During my tenure in the newsroom of WWBT-TV in the 1970s, I was quick to point out to my bosses every time they made a misstep on the equality road.
If they passed me up for an assignment because they said it was too dangerous, too dirty, too whatever, I balked.
I balked a lot. Certainly in the early days of my five years in the newsroom, I believed I had an obligation to fight for equality. I took my role very seriously.
Maybe because women in the newsroom were such a novelty, they tended to listen. I absolutely thought progress was being made.
After all, I wasn't suggesting anything that radical--basically equal opportunity and fairness. It never seemed like a radical concept to me.And, it still doesn't.
Yet, according to a report issued Fairness &Accuracy In Reporting, women opinions on the Sunday talk shows are virtually silent.
"Surprisingly, NBC's Chris Matthews Show came out almost exactly even on gender, with 51 men and 49 women. Unfortunately, the show is unique in its gender balance: This Week and Fox News Sunday hewed more closely to the print media's unspoken "quota of one" for female pundits, featuring 22 percent and 25 percent women respectively. Meet the Press—which occasionally included more than one woman per panel and once (2/20/05) even filled its panel with four—had 39 percent women.
All of the program hosts, who direct the discussions, are white men: NBC's Chris Matthews and Tim Russert, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Fox's Chris Wallace.
But which women get to speak? Certainly not women of color. While the Chris Matthews Show did well on gender parity, every one of its 49 female panelists was white."
What is more disturbing then those paltry, pathetic, inexcusable statistics, is the fact that there is no outrage.It's not as if no one's noticed the dearth of women on these shows.
It's in your face every time you watch them. For those of us who stare at the TV monitor at the health club on Sunday mornings while getting in our allotted time on the elliptical machine, it is a visual reality that is repeated week after week after week. Forget the No Spin Zone. You're about to enter the Testosterone Zone.
The absolute idiocy of the situation reminds me of my favorite childhood poem--author unknown.
Ladies and Jellyspoons.
I come before you to stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is good Friday there is going to be a mother's meeting for father's only.
Admission is free, pay at the door,
Pull up a seat and sit on the floor.
We will be discussing the four corners of
the round table.