Female President on ‘24’ Not a Plus For Hillary Clinton

Be honest: when you saw the news Sunday that a woman was going to be president in the next season of the hit series "24," you smelled something akin to when ABC made a similar announcement concerning "Commander in Chief," and CBS hired Katie Couric.

Well, according to Politico, the failure of both is actually not good news for Hillary Clinton (h/t Hot Air).

But, before we get there, what was also fascinating about this piece was how the producer of "Commander in Chief" admitted a political goal behind casting Geena Davis as the first female president (emphasis added throughout):

When Hollywood producer Rod Lurie created fictional president Mackenzie Allen in 2005 for the show "Commander in Chief" he made no mistake about one of his goals: tilling the soil of popular culture so that it would soon be easier for a real woman to take root in a nonfiction Oval Office.

[...]

Lurie, the creator and executive producer of "Commander in Chief," is strikingly direct that from the first episode of the show he hoped Hollywood could be a lever for changing Washington.

"Those of us who were intimately involved in the show did have the agenda of trying to get a woman in the White House, not necessarily Hillary Clinton but any woman," he says. "What we liked was that the audience kept hearing the term ‘Madame President.'"

Yeah, there's no liberal bias in the media.

Moving forward, ABC's failure at pushing America towards Hillary - certainly, you can't possibly buy Lurie's "not necessarily Hillary" comment - undermines a common media meme concerning her candidacy:

The ratings of both the struggling "CBS Evening News" and the now-canceled ABC drama "Commander in Chief" call into question one of the premises of Clinton's political strategy: that women are eager to reward role models who break down gender barriers.

[...]

An analysis of ratings by Nielsen Media Research for Politico showed that competitors to the "Evening News" and "Commander in Chief" scored better with female viewers. The results undermine calculations by ABC and CBS that placing accomplished women in roles traditionally owned by men would be a ratings hit because of the number of female viewers drawn to one of their own.

In particular, white women--a key swing bloc Clinton's campaign says it intends to focus on should she win the nomination--responded with a shrug to both Couric and "Commander in Chief."

Efforts to extrapolate political implications from Hollywood studio sets and network news desks should perhaps be taken cum grano salis. But some commentators say the experiences of Couric and Geena Davis, who played the president on the ABC drama, do indeed offer a cautionary tale for Clinton.

After crunching some current polling data, the article offered the following interesting conclusions:

"Given the historic nature of having a female Democrat running against a socially liberal Catholic Republican, it is remarkable how similar it appears the results would be to the 2004 election in which two white males representing the mainstream politics of the two parties faced off," a mid-June Gallup Poll report found.

"Most notably, it appears Clinton would run no stronger among women than Kerry did in 2004--or, for that matter, than Al Gore did when running against Bush in 2000."

How delicious.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.