Was Arnold Sexist to Grab Claire Shipman's Hands?

On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, host Howard Kurtz asked ABC's Claire Shipman about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger grabbing her hands during an interview about the wildfires. "Would he have done that to a male correspondent?" And when Kurtz served up Glenn Beck's wildfires comments on CNN Headline News, CBS's Harry Smith was so non-plussed he changed the subject. First, the Shipman exchange:

KURTZ: What were you thinking when Schwarzenegger grabbed your hand and accused of you hating good news?

SHIPMAN: Well, my first thought was, this is unusual. You know? And then I thought, when is he going to let go of my hands? He held my hands for the entire answer.

But it was just -- it was odd. It was an odd, unusual moment.

But a lot of people asked me afterwards, oh, were you scared? He was trying to keep you from asking questions. And he wasn't.

He was making a point in a typical Arnold Schwarzenegger way, which was, you know, I want to make the point everything is going well and you're gesturing in my face. And he grabbed my hand and...

KURTZ: Right. Would he have done that to a male correspondent?

SHIPMAN: I thought that often. I don't think so. But I do think, as George Stephanopoulos told me, he -- he and I decided he probably would have put his hands on the shoulders of a male correspondent and tried to make the same point.

Here's the brief exchange about Glenn Beck:

KURTZ: Harry, the last question to you. "Headline News" anchor Glenn Beck had this to say about people living in and around Malibu earlier in the week when this basically -- when the fire story was basically a Malibu story. Let's listen.

GLENN BECK, "HEADLINE NEWS": I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

KURTZ: Is it appropriate to say that while people are losing their houses?

SMITH: I can't -- I don't even understand what that means.

KURTZ: It means that rich celebrities are, in his view, not sympathetic victims, I would say.

SMITH: Oh, I don't know. It's -- listen. Here's the thing -- I want to go back to FEMA, because here's the deal. Accountability and transparency, that's tough. That's tough. And they've just decided they'd cut out the middle man, and there is no excuses for what they did.

FEMA apparently had a "press conference" where the press questioners were actually FEMA employees. You can understand how the media would hate that. If there isn't a lot of hyperventilating Katrina-citing partisan pessimists, then it's not the real liberal media elite.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis