Sunday, January 02, 2011

Terry Gross' new low (Ann, Ava and C.I.)

Terry Gross, the woman who hated (other) women. The Fresh Air (NPR) host makes clear her disdain for her own gender in her guest bookings as well as in the fact that she has a "posse" of critics -- ten -- and nine of them are men. Surprisingly, until we started calling her out in 2010, Terry Gross appeared to get a pass for her years and years of sexism.

masculinist terry

This year we charted the guests booked by NPR's Fresh Air and some disagree with us when we call Fresh Air and NPR show. NPR stations air the show, the NPR website features the show, Google "NPR" and you'll see "Fresh Air" as one of the results and, let's go legal, if Fresh Air isn't an NPR show, NPR shouldn't hold any copyrights on the show. However, NPR does hold copyrights (see below).


As with our earlier work charting the gender imbalance in bylines at The Nation and in guests booked for CounterSpin, we found ourselves getting positive e-mails. And we're glad that so many appreciate it when we take on sexism. However, we do draw a line between Shirely Smith and ____ of ___ (women's organization) which could chart the imbalance themselves but refuse to do so.

Apparently doing what we do takes a lot of guts -- at least that's the feedback we got when asking various names why they weren't noting the imbalance themselves. "I might never be booked on NPR again!" Maybe the ombudsperson Alicia Shephard could it make it clear that NPR does not do retaliatory bannings?

Shephard's the reason we monitored Fresh Air. In the spring, examing the guest balance on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Alicia Shepard wrote, "Those figures are equally discouraging. NPR listeners heard 2,502 male sources and 877 female sources on the shows we sampled. In other words, only 26 percent of the 3,379 voices were female, while 74 percent were male." As we noted many times, if you wanted to look at imbalance, why would you go by soundbytes on news programs as opposed to looking at the shows that book guests?

Alicia Shepard was dismayed (maybe outraged -- we were outraged) by the fact that the two shows she examined featured women (non-NPR staff) only 26% of the time. Well it's a good thing she didn't chart Fresh Air.

We tracked the show for 2010. We ignored the critics (except in April) and don't include them in our count of guests unless they were, for an example, the guest for the hour or filing a report (not doing a review). Had we counted the 10 regular critics as guests every time they filed one of their reviews, the gender imbalance would have been even greater for two reasons: (1) there are nine men and only one woman and (2) the woman covers books -- and nothing gets less airtime than book reviews.

Terry relied on many canned interviews throughout the year -- including the last week of December when she aired repeats she passed off as best-ofs. In all, her show featured 399 guests (fresh and canned). How many were women?


Can we get a percentage?

That would be 18.546% of her guests were women. 18% were female. And the NPR ombudsperson's worried about 26% on Morning Edition and All Things Considered?

Below we'll present the guests and the links. Check our math always. But do something else, notice how women are slighted. The equivalent of Paul Lynde from Parks and Recreation is booked but Terry can't interview the star of the show (a woman, Amy Poehler)? Notice how minor musical men get intense time from her show while female musicians never do. Notice how she has many film directors on the show as guest but never with (male) screenwriters . . . unless the directors are women. The winner of Best Director at the Academy Awards was limited to 16 minutes and she had to share those with a male screenwriter. Every other director that was nominated (all male) were interviewed on their own. But Terry doesn't think women are interesting enough. Which is how the first woman to ever win Best Director at the Academy Awards gets no solo interview from Terry. And notice that if you leave sex aside, most women wouldn't be on the show. (And Terry embarrassed one actress with her sex questions. We've avoided noting that in our stats but she made it clear to two of us -- Ava and C.I. -- that she was "creeped out" by Terry's intense focus on sex during the interview -- only some of which shows up in what aired.) Notice how she can't let go of a lap dance, notice how she's devoted an hour to S&M and notice that all of this came up before her show's incessant use of the homophobic term "fa**ot" got her show pulled from one NPR station. All of this reality and more was ignored as Rachel Maddow and company rushed in to insist that Terry was pulled from the station because her (male) guest said he kept his shirt on during sex (no, it was the straight man's repeated use of the term "fa**ot" and the clip Terry played from his show of that term being used repeatedly which proved to be the final straw).

