Sunday, May 30, 2010

Terry Gross Still Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)

May 2nd, the three of us wrote "Terry Gross Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)." Monday's Memorial Day which most likely means Terry's Fresh Air (NPR) will be a repeat leaving us with 20 one-hour episodes broadcast Monday through Friday on NPR (we're ignoring her weekend 'best of' -- though maybe we shouldn't?).

Terry Gross

First the good news. After calling the self-loathing woman out for her lack of women in April, she nearly doubled her output this month. Now the bad news. She only had 5 living women as guests in April. In May she offered 8. Men made up 73.33% of all of her guests for May -- living men. We're not counting her 'remembrances' in this total. How did women come out better in May?

Largely because Terry booked them two-at-a-time. The Ling sisters, for example, and a team of female reporters allowed her to reach 7 and a woman who wrote a book with a man allowed her to reach 8. Please don't think women were given more air time in May because they weren't, she just doubled up on them. Who got the most time? Priest, smutty comics and prohibition would lead the list. And those would be male guests. No one, male or female, received forty minutes or more segments this month. 37 minutes and higher were, however, popular numbers. The two reporters (female) covering police corruption received 38 minutes and 10 seconds. Which put them behind the priest, the South Park boys, and the man discussing adoption.

For a change this month, women were largely guests speaking of big issues and -- with the exception of one singer and the Ling sisters -- were not on to talk about themselves. Even so, it was amazing how men were still experts on every subject while women basically had to own a story exclusively (the police corruption, Gretchen Morgenson's financial reporting for The New York Times) to be considered an expert.

May 3rd Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman were guests for a 38 minutes and 10 second segment about police and May 4th was Gretchen Morgenson (NYT) to discuss Goldman Sachs for 34 minutes and 47 seconds. May 5th the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David spoke for 27 minutes and 27 seconds and authors Randy Frost (male) and Gail Steketee (female) spoke for 17 minutes and 39 seconds, May 6th, Howard Fischer to talk about immigration (women don't know nothing 'bout no immigration, Miss Terry) and David Rohde (NYT) to talk about terrorism in Time Square, May 7th Sharon Jones and Gabriel Roth talked about their music for 27 minutes and 50 seconds and 25-year-old LeBron James discussing his memoir for 12 minutes and 29 seconds, May 10th Daniel Okrent discusses the pressing issue of prohibition for 37 minutes and 15 seconds, May 11th Spency Ackerman discussed what other reporters do for 37 minutes and five seconds, May 12th Doug Glanville spoke for 20 minutes and 29 seconds followed by Rodrigo Garcia for 25 minutes and 16 seconds, May 13 John Seabrook talked about international adoption for 38 minutes and 41 seconds (because only men know about children), May 14th Woody Harrelson was interviewed explaining how a movie goes to DVD (just joking, but he was interviewed -- for 19 minutes and 36 seconds), May 17th Peter Gleick talked about water (because only men drink it) for 20 minutes and 13 seconds, May 18th Scott Shane talked terrorism (37 minutes and 54 seconds -- hey, once upon a time Jane Mayer was considered an expert on this subject), May 19th Lisa and Laura Ling spoke (38 minutes) about Laura's detention in North Korea, May 20th Priest Gregory Boyle spoke for 39 minutes and 55 seconds, May 24th she interviewed Howard Gordon for 30 minutes and 26 seconds, May 25th John Powers reported on the Cannes film festival (28 minutes and 59 seconds) and Amy Schatz, May 26th Walton Goggins spoke for 34 minutes, May 27th Billie Joe Armstrong spoke for 36 minutes and 36 seconds, May 28th Trey Stone and Matt Parker spoke for 39 minutes and 28 seconds.

And that was the guest line up. Replay? Lynn Redgrave remembered from a 1986 interview (9 minutes and 46 seconds played) on May 4th, May 14th Lena Horne was remembered via a 1980s interview with her daughter for 21 minutes and 40 something seconds, May 17th Hank Jones was remembered with an interview from 2005 (25 minutes and 30 seconds), May 21st she remembered Law & Order (two males played, one female) and May 21st she remembered Artie Shaw with a 1985 interview (14 minutes and 58 seconds). Law & Order gets a link because it was the entire program except for a review. (Other ones are already linked to.) What did we learn?

We learned that Lena Horne, for example, had to just die (she passed away this month) to be remembered. Artie Shaw? Silly us, we thought he died in 2004. Lena Horne, please note, was news. But she was also a woman which is why Terry Gross provided her with far less time than she did the cancelled TV show or Hank Jones.

What of reviews?

Did Terry and her posse suddenly develop an interest in women?


May 3rd Maureen Corrigan reviewed a book by a man (Alan Brinkley) about a man (Henry Luce), May 7th David Edelstein reviewed Iron Man 2, May 10th John Powers reviewed the DVD release of a seventies BBC TV show, May 7th Ed Ward celebrated musical failure and spousal abuser Jimmy Donley, May 13th Kevin Whitehead weighed in on Chick Corea's old recording being put into a boxed set, May 14th David Edelstein reviewed Rodrigo Garcia's new film, May 18th Ken Tucker reviewed the band the Mynabirds, May 19th Maureen Corrigan reviewed a book by Dominique Browning, May 20th Kevin Whitehead reviewed Anat Cohen (woman), May 21st David Edelstein reviewed A Different Man Emerges After An 'Oath' Of Jihad, May 24th David Bianculli reviewed Lost and Lloyd Schwartz reviewed the work of Pierre Boulez, May 26th Ken Tucker reviewed Tracey Thorn's new album and Maureen Corrigan reviewed Jane Smiley's new book, May 27th Ed Ward continued his male corpse worship by noting Louis Ortega, and May 28th David Edelstein reviewed Sex And The City 2. The worst offender of all of them remains Ed Ward who seems to scrape every sewer in his search for a man who never made it as an artist but came in first place when it came to beating up his wife. Well done, Ed.

When we published our earlier feature weeks ago, NPR friends relayed by a 'critique' by Alicia Shepard. "It's one month," she supposedly sniffed. "You can't tell anything by one month." No, Shepard, it's how Terry runs her show, it's how she's always done it. We've made this criticism over the imbalance for over four years now. It was only at the start of this month that we documented one month in a feature. (And one of us, Ann, documents it each day at her site.) Alicia Shepard is said to be too scared to call out Terry.

You read that right. We're told Shepard is okay screaming "sexism!" at men (the men of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, for example) but she's scared to take on Terry. She's scared of a lot of things and a frightened ombudsperson is not an effective one. Next week, we'll tell you about the real gender imbalance on a show Alicia Shepard supposedly already weighed in on. She deliberately avoided the issue so you know we won't.
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