON: I know that we can finish the job of universal health care coverage for every single man, woman and child. I know -- I know we can combat climate change and be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. I know we can make our education system work for every one of our children, especially those who come with disadvantages. I know we can make college affordable and get student debt off of the backs of young people. And I know we can protect our rights, women's rights, gay rights, voting rights, immigrant rights, workers' rights. I know too we can stand up to the gun lobby and get commonsense gun safety measures.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: AAARGH. AAARGH. AAARGH.
HANNITY: What is likable about that? What is angry, bitter, screaming? I'm going to stop there. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 2/3/16]
Geraldo Rivera: “I'm Serious About This, She May Be Hard Of Hearing.” During the February 3 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Geraldo Rivera responded to a video of Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign rally, claiming “I'm serious about this, she may be hard of hearing.” Rivera continued, stating Clinton “either has to fire her audio guy, or understand that if you have a microphone you don't have to scream, and I think that's a big problem”:
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Hillary Clinton's hair-raising tone on the campaign trail has garnered a lot of criticism, many saying she needs to cut it out and tone it down. But did you know that criticism is sexist? That's correct, sexist. That's according to Clinton surrogate Howard Dean.
GUILFOYLE: That's rich, coming from the screamer.
GERALDO RIVERA (CO-HOST): I think that Hillary's problem, and I'm serious about this, she may be hard of hearing. And the reason I say that is -- when you are with headphones, and you're listening to music, and someone asks you a question, you speak like “Well, what do you say Eric,” because you hear yourself. And it's almost as if she's speaking as if she doesn't have a microphone, and talking to the big room, she either has to fire her audio guy, or understand that if you have a microphone you don't have to scream, and I think that's a big problem. [Fox News, The Five, 2/3/16]
Right-Wing Media Have A History Of Attacking Hillary Clinton's Voice, Laughter And Mannerisms
Sean Hannity: Hillary Clinton Is An “Aging, Out Of Ideas, Often Shrill” Grandmother. During the April 13, 2015 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, host Sean Hannity claimed that Hillary Clinton is an “aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently according to oral reports angry and clearly not inspiring”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): You know the one theme that they're playing up - I don't get it - that she's a grandmother. She stresses in the end of her book Hard Choices, the idea is to humanize her, frankly, how do I say, being a grandmother just means, to me., that you're getting older. Doesn't humanize you. Oh, she's a grandmother, grandma, what, are we going to call the president of the United States “grandma?” I mean, honestly, that's something that she stressed in the epilogue of her book Hard Choices. I think this is all a makeover image campaign for her, to humanize her. In that sense, it doesn't do the job from my perspective, I don't think we're going to have her running as the grandmother in chief, going to work every single day. She already faces a problem of being seen as a figure from the past and someone who is kind of stale, and tired, and out of ideas, and doesn't have energy and didn't do a particularly good job or outstanding job as secretary of state.
I like Marco Rubio and I think for him to be announcing the day after Hillary did and to be able to compare and contrast. Everybody in the media seems to think its going get buried because of the Hillary announcement . I think just the opposite. And I think this new Republican Party, with these dynamic three Senators -- and I think these are three of the best we've got-- I'd add Mike Lee to the list too. I'd also, Ben Sasse is another one. I'm also impressed with Tom Cotton, he's getting pretty good every day. But I've got to tell you something, this is a dynamic, new solutions oriented Republican Party. This is the best that we have in the U.S. Senate here. Yesterday we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take you back to yesterday. I think tonight you're going to hear from somebody who wants to talk about the future, 43 year-old father of young kids. And the contrast between Rubio and Clinton couldn't be greater. He's young, energetic, bubbling with new ideas, an inspirational speaker with an inspirational background. Obvious political talent, in touch with the times. She's aging, out of ideas, often shrill, apparently according to oral reports angry and clearly not inspiring. Marco's 43, Hillary's closer to 70. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 4/13/15]
Joe Scarborough To Rachel Maddow: "[Y]ou've Got The Clinton Cackle Down, Rachel." During the July 7 edition of MSNBC's Race for the White House, guest host Joe Scarborough said to Air America Radio host Rachel Maddow about her laugh: "[Y]ou might support [Sen. Barack] Obama, but you've got the Clinton cackle down, Rachel. I'm proud of you":
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): You can keep laughing all you want, but here's the exact quote again as we go to break: “Will you be out of Iraq in 16 months at -- we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most.” That's his campaign manager. And again, I would say most Americans of most ideological stripes would say that's exactly what he meant in that answer.