We have no idea why the woman's so smutty but she's been working blue for the last ten years and getting away with things that no one should be getting away with. Her shows are frequently insulting and her guests are often questionable. Which is how Terry presents an "expert" a few months before his paper fires him and he has to post an embarrassing I-see-this-as-a-learning-experience note online. Of course, Terry doesn't do corrections. Which is why we heard from a Saturday Night Live friend who couldnt' believe that Terry would reair an old interview with Paul Reubens and include an error that SNL had corrected them on after it first aired. (Reubens claimed on air that he auditioned for the show when Jean Doumanian was producing and that "It was the first and only year that Lorne Michaels didn't produce." From April 1981 through April 1985, Lorne Michaels was not the producer, Dick Ebersol was.) Again, the show was contacted by SNL six years ago when the Reubens interview first aired and told that Reubens was incorrect. Yet, Terry decided to air it again this year (who knows why, it was a man and that's all that ever matters to her) and included the mistake and offered no correction to it.

Here's the monthly break down.

January 1st, Ted Danson and then a musical tribute to Johnny Mercer featuring 1 male singer, 1 female singer. January 4th, reporter Bob Sullivan for the hour (on consumption). January 5th, Stanley Tucci for the hour. January 6th, George Lucas and (second segment) Al Green and Willie Mitchell (old interviews to note Mitchell's passing). January 7th, Vic Chesnutt (December interview), Michael Stipe, Guy Picciotto and Jem Cohen. January 8th, King of Queens' Patton Oswalt and SNL's Robert Siegel for the hour (and facing Terry's keen interest in lap dancing). January 11th, reporter T. Christian Miller for the hour. January 12th, Terry and Jonathan Cohn serve up progaganda for the hour. (For the reality the tired whores never got to, click here.) January 13th, T-Bone Burnett for the hour. January 14th, Aram Roston. January 15th, Teddy Pendergrass (repeat), and (together) Kathryn Biegelow and Mark Boal -- yes, she would win the Academy Award for Best Director just a few weeks after but women are never good enough for Terry so Kathryn gets stuck sharing 16 minutes with a screenwriter. No, she doesn't treat male directors that way. January 16th, Robert Schimmel. January 18th, Larry Tye. January 19th, Terry chats with America's greatest serial liar Patti Smith. January 19th, January 20th, Margert Talbot. January 21st, Randall Keynes. January 22nd, Jonah Lehrer and rebroadcast of the 1993 interview with Kate and Anna McCarrigle (to note Kate's passing). January 25th, Gregory Koger and Gary Wills. January 26th, Josephy Lynn and Barrett Lyon. January 27th, Thomas E. Ricks. January 28th, Jeff Goodell and Mark Shapiro. January 29th, Mike Judge. 37 guests, 6 of them women. Check our math.

February 1st, Scott Patterson and Randi Hutter Epstein. February 2nd, Rebecca Skloot. February 3rd, Colin Firth. February 4th, Aziz Ansari and Brian Billick. February 5th, Temple Grandin. February 8th, David Dow. February 9th, Jane Mayer. February 10th, James Lewis. February 11th, Loudon Wainwright III. February 12th, Charlie Wilson and his male stooge (from 2003) and Carol Leifer. February 15th, David Hoffman. February 16th, Ken Gormley. February 17th, Ahmed Rashid. February 18th, James Cameron and Adam Shankman. February 19th, Dan Fante, Matt Damon and Steven Soderbergh. February 22, Paul Blumenthal and Gerald Imber. February 23rd, the liar David Weigel who was fired by The Washington Post turns up as Terry's trusted source -- for the hour! February 24th, Jeremy Renner and Ewan McGregor. February 25th, William Hurt (no, he's not dead). February 26th, Johnny Cash (canned interview) and Rick Rubin. 30 guests, 5 of them women.

