Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gwen Ifill takes a pass on diversity

Ann just called because Gwen Ifill's doing a live 'chat' (it's not) at PBS' The NewsHour.  Ann submitted a question on Iraq.

I'm watching to see if Ann's question pops up.

Not yet, but we did get this:

Comment From Presubmitted Question  
Thoughts on Colbert taking over for David Letterman? Should CBS have tried something different like — heaven forbid — a woman!?! -Wayne

Gwen Ifill: 
Sorry, I'm a Colbert fan.

Oh, okay.

You're a Colbert fan?

That's your answer.

I believe you wrote a book, just one.  What was the title?  Oh, yeah.  The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

So diversity matters when you're writing a book -- and, of course, you made the diversity argument to be named co-anchor of The NewsHour.

But otherwise, it just doesn't matter, does it?

It's not even, for you, worth responding to?

You're asked specifically if the lack of a woman on late night on any of the networks -- CBS, ABC, NBC, The CW -- and you can even throw in TBS -- is a problem and your response is, "I'm a Colbert fan"?

This at a time when The NewsHour already has problems with sexism?

From Ava and my "TV: The lines drawn:"

Friday on The NewsHour (PBS), 'analyst' (hack) Mark Shields said of Kathleen Sebelius, "She was secretary of HHS. She stepped up manfully, to use a bad adverb. She took responsibility. She took accountability. She apologized."

Mark Shields wanted to compliment a woman and the only thing he could think of was "manfully"?

That's the standard for praise, in 2014, that's how we judge a woman?

As the sixties were ending, Joni Mitchell used to explain the way Reprise marketing execs responded to her first album, "They said I didn't have balls.  Since when do women have balls anyway?  Why do I have to be like that?"

Exactly.  And Joni's a trailblazer who's proved that she can write classic songs on her own terms, explore her own muse and leave a lasting body of work, become a legend.  And she did that not by aping some man but by being herself.

But 'herself' isn't good enough for Mark Shields clearly by his use of "manfully" to praise women.

Which begs the question of why is Mark Shields on the show?  Why, every Friday, is America presented with male experts unless it's vacation time and Ruth Marcus gets to fill in as one of the two experts?

Mark Shields is paid to 'analyze' on The NewsHour and his best 'analysis' is to say a woman acted "manfully"?

That's when it's time for the 76-year-old man to be shown the door.  His day is done.

That happened on camera.  Ava and I can certainly write about what's been happening off camera but for now we'll just note it's not good time for women at The NewsHour.

Gwyn has no solidarity with them.

Does she ever?

I mean, this is a deeply closeted woman who appears to even be in public denial of her gender.

To bring this back to Iraq for a quick second, Gwen found the Blackwater massacre of Iraqi civilians to be funny -- on air funny.  We covered that in real time and were the only ones to note her 'jokes' on air on Washington Week, reducing the slaughter of innocents to her brand of 'humor.'

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