RACHEL MADDOW (CO-HOST): You're so wrong. I can't even hold it together. You're so wrong.
SCARBOROUGH: That's actually -- you've got the -- you might support Obama, but you've got the Clinton cackle down, Rachel. I'm proud of you. [MSNBC, Race for the White House, 7/7/08]
Fox & Friends Claims Clinton Faked Southern Accent For Campaign Event. During the May 27 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends, a chyron asked viewers “Y'all Gonna Vote For Me? Once Again, Clinton Fakes Southern Accent”:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/27/15 via Huffington Post]
New York Times' Maureen Dowd: Clinton Laughs To “Soften Her Image.” In a September 30, 2007 opinion column for the New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that laugh was allowing her to look less like a “hellish housewife” and a “nag” and more like a “wag”:
As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: “She's never going to get out of our faces. ... She's like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won't stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone.”
That's why Hillary is laughing a lot now, big belly laughs, in response to tough questions or comments, to soften her image as she confidently knocks her male opponents out of the way. From nag to wag. [New York Times, 9/30/07]
Fox News' “Body Language Expert” Accused Clinton Of Exhibiting “Evil Laughter.” During the September 24, 2007 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Tonya Reiman asserted that Hillary Clinton exhibited “evil laughter” during her recent Fox News Sunday interview with host Chris Wallace:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Well, she looked like she's having a swell time.
TONYA REIMAN: Oh, contrived, contrived. That was the first word that came to mind.
O'REILLY: They -- you mean, those laughs weren't genuine?
REIMAN: They -- some of those -- I saw some evil laughter.
REIMAN: Evil laughter.
O'REILLY: Whoa! How did -- what's evil laughter?
REIMAN: Yeah, you know, just the way her face contorted -- the different shifts in her face -- and then the length of time that you laugh and smile. You can kind of tell a lot from the length of time that someone branches out with a smile. Real, genuine smiles are quick. They flash. She went into a full body laughter, which is bizarre for this kind of an interview. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/25/07]
Glenn Beck: “Hillary Clinton Cannot Be Elected President Because ... There's Something About Her Vocal Range.” During the March 15, 2007 broadcast of Glenn Beck's nationally syndicated radio show, Beck claimed that “Hillary Clinton cannot be elected president because ... there's something about her vocal range.” Beck went on to say Clinton was “the stereotypical bitch”:
GLENN BECK (HOST): I don't want to sound like the old ball-and-chain guy, but Hillary Clinton cannot be elected president because -- am I wrong in feeling, am I the only one in America that feels this way? -- that there's something about her vocal range. There's something about her voice that just drives me -- 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? She's that stereotypical, nagging, [unintelligible], you know what I mean? And she doesn't have to be saying -- she could be saying happy things, but after four years, don't you think every man in America will go insane? Is it just me? I mean, I know this is horrible to say, but I mean it not -- I would say this if she were Condi Rice and she sounded like that. Condi Rice doesn't have that grate to her voice. You know what I need to do? I need to talk to a vocal expert, because there is a range in women's voices that experts say is just the chalk, I mean, the fingernails on the blackboard. And I don't know if she's using that range or what it is, but I've heard her in speeches where I can't take it. [Glenn Beck Radio Show, 3/15/07]