The Unequal Coverage of Equal Pay

Standard

Noticeably absent from Morning Joe’s groupthink discussion this morning was serious comment about the huge pay discrepancy between male and female employees at the Clinton Foundation. Wikileaks released campaign emails that documented the research and growing concern about the pay for the Foundations top executives.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had attacked Hillary on this very issue in the spring. Politifact rated it only half true, citing crude methodology.

Yet the concerns voiced in the emails of Hillary’s own campaigners and researchers demonstrated the flaws they found and the dichotomy between Hillary’s stated position on equal pay and her failure to apply it to her own organization. This is the second time she has been called to account for saying one thing about equal pay and doing another. Previously, she had been paying her male senate staffers more than her female senate staffers, according to reports.

The Clinton campaign has attempted to deflect the facts about the equal pay gap by citing the earlier, Politifact study.

The problem with Politifact’s earlier rating lies in the wording and in the inability to turn the statement around.

First, Trump’s claim about the pay gap between men and women at the Clinton Foundation is not “half true”. Without question, the Clinton Foundation men make more in salary and benefits than the Clinton Foundation women.

What Politifact was saying was that it did not possess enough evidence to know whether an “apples to apples” comparison could be made. Were men being paid more for the same work at the Foundation than women?

It’s not clear why the folks at Politifact did not pursue a study that would have enabled such a comparison. Their lassitude only gives them leeway to say they can confirm the first part of Trump’s statement. It does not give them the leeway to conclude that Trump’s statement was, therefore, only half true.

The proof is that Politifact cannot convert the statement to “Hillary applies her belief in equal pay to the Clinton Foundation and so is not a hypocrite.” In fact, such a statement would have to be rated “completely false” by the Politifact method. Why? First, a pay gap between men and women exists. Even Hillary’s researchers acknowledge that. Two, because there is no apples to apples comparison, Clinton cannot assert truthfully that she is faithfully applying what she believes about equal pay (i.e., not being a hypocrite). She won’t know that until such a comparison is done.

As with so many other issues and questions, none of this troubles the Morning Joe group-thinkers. If they were to accurately and forcefully report on the contradictions and hypocrisy and imbalance of Hillary, it would likely sink her candidacy and promote the outsider rebel to the presidency. The establishment cannot allow that. In their eyes, the Trump Train has to be derailed before it is too late.

Don’t let them do it!

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