March 1st, Carolina Chocolate Drops (2 men, 1 woman). March 2nd, Chloe Sevigny and Henry Scott. March 3rd, Siri Hustvedt and Ricky Gervais. March 4th, Kelly Kennedy and (canned interview) Barry Hannah. March 5th, Pig Terry Gross has the nerve to call it "Best Directors" -- canned interviews: James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow with Mark Boal, Quentin Tarantino, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman. No one but the winner and only woman nominated, Kathryn Bigelow, had to share a segment and since she did such a short interview with Bigelow (and Boal), the "Best Directors" ends up spending the least time with the artist who actually won the award. Terry Gross is disgusting. March 8th, Terry only likes to talk sex so here she spends the hour with sex worker Melissa Febos discussing S&M practices. March 9th, David M. Walker and Vince Gilligan. March 10th, Deborah Amos. March 11th, Terry does her part to pimp the box office bomb Green Zone by interviewing alleged actress Amy Ryan who has a bit part in what ends up being one of the year's costliest bombs. March 12th, Bart Ehrman. March 15th, Jeffrey Toobin. March 16th, Michael Lewis. March 17th, Karl Rove. March 18th, David Albright. March 19th, 2 cannded interviews from Alex Chilton and (new interview) Bryan Cranston. March 22nd, Ben Stiller and (canned interview) Liz Carpenter. March 23rd, a female journalist on a "superbug." March 24th, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. March 25th, Terry interviews a (male) hack with the group Ken Silverstein exposed in Harper's magazine. March 26th, another male book author (writing about dogs) and Wes Anderson. March 29th, Tony Judt. March 30th, government worker Roxana Saberi. March 31st, Judith Shulevitz. 38 guests, 12 of them women.

From "Terry Gross Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann):" . April 1st, Terry interviewed actress Toni Collette about Toni's career for 21 minutes and 19 seconds. April 14th, Barbara Strauch, New York Times journalist and book author, joined Terry to discuss the human brain for 32 minutes and 24 seconds making her (a) the only woman brought on to discuss any topic other than herself and (b) the longest (air time) interview with a woman. Now please note, unliked minor 80s celebrity Peter Wolf, she didn't get the full show (45 minutes, 11 seconds), unlike Richard Clark (self-appointed terror 'czar), she didn't get the full show (April 19th, 45 minutes, 3 seconds), etc. But at 32 minutes, she got more air time than any other female guest. She certainly got more time than Catherine Russell, brought on to discuss her backup singing and her transition into singing jazz on April 16th (21 minutes and 1 second). April 22nd, found Terry chatting with basic cable celeb Sarah Silverman about such issues as Silverman's years of bed wetting (20 minutes and 46 seconds). And April 28th, she spoke with jazz singer Stephanie Nakasian. So to recap, the month of April, when Terry had to fill 22 daily hours of air time found Terry interviewing one actress (Collette), two singer (Russell and Nakasian) and one cable celeb (Silverman) as well as one woman (Strauch) who spoke of something other than her own experiences. Twenty-two hours and only five women were interviewed -- only one of which was given over a half hour (2 minutes and 24 seconds over) on Terry's hourly show.
[. . .] April 1st, Edward Jay Epstein was a guest for 9 minutes and 20 seconds because . . . only a man can discuss the movies? April 2nd it was time to speak to three men -- two of them Iraqis -- about a documentary on their heavy metal band -- and at 33 minutes, they got more air time than the only female 'expert' of the month. April 5th saw the show devote 37 minutes and 36 seconds to two men from a TV show -- an HBO show. The human brain and its female expert (the only woman offered as an expert in April) got less air time than the 'manly' soap opera Treme. April 6th, Richard Phillips talked about (39 minutes) being kidnapped by pirates. April 7th, Terry spent 33 minutes and 9 seconds on a skinhead (male, but that should go without saying). April 8th found the show devoting 21 minutes and 9 seconds to Johnny Gimble (fiddler) and 13 minutes and 31 seconds with book author George Prochnik. Apparently needing an excuse to wear her jock and protective cup to work, April 9th found Terry granting 20 minutes and 40 seconds to former baseball players Reggie Jackson and Bob Gibson and 18 minutes and 51 seconds to author Bruce Weber (discussing umpires). April 12th found Terry speaking to Peter Wolf (45 minutes 11 seconds) who was most famous in the 70s for being Faye Dunaway's husband (Terry never asked) and in the eighties finally found a hit (the sole hit) with "My Angel Is A Centerfold." Not since she gushed a few months back over the 'levels' to the hair metal nonclassic Slippery When Wet has Terry seemed so musically stunted. April 13th, she chatted (37 minutes and 37 seconds) with Jeff Shesol about the Supreme Court. The 14th, we've already noted (human brain, sole female expert). April 15th, Jeff Goodell chatted away for 27 minutes and 9 seconds about the planet. April 16th it was time for musical history so Terry needed a man (Ken Emerson) for 19 minutes and 3 seconds. April 19th, Terry turned the whole show over to a man, Richard Clarke, as previously noted, for 45 minutes and 3 seconds. April 20th, she also turned the entire show over to a man, 42 minutes and 27 seconds, Dexter Filkins -- aka Falluja liar -- to spin on Afghanistan. With the month winding down and Terry fearful that women might have soaked up too much air time, she did her third show in a row featuring only one guest, for the hour on April 21st, and, of course, it was a man, Stephen Sondheim (46 minutes, 46 seconds). April 22nd, she spoke with Duff Wilson about smoking and the FDA. Apparently having tired herself out from doing research (as opposed to using Wikipedia, as she confessed to on air earlier this year), Terry needed April 23rd off so she re-aired her February interview with James Cameron (20 minutes and 14 seconds). April 26th, she interviewed her longtime friend, a killer who never expressed remorse or even mentioned the woman he killed by name during the 38 minutes and 32 second interview. April 27th, it was time to chat with Ken Auletta for 20 minutes and 15 seconds about the publishing industry and never-a-star Oliver Platt about his 'career' for 24 minutes and 46 seconds (most realistic onscreen moment thus far, when he enjoys 'buddy' Matthew McConaughey's bare chest in 1996's A Time To Kill). April 28th, Hampton Sides talked about his new book for 26 minutes and 43 seconds. April 29th, Will & Grace's Sean Hayes talked (21 minutes and 3 seconds) about doing Promises, Promises on Broadway. April 30th, she devoted 33 minutes, 53 seconds to Bill Moyers. 33 guests, five were women.

