Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday Morning TV Talk Shows: It's a Guy Thing

American University's Women and Politics Institute has released a study that confirms with percentages what most of us know in our guts: Newsmakers on Sunday morning are mostly of the testosterone variety. Only 13.5 percent of guests being chatted up by David Gregory, Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley and the like are members of what used to be called the fairer sex. The long-standing excuses of TV bookers persist: the most influential players in politics and corporations continue to be men; women don't make themselves as readily available, don't seem as eager to be in the limelight; Sunday morning is a bad time for women who are protective of their personal time. However, I believe there's more to it than that. I think bookers are pressured to land the big "gets," the guests who in the eyes of the producers and their bosses lend gloss and stature to their programs. That approach naturally favors incumbency, longevity and seniority, factors that, at least to this point, haven't favored women. Details at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Controversy Brings Down Veteran Correspondent Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas, veteran Hearst opinion columnist and before that, White House bureau chief for UPI, resigned today amid the furor caused by her May 27 comments about Jews, Palestinians and Israel. In an interview, Thomas said Israel "should get the hell out of Palestine" and suggested that Israel's Jewish citizens return to the European nations where they had lived prior to, and during, their persecution in World War II. These intemperate comments have cost Thomas a graceful exit from a remarkable, 67-year career during which she blazed trails for women journalists and aspiring political correspondents. Frustration among long-time observers of the endless Israeli and Palestinian negotiations -- and Thomas has had a front-row seat at the White House since the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s and has met many of the players-- is undoubtedly rising. But comments such as these, coming from a journalist of Thomas's stature, are no help whatsoever, least of all to Thomas herself. It's a sad day.