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Sam Donaldson manages to disparage Carly Fiorina, Cokie Roberts, Kirsten Gillibrand – and David Paterson – in one fell swoop

[cross-posted at Founder’s Blog, 51 Percent; h/t to friend M.M. for drawing my attention to the clip from This Week with George Stephanopoulos]

Watch this. Set aside the matter of whether being a woman helped or hindered Ms. Kennedy’s bid for Secretary of State Clinton’s Senate seat. Pay attention, careful attention, to Sam Donaldson. Notice that the minute Cokie Roberts and Carly Fiorina even mention broader issues of gender parity, and more particularly, when Roberts notes that in the November general election that only 36 percent of the electorate were white men, Donaldson cuts her off, with an assist from George Stephanopoulos, and launches into a into a combination whine (“please try to continue to do it without us”) and pompous bloviation (Governor Paterson has, by defying the New York powers-that-be “shot himself in both feet” by “blundering” into appointing Kirsten Gillibrand.)

Scared, Sam?

I agree with with the commentator at The New Agenda: “The patriarchy is especially threatened by our push for equal representation….”

So scared that blustery old men like Sam Donaldson cannot even hold back from a move familiar to any woman who has ever partaken in a profession “round table” or meeting. The minute a woman starts pressing a significant and weighty point that a man does not want to hear he starts talking over her. Rather than the male moderator – in this case Stephanopoulos – telling him to pipe down so Roberts could at least finish her sentence, the male moderator tries to gloss over the moment of sexist rudeness (no, not just rudeness, sexist rudeness) with a lame joke (“at least you asked [before seamlessly launching into your interruption]”). As with racist put-downs, this sort of joviality in the face of sexist rudeness compounds the problem. It certainly does not put in his place the original sexist interrupter, who could not even bear to hear out the comment being made about proportional representation.

With four men (including Stephanopoulos himself) and two women at the round table, there is not even 51 percent representation on This Week, at least this week. But I would love to get a careful breakdown of the speaking time of the four men and the two women: if Stephanopoulos and his producers cannot produce a panel of 4 women and two men or at least three and three, then it would useful if Stephanopoulos careful made sure that the two women get close to 51 per cent of the air time. It would be better if this were achieved by having 3 or 4 women on the panel, because that would further the more tangible goal of 51 percent women in every public sphere, and because it would not require deviation from with ingrained norms (albeit ill-fitting in this case) about speaking time being roughly alloted per person (assuming that is the norm on talk shows like This Week). But listen again to the clip and imagine if Fiorina and Roberts had had 51 percent of the air time. Whether you agree with their specific views or not, how might the overall conversation have been different? More representative of a range of views and ideas more likely to be held by women than by men?

72 Responses

  1. Heidi, I got down to around 40 secs. or so and didn’t see anything about the NY Senate appt. Is that in another clip?

  2. Do women with intelligence and experience scared the hell out of SOME men.
    Intelligent men admire and listen to and exchange ideas with smart women and used the assets of all brainpower.
    This year is the first I have paid attention to how scared all these so called pundits are of intelligent women and discussions of sexist actions.
    Did anyone ever notice that men who really like women as people get much farther in life because they are smart enough to listen to both sexes.



  3. If and when Paterson runs I’ll be giving him money. I’m glad he chose substance and I am glad he took parity into consideration.

  4. I couldn’t get far into the clip either….it was all Obama. I’ve always liked Cokie Roberts. She was the only voice that I ever heard in the MSM speaking about the misogyny and sexism during the primaries.

  5. Heidi:

    If they got a panel of 3 men and 3 women, you can bet your bibby at least one of the women would be Ann Coulter or Camille Paglia.

  6. To see it, open in new tab, then choose round table on Kennedy. 😉

  7. there used to be an ad on tv, this kid is trying to move something heavy and his father is standing there watching him.
    The kid can not move it. He tells the father he can not do it.
    The father says ” did you use all your assets to try to do this?
    The kid says yes I did. The father replies No you did not. You did not ask me to help you..
    I think of this ad when men overlook and ignore the brainpower of women. When an intelligent and experienced woman gets treated the way Governor Palin and Secretary Clinton did this year while running for federal office, this country is not using all the assets it has.
    That is just plain stupid



  8. Sorry friends – fixed the link. Still not fully with it…have been under the weather.

  9. laurie, on January 25th, 2009 at 2:24 pm Said: Edit Comment

    Or use Laurie’s trick!