May 3rd, Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker. May 4th, Gretchen Morgenson and selections of a 1986 interview with Lynn Redgrave. May 5th, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Randy Frost and Gail Steketee. May 6th, Howard Fischer and David Rohde. May 7th, Sharon Jones, Gabriel Roth and LeBron James. May 10th, Daniel Okrent. May 11th, Thomas E. Ricks' little buddy (male). May 12th, Doug Glanville and Rodrigo Garcia. May 13th, a man yammering -- for the hour -- about adoption. May 14th, Gail Lumet Buckley and Woody Harrelson. May 17th, another male author and (canned interview) Hank Jones. May 18th, Scott Shane. May 19th, Lisa and Laura Ling. May 20th, Rev. Gregory Boyle. May 21st, (canned) Dick Wolf, Jerry Orbach and S. Epatha Merkerson. May 24th, Howard Gordon. May 25th, John Powers and Amy Schatz. May 26th, Walton Goggins. May 27th, Billie Joe Armstrong. May 28th, Matt Parker and Trey Stone. May 31st, Kelly Kennedy and Tim O'Brien. 23 guests, 11 were women.

From "The face of sexism (Ava, C.I. and Ann):" June 1st featured one male (Dennis Hopper), June 2nd two women (Samantha Bee and Laura Poitras), June 3rd was John Waters, June 4th was one woman (Ayelet Waldman) and one man (Paul McCartney), June 7th was Gary Rivlin, June 8th was Linda Greenlaw and Michael Hiltzick, June 9th was Joan Rivers, June 10th was Abram Lustgarten and Josh Fox, June 11th was Sean Hayes, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, June 14th was Terry cutting off Jackie DeShannon repeatedly, June 15th a man from Newsweek, June 16th was Marisa Tomei, Debra Granik and Daniel Woodrell, June 17th was Mark Moffett, June 18th was Griffin Dunne, June 21st was James Murphy, June 22nd was Lawrence Wright, June 23rd was S.C. Gwynne (male) and Connie Britton, June 24th was Henry Fountain, June 25th was Michael Chabon and Dan Gottlieb, June 28th was Linda Greenhouse and Robert Byrd, June 29th was Frank Loesser and June 30th was Michael Klare and Doug Inkley. That's 34 guests, 10 women.

