CNN, MSNBC Fret Over Missouri Dress Code for Women Legislators

News & Politics

Late last week, CNN and MSNBC both hyped Democrat complaints about changes to the Missouri state legislature’s dress code, and parroted the liberal spin that women were being unfairly targeted with stricter rules.

On Friday afternoon, the CNN duo of Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell gave the story four whole minutes as they also had on a Democrat state legislator to complain about the changes. Even though men are already required to adhere to similar rules, Camerota misleadingly teased the segment: “The Missouri state house is adopting a stricter dress code, but just for women. We’ll speak to one female representative who does not like this one bit.”

After bringing aboard Democratic State Representative Raychel Proudie, Blackwell lamely suggested that the dress code should not be changed until more serious problems are solved: “Have y’all solved everything else in Missouri, that this, day one, the issue that must be fought over?”

There is, in fact, precedent for revisiting the dress code rules at the beginning of each session.

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Camerota seemed to vaguely hint at draconian dress codes like that imposed by the Taliban as she fretted that it was a “sinister” move that would be a “slippery slope” situation for women’s rights:

… we’re making light of this — part of this seems either laughable or just like overreach. But part of it has a slightly more sinister feeling because there are places in the world where women are told that they have to cover up, and women are told what to wear. Is there any feeling on this — the house that this is like a slippery slope of some kind?

The female Republican state legislator Ann who proposed the change, Ann Kelley has argued that the adjustment in language was meant to clarify a grammatical mistake from the previous rules, and had been requested by the clerk, to more explicitly require women to cover their arms and be more in line with men already being required to wear coats and ties.

A few hours later, MSNBC host Ari Melber had a similarly misleading commentary on the subject:

Take Missouri right now. Republicans there used their first day in session — think about everything they have to work on — to impose stricter dress codes just for women requiring their arms be concealed while they legislate. Democrats blasting it.

And on the previous night’s The 11th Hour, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle raised the issue and also fretted over Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR) removing the word “Latinx” from the writing style guide for her administration. Ruhle complained:

And it’s not just (U.S.) House (of Representatives) Republicans who are more focused on the optics than governing. In one of her first actions as Arkansas governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders banned the term “Latinx” from use in state government. And on day one in Missouri, the Republican state house majority made the dress code stricter, but only for women.

This misleading commentary and hyping of an issue to help Democrats was sponsored in part by Chewy and InventHelp on CNN and on MSNBC by Etsy and Red Lobster. Their contact information is linked.

Transcripts follow, click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour
January 12, 2023
11:49 .m. Eastern

STEPHANIE RUHLE: So far, House Republicans’ first votes have been on abortion and defunding the IRS. Neither bill has any chance of getting through the Senate and becoming law. And it’s not just House Republicans who are more focused on the optics than governing. In one of her first actions as Arkansas governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders banned the term “Latinx” from use in state government. And on day one in Missouri, the Republican state house majority made the dress code stricter, but only for women.

(…)

Matt, I got to take a deep breath on this one because Arkansas is ranked 41st in education, 49th in health care, and 43rd in infrastructure, but banning the term “Latinx” was the first thing the newly minted governor needed to do?

MATT DOWD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, this is — this is such an unreal — I’m glad we’re having this conversation because it sort of underlines the problem, in my view, of the Republican party today, which is, it’s completely about performance art. It’s nothing about substantive politics. It’s nothing about “Let’s accomplish something for the American people.” … It’s a party without substance, and all they’re interested in is this level of performance that all it does is seek to sort of exacerbate the cultural divide in our country, and it’s not helpful in pushing the American public and moving it forward and getting it moving — this country — to a better place. And that’s where the Republican party is today.

RUHLE: But, Juanita, these bills aren’t even popular with voters. All of this just works for TV producers on Fox.

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, and it seems like the Republicans are hell bent on turning off every segment of voters they possibly can — women voters, black and brown voters, low-income voters, independent voters, right?

