Sunday, June 20, 2010

Only 30% of Diane Rehm's guests are women (Ava and C.I.)

The Diane Rehm Show airs on many NPR stations. It's a two hour broadcast (some NPR stations only take one hour), Monday through Friday. There's a 'weekend edition' that's a clip job. We ignored the clip job and focused on the real show as we continued to do the job NPR's omsbudperson Alicia Shepard refuses to do.

'Licia, you may recall was up in arms over sexist booking at NPR that let more men than women be booked
. Well, on some shows. She dubbed 'guests' voices appearing in news stories on All Things Considered, et al. She ignored the shows that exist solely on guests such as Fresh Air and The Diane Rehm Show.


As Diane's made repeatedly clear in recent weeks (off air more clearly and loudly than on), the old dear has lost all interest in Iraq and honestly doesn't give a damn if she ever mentions it on her show again.

Thanks, Di, we were looking for an excuse to take on your tired and sexist ass.

So what we did was go back to April 20th and look at who she booked for that day's show through June 20th (Friday).

The thing about tabulating the numbers is that, as you start out, it looks like it might be close to equal. Then, suddenly the men are ten ahead, then they're nearly double, then they are double. And then they are more than double.

232 guests were booked during the time period (again, April 20th through June 20th). How many were women? 30.17%.

*Of 232 guests, Diane brought on 70 women and 162 men.*

Let's note again that Diane books her own guests. She decides who gets to be on the show. In her world, it is perfectly acceptable to book more men than women -- this despite the fact that, as a woman, there was nowhere else she could get a start than at NPR. Yeah, she reaped the benefits of the women's movement, she just doesn't want to give back.

Equality frightens a lot of Queen Bees.

And notice please how women have to actually do something to get on the show. Meaning?

If there was a time to book Richard Gere, it ended around the time the 90s did. But as sad as giving Gere the full hour was, it was even sadder when she gave the hour to Gere's former co-star Louis Gossett Jr.

Not being Sherry Lansing, we're not required to pretend Blue Chips was a hit. Not being Gossett's mother, we don't have to fudge the facts, the last time Gossett appeared in a hit film it was 1982's An Officer and a Gentleman. So his full hour was even more shocking than Gere's.

And the men's hours are in complete contrast to the way women get treated on those oh-so-rare times when they actually get booked for the full hour solo. Take the June 7th second hour, when Katharine Weymouth was the only guest. As the interview continued, we feared Bob Somerby might be listening and gearing up to rip Katharine apart. (We know and like Katharine.) We could picture a Daily Howler devoted to how 'novel' it is for Katharine to raise children and work. With Bob pointing out that, actually, women had been doing that for years and what a spoiled princess Katharine must be to think it was somehow something special happening just to her.

But thing is, Katharine wasn't the one making a big deal out of it.

It was Diane Rehm who apparently doesn't know any working women with young children.

Diane didn't just marvel and/or ask about it on air once, she did it repeatedly. We stopped counting on the third time; however, Diane did not stop raising the issue. Just when you thought it was finally over, there was Diane raising it again. The effect was to take what was a valid question -- balancing work and home life -- and turn it into a "Look at the freak!" moment with Diane pointing at Katherine.

We noticed other things as well.

Such as where were the female politicians. Last Sunday, Politico published Erika Lovely's "Women scare on Sunday shows" which noted, "Even as women have vaulted to be House speaker and hold a host of other influential positions on Capitol Hill, female lawmakers continue to be under-represented as guests on the Sunday shows." The same was true of Diane's show from April 20th through June 20th.

In addition, it became very obvious that Diane didn't know any female attorneys. She knew plenty of male ones and she booked them repeatedly. Female medical doctors she only knew -- and are we surprised -- of them if they were plastic surgeons.

We're not surprised by the imbalance. As we pointed out in April's "WMC: Too pathetic (Ava and C.I.)," "You go to The Diane Rehm Show and you look at who gets on and who doesn't. Just her two hours on Friday, for example, feature four men and two women guests. Four men and two women. Inskeep is insisting that men might hold more positions in certain fields -- such as president of the United States since no woman's ever managed that (in part due to the go-along-to-get-along gals of WMC) -- and we won't argue with him on that. We will, however, note that women reporters are nothing new and that it's rather strange that Diane Rehm can book six reporters and journalists (some are columnists and not reporters) each Friday for her two hour show but it's almost always four men and two women."

It was strange and is strange. We saw that at least one of her listeners left a comment on that in May. Stating that he was sure the show could work a little harder and manage to book 3 men and 3 women for the Friday news roundup. And, low and behold, when a man typed it, Diane rushed to do just that the next Friday. And then she started backsliding all over again.

In Alicia's 'study,' she noted that in this society, men might hold positions that made them more likely to be news makers. To which we reply not only "Bulls**t," but also when Diane's booking Louis Gossett Jr. for the hour, don't talk to us about news makers. When she's also doing an hour with Richard Gere, don't talk to us about news makers. We could go on and on. But the point should be clear, she'll book any man to avoid booking an equal number of women.

Alicia was alarmed by women making up less than a third of the guests. Someone let her know that Diane Rehm belongs on the list of NPR producers who refuse to book women equally.

For more on this topic, you can also see "Terry Gross Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)" and "Terry Gross Still Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)."

C.I. note, June 21, 2010: "*Of 232 guests, Diane brought on 70 women and 162 men.*" added this morning as a result of Common Ills community member Helen catching the fact that Ava and I forgot to include the hard numbers and only had a percentage in the article. Thank you to Helen.
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