On Wednesday, CNN set itself up for a steep fall when it published a story suggesting that hormonal changes influence the way women vote. The article — headlined "Do hormones drive women's votes?" — was based on unpublished data from researchers at the University of Texas, San Antonio. Looking at the political tendencies of 275 women at various stages of their menstrual cycles, researchers concluded that when women are ovulating and estrogen levels are high, single women are more likely to vote for Obama, while women in a relationship are more likely to vote for Romney. Kristina Durante, one of the study's authors, somehow concluded that "when women are ovulating, they 'feel sexier,' and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality." After a fierce backlash, CNN yanked the story on Wednesday night, declaring that "after further review, it was determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN." That hasn't quieted critics. Here, six outraged reactions:
MSNBC's Jamil Smith:
CNN should be embarrassed for even asking whether hormones drive women's votes, much less publishing a post about it: goo.gl/6Ynb2
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 24, 2012
Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post:
The implication here is that there is just something weird about women who are single or childless. ...Why is CNN publishing this? Probably because they don't have anything better to do, two weeks before the election.
So "overcompensating" for slutty hormones = voting for Romney? Huh? We're making a whole lot of assumptions here based on an impressive amount of causation without correlation, aren't we?
"Beware all the single ladies!" warns Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post:
These women and their hormones! I’m alarmed that they can find their way to their binders in the morning. I would go on, but I have to go turn into a werewolf now. That is what women do, yes? It is so weird that we can hold jobs and own property… I sure hope the election falls at a time of the month when I feel unattractive, so that I don’t have to worry: Did I really want to vote for Gary Johnson? Maybe I just wanted to eat a lot of chocolate. Shoes! Slim leg! Cathy! Pinterest!
Rebecca Traister of The New York Times Magazine and Salon:
If a woman is currently pregnant or menopausal and therefore not menstruating, how will she decide? Will she be able to vote at all?
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) October 24, 2012
Adam Clark Estes at The Atlantic Wire:
The obvious solution to publishing something unpopular is to unpublish it, right? … The story's author, Elizabeth Landau, rose to her own defense in the meantime, explaining on Twitter that she "was reporting on a study to be published in a peer-reviewed journal & included skepticism" in her coverage. "I did not conduct the study," she said. That's sort of like publishing a story about the other people justifying white supremacists and then explaining, "I didn't say those racist things."