  10. helenk, on January 25th, 2009 at 2:29 pm Said:

    I often enjoy your observations, helenk, and this one is especially apt.

    myiq: I don’t watch MSM because of the problem you describe (after all on just the clip I MEANT to put up (and I think that problem is sorted now)) one has to listen Donaldson, in general self-important arse, argue economics with Krugman (whose not perfect but is like Einstein and Newton wrapped into one in comparison). So we might stuck with a Coulter or Paglia but we might get a Couric (I know, not an ABC personality, which is why Sam is there) since they seem to be aiming for discourse at least one notch above inanity.

  11. Good to call them out for the number of women on the panel, Heidi. I remember seeing a clip of Phil Donahue in a discussion with Charlie Rose et al about these MSM panel discussions. Donahue said that, before his show was canceled, he was under direct orders at MSNBC that, for every liberal guest he had on, there had to be two conservatives. Make no mistake about it, the make-up of these panels is no accident.

  12. The relevant clip is the third one. Look at the description under the clips to choose.

    I agree with Heidi’s point, that Donaldson is quite rude and using a typical putdown before Roberts even finishes her sentence. For those women who try to get a word edgewise in such panels, and as Heidi said, as soon as they mention gender issues, this behavior is too familiar. The men immediately start pre-emtive attacks.

    However, let me point out that I was quite struck by the intelligent discussion of the first clip about the economy. Quite unlike the bloviating passed for commentary on shows such as Hardball.

    I also liked how George Will summarized the perfect storm. I am sure he has a opinion written to that effect already. Very well said. I like his last point. Only the boomers care about Kennedys.

    Did gender play a role in Caroline’s downfall?? I never saw anything like the treatment that Hillary or Palin got. Her supporters kept saying she is an author, but all her books are co-written, and I am not sure what portion she wrote. Does she passionately care about some issues? IF so, why haven’t we seen evidence of this in the past 8 years?

    You know, the patterns repeat themselves. When women or minorities complain about lack of representation, the power-to-be try to concede the point by having one of their own (or someone they are comfortable with, or someone not threatening them) in place. They scream when people like Hillary or Palin come around. Because both Hillary and Palin take their work very seriously , more seriously than acting like acceptable socialites. You can’t have that.

    I have said that the time has passed for tokenism. There are now enough qualified women in all strata of professions, to be promoted, appointed, or elected. There is a rich pool of talent that can and should be tapped. Same with minorities. Now really is the time to choose people based on merit. And rest assured, if we do away with our prejudices, there are plenty of talent out there.

  13. HeidiLi — One word: Brava!

  14. Gillebrand deserves every smackdown she gets. She detested gays and lesbians until about four days ago, and she’s a stealth conservative on everything else.

  15. Like cwaltz said on a previous thread, that 36% of white men have been waltzing and f@rting over women’s issues for far too long.
    End result has been zero UHC, and a lot of smoke over things that are none of their business like abortion.

  16. The show was on in the background today so I caught it. Something about the Round Table struck me at the end and I couldn’t figure it out until now. I was listening to intelligent conversation and all of a sudden there were wierd comments and jokes interjected by Donaldson and George and any intellectual discussion ended. Cokie Robert’s point was important and caught me by surprize. I’m so glad you posted this.

  17. lastplane Gillebrand deserves every smackdown she gets. She detested gays and lesbians until about four days ago, and she’s a stealth conservative on everything else.

    That sounds very like someone else who was recently elected POTUS.

  18. I watched a video that was all about the economy. Then I found the Kennedy one but it won’t play. I’ll try again in a bit. Good points, Heidi! I’ve missed you lately.

  19. Love the way you framed this, Heidi. Thanks.

    The gender numbers on each side matters of course. But the d!ckhead quotient in the man (and the occassional woman) also matters. Krugman, not a d!ckhead. Snufflelufagus, a baby d!ckhead. George Will, d!ckhead emeritus. Sam Donaldson, d!ckhead in full bloom.

    The problem is the network media have been around for too long, and they are not changing. Look at the dinosaur format of this show for God’s sake. And network television media in America is run by men, just as much as Hollywood, regardless of the proportion of female faces you see on air. Sam Donaldson grew up masturbating to Edward Murrow and Jack Kennedy. Sad to see veterans like Donaldson lose their journalistic mojo, leaving behind just a bunch of cranky old misogynists. As always of course, there are exceptions.

  20. Yeah, Last, a “stealth conservative” who supports continuing the ERA ratification process. Give me more of those.

    Ah, why am I feeding hate-filled creatures who live under bridges? Must. Stop.

