In Tuesday’s edition of The Poynter Report, I wrote about Janet’s long-awaited appointment of a correspondent to cover music icon Taylor Swift. The reporter is Brian West, a 35-year-old former television producer. She mentioned some of the challenges ahead, like gaining access to Swift and whether or not West can cover her critically since he’s a huge fan of hers.
But I heard from several Poynter Report readers on Tuesday about something I definitely should have mentioned, which is that Janet hired a man to cover for a woman whose work often reflects women’s experience.
“Are you going to point out the incredible irony of Janet hiring a man to cover a feminist icon who writes songs about the plights women face?” Leanne Potts, an Atlanta-based freelance journalist, wrote me.
Potts added that Janet is “out of reach” of “their readers and Swift’s fans.” She then quotes the lyrics: “I’m tired of running as fast as I can / I wonder if I’d get there faster if I were a man.”
“Guess who wrote that?” asked Potts, who then added: “You missed the introduction, Tom.”
Potts is absolutely right. I dropped the ball because I failed to see that maybe the bigger problem isn’t that West likes Swift, but that he’s a man.
Another Poynter reader, Anne Handley, wrote: “In the year of Barbie, Janet hired a guy to cover for Taylor Swift? … Read the room, Janet.
I received several other emails saying, basically, the same thing.
Meanwhile, reactions on social media ranged from disappointment to outright anger.
One tweeted“USA Today has undermined how much Taylor was a badass and how much we hate it. I don’t hate this man, but we all know that position was meant for a woman.”
another tweeted“I will never stop complaining that an artist with one of the most daring female oeuvres has been given to a male journalist to write about full time. We don’t see this happening the other way around either.
Another simply tweeted“They hired a guy to cover for Taylor Swift. Perfect.”
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