The New Tennessee DUI Campaign is Sexist and it's Okay for Journalists to Say So


In case you don't get it.  - FANCYCWABS

So here's the thing about "fair and balanced" media: It's a political strategy, not a benchmark of good journalism. Take for example, the Tennessean's recent story about a ridiculous state-sponsored anti-DUI poster/coaster campaign.


The headline,"Tennessee's new anti-DUI campaign called sexist," suggests that there are two competing narratives. First, "Some people say the slogans are sexist." Second, "But are they really?"

Let's take a look at a couple of the slogans chosen for a campaign targeting young misogynists men.

• "After a few drinks the girls look hotter and the music sounds better. Just remember: If your judgement is impaired, so is your driving."
 In other words, "Bruh, you remember that Coyote morning you had with the fatty/uggo/feminzi? A DUI is like, — worse." 

• "Buy a drink for a marginally good-looking girl, only to find out she's chatty, clingy, and your boss's daughter." 
Isn't this the setup for an Andrew Dice Clay joke? 

• "Ask a married woman for her phone number in front of her large, muscle-bound, skull-tattooed husband." 
Okay, this one is only marginally sexist, assuming the little lady requires a hyper-masculine protector, and won't Krav Maga any fool that offers to buy her an appletini. It's also the kind of joke a drunk makes to other drunks, about other drunks, right before ordering one for the road.
 It's true, some are calling it sexist.

We can safely say that any campaign aimed at young men, built around the idea that they don't want to drunk-bang a "chatty, clingy... marginally good looking" woman is clearly sexist. And the science that's sprung up around this kind of reporting strategy suggests that the "two narrative" approach does the opposite of what good journalism is supposed to do. Instead of informing, clarifying, or correcting, it tends to confuse, confirm biases and solidify previously held beliefs. 

The new Tennessee anti-DUI campaign is sexist. That's true, regardless of who says what about it. To appease the politically sexist by suggesting wiggle room is every bit as sexist.

Please stop. 

UPDATE: Et tu Nashville Public Radio?

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