(…)

CNN Newsroom
January 13, 2023
2:31 p.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: The Missouri state house is adopting a stricter dress code, but just for women. We’ll speak to one female representative who does not like this one bit.

(…)

2:44 p.m.

VICTOR BLACKWELL: One of the first orders of business for Missouri’s House of Representatives: tightening the dress code for female lawmakers. A Republican-led change to the state house rules now requires women to wear a jacket or cardigan that covers their arms whenever in chamber.

CAMEROTA: One Republican move was the to make the existing rules more clear, but Democrats do not like it.

STATE REP. RAYCHEL PROUDIE (D-MO): There are some very serious things that are in this rule package that I think we should be debating, but instead, we are fighting again for a woman’s right to choose something, and this time is whether she — how she covers herself. (editing cut) I spent $1,200 on a suit, and I can’t wear it in the people’s house because someone who doesn’t have the range tells me that it’s inappropriate.

CAMEROTA: Missouri State Representative Ashley Aunie. Representative, thanks so much for being here. Is that the big difference — that now, in the state house, women’s arms need to be covered? Is that what’s changed?

STATE REP ASHLEY AUNIE (D-MO): Thanks for having me. Yeah, so, actually, what’s interesting is the rule has always required us to wear a second layer of clothing, either — and that’s been interpreted as either a blazer or a jacket or a cardigan. And this year the Republicans were trying to further narrow that scope to only include blazers, which our caucus believed was both size and cost prohibitive, and also ridiculous.

BLACKWELL: So there’s already a requirement for a second a layer —

CAMEROTA: Maybe even a third.

BLACKWELL: Maybe a third. Have y’all solved everything else in Missouri, that this, day one, the issue that must be fought over?

STATE REP. AUNIE: Well, that’s exactly the frustration, right, is that day one, when we went to go — finalize our house rules, what they wanted to fight about was dress code. What we wanted to talk about was making the house more accessible to folks with disabilities or allowing Missourians to testify first in our committee hearings or even allowing virtual testimony for folks who aren’t able to make it down to our capital to testify in front of the legislators. And instead, here we are talking about what kind of sweaters we can wear or not wear.

CAMEROTA: Hmm. I mean, look, part of this, we’re — we’re making light of this — part of this seems either laughable or just like overreach. But part of it has a slightly more sinister feeling because there are places in the world where women are told that they have to cover up, and women are told what to wear. Is there any feeling on this — the house that this is like a slippery slope of some kind?

STATE REP. AUNE: Well, absolutely, In 2019, house Republicans passed the abortion ban that went into effect this summer after the Dobbs decision came down, fulling restricting a woman’s right to choose in this state. And on day one in this legislature, they’re doubling down on controlling women. It’s wild to me, and I think it’s sending a message to Missourians that the Republican party — the Missouri GOP doesn’t have their best interests in mind, and is certainly not focused on the issues that are important to our constituents.

BLACKWELL: Now, this is a Republican woman who sponsored or supported this change for the dress code. I wonder, what’s the consequence if you just show up with a sleeveless dress? I don’t — I’m confused on what — if you go into the chamber without your blazer or your cardigan, is there a problem for a member?

STATE REP. AUNE: Absolutely. The clerk can ask us to leave the floor, and we will be unable to vote, which means we won’t be able to represent the 37,000 constituents in our district who sent us down there to do their bidding.

CAMEROTA: And so what happened? Democrats were just outvoted on this? Why — how did this pass?

AUNE: Absolutely. It was a voice vote, and we are in a super-minority here in Missouri. There are only 52 Democrats out of 163 legislators, so we are still a super-minority. If they want something to pass in the state, it passes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, a lot of Republicans do feel strongly about the right to bare arms. (laughter) Were you waiting for that?

(…)

MSNBC’s The Beat
January 13, 2023
6:39 p.m. Eastern

ARI MELBER: Take Missouri right now. Republicans there used their first day in session — think about everything they have to work on — to impose stricter dress codes just for women requiring their arms be concealed while they legislate. Democrats blasting it.

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