July 1st was Jeffrey Gettleman, July 2nd was W.S. Merwin (male) and Stephen King, July 5rd omitted (Terry chooses not to archive this episode it's kicked out of our count -- it was a repeat of the March 1st program), July 6th was Billy Collins and Lyndall Gordon, July 7th was Louise C.K., July 8th was Lisa Cholodenko and Joel Achenbach, July 9th was Tom Ford and Colin Firth, July 12th was Robert Wittman, July 13th was Daniel Carlat, July 14th was Phil Shenon, July 15th was Billy West and Peter Laufer, July 16th was Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, July 19th was Paul Greenberg, July 20th was Sonia Shah and Philip Furia, July 21st was Binyamin Appelbaum, July 22nd was Robert Duvall, July 23rd was Jimmy Webb and Jared Harris, July 26th was Matthew Weiner, July 27th was Mark Mazzetti, July 28th was Richard Cizik, July 29th was Atul Gawande, Jay Roach and Steve Carell and July 30th was Daniel Schorr. That's
31 guests, 4 women.

August 2nd was Gary Shteyngart, August 3rd was Brian May, August 4th was AC Thompson (male) and Fred Hersch, August 5th was Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and David Mitchell, August 6th was Rafael Yglesias, August 9th was Jonathan Eig, August 10th was Todd S. Purdum, August 11th was Ed Kohn and Tony Judt, August 12th was Michael Capuzzo and Peter Maass, August 13th was Siskel and Ebert, August 16th was Susan R. Barry, August 17th was Sue Diaz and Abbey Lincoln, August 18th was Natasha Tretheway, August 19th was Julia Angwin, August 20th was John Mellencamp, August 23nd was Scott Simon and Jack Clark, August 24th was Matt Richtel, August 25th was Eliza Griswald and Jeff Sharlet, August 26th was trivia queen Jane Mayer, August 27th was Andre Aggassi, August 30th was Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Charlie Haden and August 31st was Merle Haggard and George Jones. That's 33 guests, 7 women.

September 1st was Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, September 2nd was John Doe, Ricky Scaggs and Charlie Louvin, September 3rd was Doc Watson and a musical group (2 men, 1 woman), September 6th was Dolly Parton and Charlie Rich, September 7th was Lawrence Wright, September 8th was Michael Potter and Robert Schimmel, September 9th was Jonathan Franzen, September 10th was Timothy Egan and Hal Holbrook, September 13th was Jennifer Ackerman and Isabel Wilkerson, September 14th was Stephen Breyer, September 15th was Scott Spencer and Jeffrey Gordon, September 16th was Jon Hamm and Edwin Newman, September 17th was Theo Bleckmann, September 20th was Jim Gorant, September 21st was David Rakoff, September 22nd was Anthony Shadid, September 23rd was Jeff Sharlet and a male film director, September 24th was Tim Page and Nick Hornby, September 27th was Gary Noesner, September 28th was Terence Winter, September 29th was Robert Reich and Zach Galifianakis and September 30th was Mark Feldstein. That's 37 guests, 4 women.

