In popular fictions of Washington, everyone is a prostitute in one way or another; when it comes to female journalists, though, the comparison is often tediously literal. “I can play the whore,” Barnes later tells her very own congressman, House Majority Whip Francis Underwood. It’s not that sex never happens between political reporters and their sources, as David Petraeus’s affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, recently reminded us. It’s not even that women (and men) don’t sometimes flirt in the process of news gathering. It’s just that the notion of sexy young reporters turning tricks for tips is not how news is usually made in the nation’s capital. For every Judith Miller, the ex–New York Times reporter who would sometimes quote her live-in lover, former Representative and Defense Secretary Les Aspin, there are dozens of female journalists for whom the power of appropriations is not an aphrodisiac. We have not “all done it,” as Skorsky claims. And yet, the reporter-seductress stereotype persists, in part because some men in Washington refuse to relinquish it.
Great piece from Marin Cogan in the next issue of TNR, highlighting the awful crap D.C. makes female journalists deal with on a day-to-day basis.