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Different Media Standard for Hope Hicks and Chelsea Manning Draws Backlash

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams

The contrast between media coverage of two women, Hope Hicks and Chelsea Manning, who are each refusing to cooperate with federal investigations did not go unnoticed on Memorial Day Weekend. 

On Thursday evening, The New York Times unveiled an article about Hope Hicks, former aide to President Donald Trump, and what the paper portrayed in a tweet as an “existential crisis” for the former White House staffer: her likely refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on June 19.

The article was derided as being too friendly to Hicks as opposed to holding the former Trump aide to account for blatantly breaking the law. House Democrats are increasingly frustrated with Trump and his allies flouting of congressional oversight.

Per ThinkProgress:

Hicks, who worked for President Donald Trump during his campaign and the first two years of his presidency, is reportedly considering becoming the latest ex-Trump official to defy a subpoena—which is supposed to be illegal.

To journalist Soledad O’Brien, the photo choice and tone of the Times piece reflected “bias.”

“A picture of a person who is considering not complying with a subpoena is basically a glam shot,” O’Brien said on Twitter, “and it’s framed as a thoughtful, perfectly equal choice.

Critics pointed to the lack of glossy profiles and complimentary coverage for another woman who refused a subpoena: Army veteran Chelsea Manning. Manning has been held in federal custody for 75 of the past 82 days, with a brief seven day interlude. 

“Oddly, the NYT didn’t frame Chelsea Manning’s refusal to testify against Assange in the same way,” said journalist Dan Gilmor. 

The coverage contrast was pointed to by a number of journalists and activists, many of whom demanded that the paper treat Manning with the same respect as Hicks.

Journalist Marcy Wheeler used her Twitter account to make the contrast clear, tweeting pictures of the relative coverage for each woman.

“Chelsea Manning doesn’t get this treatment,” said comedian Ryan Houlihan.

Documentarian and investigative journalist Lindsay Beyerstein, in a series of tweets, laid out the difference between the two women’s actions. 

“Regardless of how you feel about Chelsea Manning’s stance, it comes at real cost to her,” Beyerstein said. “And she has ideological reasons for not complying. Hope Hicks just doesn’t feel like it.”

Women’s March co-president Bob Bland called for Manning to be given, at minimum, at least the respect Hicks got from the Times

“If this is how The New York Times is covering government subpoenas now, please retract and give Chelsea Manning the glamour shot and charitable take she deserves,” tweeted Bland. “After all—she’s the one actually protecting democracy instead of trying to dismantle it for profit!”


This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. It is shared under a creative commons license.


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With Liberty and Justice for Some

By Glenn Greenwald

The founding principle of the United States was that the rule of law would be the great equalizer in American life, the guarantor of a common set of rules for all. But over the past four decades, this principle has been eviscerated. Starting with Watergate, continuing on through the fraud that caused the 2008 financial crisis, and culminating with Obama’s failure to prosecute Bush-era crimes, Glenn Greenwald lays bare the mechanisms that protect America’s elite from accountability, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than in any other country in the world. “With Liberty and Justice for Some” exposes a new and profoundly un-American justice system that incentivizes elite criminality, protects an oligarchical political culture, and sanctions immunity at the top and unyielding mercilessness for everyone else.


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