October 1st was Arthur Penn and Tony Curtis, October 2nd was Jon Stewart, October 5th was James Franco, October 6th was Justin Timberlake, October 7th was Peter Stone, Ken Vogel and Lee Fang (all men), October 8th was Paul McCartney, Cynthia Lennon, Ringo Starr and Mark Wiener, October 11th was Eric Foner, October 12th was CJ Chivers (male), October 13th was Sean Wilentz, October 14th was Philip Roth and a male musician, October 15th was David Bianculli, October 18th was a male comic who wrote a book, October 19th was a male director and a male screenwriter, October 20th was Jason Schwartzman, October 21st was Harold McGree, October 22nd was Jon Stewart again (for over 45 minutes), October 25th was Keith Richards, October 26th was Oliver Sacks, October 27th was Gretchen Morgenson, October 28th was Stephen Sondheim and October 29th was Patti Smith (rebroadcast from January). That's
29 guests, 3 women.

From "Only 17% of the guests were women (Ava, C.I. and Ann):" November 1st, the male and female producers and writers for an HBO drama are interviewed. November 2nd, actor Michael Caine. November 3rd, journalist Todd S. Purdum. November 4th, documentary film maker Alex Gibney (male). November 5th, rebroadcast of 2004 interview with songwriting team Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick to remember Brock who passed away and comedian Mark McKinney. November 8th, a man and a woman who made an HBO documentary and a male doctor. November 9th, a female journalist and a male doctor discuss dialysis. November 10th, Loretta Lynn. November 11th, Green Zone Go-Go Boy Dexy Filkins now does his duty in the fields of Afghanistan. November 12th, Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens). November 15th, aging singer Bruce Springsteen. November 16th, up from low rapper Jay-Z. November 17th, a male doctor with his new book on cancer. November 18th, male HBO alumni makes a documentary film and gets booked by Fresh Air. November 19th, Astrid Kirchherr for sleeping with a Beatle (Terry didn't even know Kirchherr stopped taking photographs over forty years ago) and a male songwriter. November 22nd, Carlos Eire on his childhood. November 23rd, man babbles about dog. November 24th, Terry and four men who do bluegrass. November 25th, Michael Feinstein. November 29th, Anne Hathaway and the recently passed Leslie Nielsen. November 30th, Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel. 34 guests, 7 of them women.

December 1st, Eugene Robinson and Robert Hirst. December 2nd, Adam Liptak. December 3rd, (canned 1999 interview with) Dave Brubeck. December 6th, Lena Dunham and Walter Mosley. December 7th, Nathaniel Frank and Tanya Hamilton. December 8th, David E. Sanger. December 9th, another male book author. December 10th, (1996 interview) James Moody and Ray Manzarek. December 13th, Jennifer Homans. December 14th, Fred Schulte and Dr. Marisa Weiss. December 15th, Ryan Gosling and Geoff Nunberg. December 16th, Melissa Leo and Richard McGowan. December 17th, Robin D.G. Kelley and director Debra Granik and (we told you) Daniel Woodrell (Woodrell's a writer who wrote the book Granik's film is based on -- with female directors, Terry needs a man to interpret). December 20th, Sofia Coppola and Stephen Dorff. December 21st, Jim Puckett. December 22nd, David Bianculli and Terry blather away about TV for 37 minutes and neither can name one woman in a TV series the whole time. December 23rd, more of her male posse critics (no one gets the time Bianculli got so we're counting this as no guests). December 24th, 3 musicians -- 1 woman, 2 men. December 27th (canned both) Keith Richards and Brian May. December 28th, (canned all) Jon Stewart, Aziz Ansari and Billy West. December 29th, Stephen Sondheim and Matt Richtel. December 30th, Jay Z and James Murphy. December 31st, Sarah Silverman and Joan Rivers. That's 40 guests, 10 of which were women.

C.I. notes added 1-2-2011. First, Isaiah did the illustration of Gross and we thank him for it. Second, it's the second day of the new year and, in our opening paragraph, we're writing "until we started calling her out this year" -- as KeShawn e-mailed, "You mean 2010." He is correct and we are wrong. My apologies. I've corrected it to read, ". . . until we started calling her out in 2010." Thank you to KeShawn for catching that and thank you to Blake, Marisa, Joan, and Bonnie who all e-mailed to say they'd checked our math and added up. We encourage everyone to continue to check our math. We may have a mistake in there, we don't claim to be math wizzes. (We did addition and subtraction for the article on paper, we used an online percent caluclator for the percentage.)
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