We are witnessing history, I mean, herstory. For the first time in United States history, a women has become the presidential nominee of a major party. One hundred forty-four years after Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in an election, Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic Party nomination last Tuesday. Regardless of anyone’s beliefs or party affiliation this is undeniably a huge moment, and one we can all celebrate. So why then did so few major newspapers run a picture of Hillary on the front page of their Wednesday morning editions?
That’s right, the Seattle Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal all went with a picture of Hillary’s husband and former president Bill Clinton on the front page. Two other major papers, the New York Times and USA Today, did not choose either Clinton for their cover but rather images from the convention to accompany their story on Hillary.
Was it a matter of timing – the convention does run close to reporters’ deadlines – and a mad dash for the best quality image available or something else entirely? People on Twitter were quick to notice the gaffe and call out the papers for sexism and missing out on an opportunity to capture history.
The Wall Street Journal reacted quickly that day; in later editions a picture of Hillary at the convention replaced that of Bill. The Seattle Times followed suit with an online apology on Wednesday that also ran in the print edition on Thursday:
“Wednesday’s front page, which featured a banner headline, ‘Clinton makes history with formal nomination,’ failed to include a photograph of Hillary Clinton, the first woman to lead a major-party ticket, instead putting the visual focus on former President Bill Clinton, who made an impassioned case for her election as the next president. The omission upset many readers. In hindsight, we focused too much on the live moment and not enough on the history being made. We apologize for missing the mark,” Leon Espinoza, Assistant managing editor of the Seattle Times wrote.
Was the apology too-little-too-late or just enough to satisfy angry readers? Only time will tell, but it’s safe to say that we will all remember the day Hillary shattered the glass ceiling, whether or not her picture graced the front pages.