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“Hell Hath No Fury ….”: Gendered Reactions to the Cosby Mistrial Across Liberal and Conservative News Media Sites

  • Francine BannerEmail author
  • Nicholas Paron
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter analyses online comments regarding the 2017 mistrial in Commonwealth v. William H. Cosby, Jr. to explore how gendered stereotypes and rape myths are activated and deployed across liberal and conservative news media sites. A popular explanation for the result of Election 2016 is the existence of a “media bubble”, the tendency of liberal and conservative US voters to seek out like-minded commenters rather than conversing across political boundaries. Analysing the reactions to Bill Cosby’s first trial for indecent assault, which took place just five months after the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th US President, provides an opportunity to examine how gender is discussed across this presumed political divide. Comparing and contrasting comments on the mistrial on traditionally conservative sites, such as Breitbart.com, with comments to similar articles on liberal sites, such as the New York Times, the chapter tests the hypothesis that conservative sites are more likely to promote misogyny, while liberal sites offer more equitable points of view. The chapter concludes that, although there are important distinctions among comments, sexism, misogyny and victim-blaming remain disappointingly common across conservative and liberal online fora. Briefly exploring Cosby’s 2018 conviction, the chapter observes, further, that although such discourse has been lessened, gendered stereotypes and rape myths persist in the #MeToo era.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Michigan-DearbornDearbornUSA

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