  21. LastPlaneOut, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    She is learning from the current POTUS. Didn’t Obama backtrack on every promise he made during the primary in the GE? Why do you hate Obama?

  22. These sunday talk shows are boring–most of them are about supporting the Obama administration—one way or another.

  23. she’s a stealth conservative

    Is that like a “borderline racist?”

    Why not just say “I don’t have any proof but I’ll make the accusation anyway”

  24. These sunday talk shows are boring–most of them are about supporting the Obama current administration—one way or another whoever it is as long as it isn’t a Clinton.

    Fixed it for ya

  25. Thus far, the facts are that the men who are supposed to be representing us are either a) incapable of understanding womens issues or b) could care less about womens issues other than to exploit them for political gain Either choice is unacceptable and it can not continue the way it has thus far.

    I sat by and watched them act as if a procedure that is done in rare and unfortunate circumstances was something that women did routinely to get out of the responsiblity of raising a child. I watched them take a difficult decision and raise the stakes on it for the women placed in that circumstance to score political points.

  26. I just love when the MSM starts waking up, be it ever so little:

    “Throughout the campaign, Obama was something of a political Rorschach test; he was not required to make tough executive decisions, so people could see in him what they wanted. That has given rise to some contradictions…..
    Obama said his administration would place a high priority on openness and transparency. Yet the first official White House briefing was given by two senior aides who demanded anonymity…..
    Flexibility or wishy-washiness?”

    Myself, I’ll call it “lying.”

  27. My observations of the round table–Sam really got bi***y, didn’t he. Obviously he felt this one, equal representation, where it counts. Frosted his b***s. Keep the pressure on!
    The women managed to get the message in and for that we should cheer–maybe the support they are feeling will make more women vocal.
    I haven’t watched these programs much since August, but IMHO, I felt that the women were interrupted far less and had more talking time than usual. (That doesn’t say much, but it’s progress of a sort.) I noticed that it wasn’t as easy to interrupt them, perhaps because they didn’t allow it. So onward–

  28. Heh

    Someone should let the tr0ll know conservative isn’t a dirty word here. I’d prefer a conservative like Snowe to a “liberal” like Pelosi.

  29. LastPlaneOut, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:10 pm Said:

    Spell her name right at least. It is Gillibrand, and you would know that if you lived in her district. So I’m figuring you don’t know that much about her, just what you’ve selectively gleaned over the past few weeks or days. Do your homework first, and if you do really think she is anti LGBT, spell out specifically where you have the problem. Kirsten grew up in big time politics right under Hillary, and until you can show exactly how she strays so much on matters of policy, I for one think she will be terrific for New York State.

  30. Watched the program as it aired and found Donaldson being his usual prick self. Attempting to frame the talking points around Gov. Patterson with that quip.

    If only we could vote gasbag commentators out of a job — television and print. Heh.

  31. I don’t agree with much of Gillibrand’s stands but she was representing a portion of NY that voted for her twice because she took their stand.

    Now she’s in a different place and will have to represent All of NY – she’s going to have change some of her tune or she’ll not be reelected to that post.

  32. Astute to point out that when Donaldson cuts off the woman’s voice, Steph notes that interruption only to make a joke out of it.

    It’s not only OK to cut off women, it’s funny. Hmmm.

    Next time a man interrupts me I’ll interrupt him back and joke about it at the same time. LOL. I rub certain people the wrong way now anyhow!

  33. It did seem like Donaldson wanted to bring any conversation about equal representation to an abrupt halt. There is no doubt in my mind, that if more women were in elected office, issues which are important to women would be discussed more (it’s just common sense), and that all debates would benefit from the inclusion of the female perspective.

  34. PumaInSeattle, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:20 pm Said:

    Yeah, Last, a “stealth conservative” who supports continuing the ERA ratification process. Give me more of those.

    Ah, why am I feeding hate-filled creatures who live under bridges? Must. Stop.
    I won’t respond to the Tr*ll but its statement is a bunch of sh*t. Leaving CK out of the equation, it was Maloney is good Gillibrand is bad. Gillibrand held the traditional Dem position on gays, ie non-discrimination and civil unions and is now one of the few supporting marriage. Gillibrand’s and Maloney’s voting records are very similar, PP scores of 87 and 89. Their “On the Issues” votes are very similar. Gillibrand has a better war/peace voting record compared to Maloney. On paper they aren’t that much different. Gillibrand is strong gun right for hunters…that seems to “freak out” NYC voters.

