Screen grab from CNN’s July 11 interview with Larrison Campbell (right) and Robert Foster (lower left).
Mississippi’s Republican gubernatorial primary, just two weeks away, has been marked by a scandal over the ways female reporters are treated. On July 9, Mississippi Today politics reporter Larrison Campbell wrote that state representative Robert Foster refused to let her shadow his campaign because of her gender:
In two phone calls this week, Colton Robison, Foster’s campaign director, said a male colleague would need to accompany this reporter on an upcoming 15-hour campaign trip because they believed the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair.
“The only reason you think that people will think I’m having a (improper) relationship with your candidate is because I am a woman,” this reporter said.
Robison said the campaign simply “can’t risk it.”
Ahead of the gubernatorial primary, Mississippi Today assigned Campbell and Adam Ganucheau to cover the state’s three Republican candidates for the office. Ganucheau drew Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and former state supreme court chief justice Bill Waller, Jr.; Campbell got Foster, whose campaign she had covered for months already. Foster’s campaign invited Campbell to join the candidate on the road so long as a male colleague joined her—an offer Campbell detailed in her story, and pushed back against as sexist.
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Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/robert-foster-mississippi-sexism-campaign-coverage.php