  35. BTW – Didn’t buy Cokie’s assertion that Patterson was prepared to appoint Caroline to Hillary’s senate seat. .

  36. Joanelle, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:33 pm Said:

    I don’t agree with much of Gillibrand’s stands but she was representing a portion of NY that voted for her twice because she took their stand.
    I would be interested in knowing what some of those areas are. In my brief review of Gillibrand’s v Maloney’s voting records, I don’t see a lot of difference. Maybe Maloney isn’t the right comparison?

  37. Somewhere there are PR firms that pay these trolls to run through the blogosphere and spread talking points.

    The question is who hired them?

  38. The latest stat I heard was that if a woman speaks for over 25% or 30% of the conversation WITH A MAN or MEN in almost any interaction, professional or social or personal …she is considered overbearing and monopolising the conversation …

  39. Do you think this gang lives in NY or Washington?

  40. Swanspirit, interesting.

  41. Gillibrand is from a conservative-leaning district. If she was a flaming liberal she would never have been elected.

    I’m not claiming she is a stealth liberal, but it’s unlikely her votes will be critical in the next two years, and she has until 2010 to convince the voters of Noo Yawk to reelect her.

  42. heidi – thanks for your post. I watched George this morning and when Cokie and Carly turned the discussion to the sexism question I loudly shouted “Thank you Hillary” – scaring my cat as he flew off my lap.

    I wrote to Hillary in 2007 that her candidacy was a win-win for women. I wrote her that even if she does not prevail her race could kick-start a 21st century conversation about sexism and misogyny. Hillary has changed the conversation because without her neither women would have said a damn thing this morning about certain aspects of Caroline’s failed candidacy.

    Hillary lost the battle but she did start a war. I am 64 years old and I am celebrating.

  43. I’d imagine that stat is for the male half of the gene pool who thinks we belong being subservient.

  44. myiq2xu, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:44 pm Said:

    Somewhere there are PR firms that pay these trolls to run through the blogosphere and spread talking points.

    The question is who hired them?
    I would assume that it is the Obama campaign org. that is now tasked to push his agenda. Since he got a bloody nose with CK..they are tasked to trash the person who did get appointed..in this case Gillibrand..if Maloney had gotten it they would trash her on her war/peace voting.

  45. F*** me ….it sure is dark here in the filter.

  46. F*** me ….it sure is dark here in the filter.

    Don’t say that to the trolls unless you mean it.

  47. […] Swanspirit: The latest stat I heard was that if a woman speaks for over 25% or 30% of the conversation WITH A […]

  48. New thread up (just for Swannie)


  49. myiq2xu, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:48 pm Said:

    Gillibrand is from a conservative-leaning district. If she was a flaming liberal she would never have been elected.
    That is what I don’t get…on paper her voting record isn’t that conservative.

  50. Hey Three Wickets
    I know what a wicket is too LOL … um you are not sticky are you ??
    or standing in the silly spot?? ( i think that is right LOL)
    HEY …………… wait a minute you are not the Australian guy that poked me in the back at the World Cup Cricket in the UK between Australia and South Africa are you ???

  51. Population stats.

    New York State: 20,000,000
    New York City: 8,000,000
    Manhattan: 1,600,000
    Flaming Liberals in Manhattan: under 500,000 (guessing)

    Don’t be angry with me CWaltz from Carolyn McCarthy land. The interim election has not yet begun.

  52. Swanspirit, you mean that time in the test match at the Oval? I’ve been meaning to apologize..

  53. This reminds me of watching David Gregory one day during the primaries. He was reading a few viewers emails. One was a question -something like this- While everyone is so concerned about losing the AA vote, shouldn’t they be just as concerned about losing the women’s votes? Gregory did not even look up, shook his head and said “no, I don’t think so”, slapped the paper down on the desk and changed the subject. There were two women panelists sitting less than 6 feet away from him. He didn’t even glance their way let alone consider they may have a worthy opinion. And the women didn’t say a word.

  54. I’m not at all angry Wickets. I think you mean Maloney, not McCarthy. I would have preferred Maloney because of FISA(Gillibrand voted for the FISA travesty). Otherwise, I can cope with Gillibrand.

    I’m not on Lawn Guyland anymore. I’m in exile in the Appalachians, one of those cussed New Yawkas bound and determined to shift the south or die tryin’.

  55. going to get an early dinner love the post donaldson what a TOOL!

  56. Thanks CWaltz. Maybe her seat on the House Arms Services Committee made the FISA vote difficult.

    And I did mean Carolyn McCarthy. She is a Long Island Congresswomen who has vowed to challenge Gillibrand in 2010, because of their difference on the 2nd Amendment. McCarthy is the wife of one of those victims from that horrible LI Railway shooting from the 90s, you may remember.

    Appalachia, where may I inquire. I spent a couple of years in West Virginia myself.

  57. Three Wickets, on January 25th, 2009 at 4:05 pm Said:
    Swanspirit, you mean that time in the test match at the Oval? I’ve been meaning to apologize..

    Nope … this was a World Cup match in 1999
    2nd Semi-Final – 17 June 1999

    213 (49.2 overs) v South Africa
    213 (49.4 overs) Match Tied[32]
    Edgbaston, Birmingham, England
    Umpires: DR Shepherd (ENG) and S Venkataraghavan (IND)
    Man of the Match: SK Warne (AUS

    it was in Edgbaston , Birmingham …

    and if it was you … you / he apologised profusely after I turned around and said ” HEY you dont poke people at a sports event ” and it became apparent I was an American 😉 i thought the poor guy was going to have a cow ………
    Ok .. I was standing up and needed to sit down but POKING ?? he could have asked …damn that hurt .. apology accepted 🙂

  58. I’m right near the border of Virginia,the SW tip. We live about an hour from Wva., TN, and NC.

    That’s sad that she lost a loved one. I wish there was an easy answer for keeping guns out of the mentally unstable. I do think there is a middle ground. I’ve been a bit peeved here in guntopia because they have been resisting closing the gun show loophole that allows selling the guns without the background check. That said, we are a gun toting household. The gun is not responsible for death- the person weilding the gun is.

  59. Webb voted for the FISA crap too. His excuse …the House won’t pass it so I’ll kick the can for political points. Whoops. He lost alot of cred in this household over that. I expect people representing folks in the Armed Services to stand for the Constitution, not dismantle it.

  60. CWaltz, I here ya, and I know the issue must be a difficult one, your proximity to Blacksburg and all.. On FISA, of course I’m on your side.

  61. At least Cokie and Carly don’t need an ugly hair hat to maintain their self-esteem.

  62. swanspirit, I’m not as big a fan of one-day cricket. Real cricket should take four or five days, with proper breaks for lunch and tea. Your match though, that’s a lot of overs. You must have been there, for what, eight hours. Whew..

  63. LastPlaneOut, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:10 pm Said:

    Concern tr0ll?

    I’m in District 20: Kirsten is fabulous. Stop spouting your daily talking points.

  64. Damn straight fif. Knew you would pipe in!

  65. SHV, on January 25th, 2009 at 3:36 pm Said:

    SHV: there you go with those pesky facts. Didn’t you get the memo?


  66. You know what struck me first about this post–and the recent criticisms of Paterson’s non-Village choice?

    Instead of praising and supporting him for choosing a candidate of substance and potential, they berate him for not doing the self-serving, politically expedient thing. Another clear indication that the system is diseased. After all the screams and cries about Blago’s shocking! behavior, how is the Kennedy/elitist strongarming of Paterson any different? The only difference is that Paterson did not cave (as far as we know, since CK pulled out).

    Sam Donaldson = bark, bark, bark

  67. Hi 3W! 🙂

  68. Gillibrand voted for the FISA travesty

    I wish she hadn’t done that, but probably did because of NYC, and the terrorism sensitivity. No one is going to be perfect. We’ll have to wait and see how she adapts to representing the entire state.

  69. Great point fif. I think Paterson had Gillibrand in mind from day one, if for no other reason than she aligns so much with Hillary. So this media indictment of Paterson is either residual Hillary bashing, or more likely as you say Kennedy fawning. Sir Blago of Serbia is of course from more recent immigrant stock, so no ass kissing for him. Not that I approve of Blago’s outrageous political manners, but he’s clearly not short on chutzpah. Hmm, wonder why BamBam didn’t called his book “The Chutzpah of Hope”. I might have taken the time to read it.

  70. Lordy, now and forever after, the Village will go on and on about what a great Senator Caroline WOULD have been…. but for us peasants too blind to see. She’s already a great Senator without even gaining the office. it’s a perfect Village set up.

  71. It’s interesting that Donaldson is angry that Paterson went against the “powers that be.” Donaldson shows zero concern for the voters! No, he’s only interested in the powers that be, screw the public!

  72. no one mentions that patterson couldn’t appoint anyone until hillary was officially confirmed. all this speculating came about in the weeks before she officially gave up her seat.

    hillary was confirmed on wednesday..patterson announced her replacement on friday, i believe. is two days too long in this instant gratification era?

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