Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Guess Who?

From an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

I find myself in the last bastion of male dominance, and realizing what Hillary Clinton might have realized not long ago: that sexism in the American society is more common than racism, and certainly more acceptable or forgivable. In any case, I think my post and Hillary's race are important steps in the right direction.

I will reveal the source later today, if no one knows.

16 comments:

Bell Curve said...

I had to Google it. Without discussing the merits of what she said, let me just say that it doesn't help anyone to compare sexism and racism. They're both bad, let's try to end them both.

BTW, if you're trying to guess, the "my post" (meaning my job) is the big clue.

Pombat said...

Um, my guess was Condi Rice, because she's a high ranking woman, and would presumably have encountered racism during her life as well as sexism.

Having googled that, I'm wrong. When you do reveal who it is Dr S, can you explain who she is too, for my benefit - I recognise the name, but can't place her...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Katie Couric, CBS News Anchor.

Raised By Republicans said...

I'm sure that Couric has had a frustrating career being pigeon holed as the "cute fluff reporter." On the Today Show on NBC she was always given the stories on the latest diets or celebrity weddings/break ups.

But I don't think she gets to claim her "post" as the last bastion of male dominance. She not the first woman to anchor the evening news. Barbara Walters (co-anchor with the aging Harry Reasoner on ABC) and Connie Chung (co-anchored with Tom Brokaw on NBC) both came before her. Is this another case of main-stream media narcissism? I LOVE that US West had to be told who she is. I guess whether she's facing sexism or not just isn't as important as Couric would like to think.

In a broader sense, evidence from the exit polls form the primaries suggest that Couric is mistaken about the relative roles of racism and sexism in this country. Those numbers clearly showed that while there were many voters who voted for their chosen candidate because of their gender, the overwhelming majority of those votes were FOR NOT AGAINST Hillary. In contrast, there were also many voters who admited to voting for their candidate based soley or largely on race and the overwhelming majority of those voted AGAINST NOT FOR Obama.

Just sayin...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Actually, given the context of the interview, I strongly suspect Couric's remarks about male dominance were not a reference to her Nielsen ratings, but rather to the difficult professional environment she has faced throughout her career. Likewise, I believe her remarks concerning Hillary referred to the treatment Hillary received from news personalities and pundits, rather than to her electoral results.

Quick correction: Chung co-anchored with Dan Rather on CBS. She was relieved of her duty after less than two years, after which the broadcast returned to Dan Rather as solo anchor again. Barbara Walters' tenure was also less than two years as co-anchor. Katie Couric is the first woman to be the sole anchor of a major network news program. (To say that Chung and Walters ended the era of male dominance in network news is like saying Rebecca Felton and Hattie Caraway ended male dominance in the Senate. Katie Couric is only mistaken in that network news is not the "last" bastion of male dominance, but unfortunately only one of many.)

As for sexism vs. racism in the Democratic primary results, it is not correct that those who voted largely based on race voted overwhelmingly against Obama. Obama won 90%+ of the African-American vote.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S.

The evidence in the exit polls was based on the self reporting motives for voting. While African Americans did vote overwhelmingly for Obama most did not say they did so solely or largely because of his race. So your statement "As for sexism vs. racism in the Democratic primary results, it is not correct that those who voted largely based on race voted overwhelmingly against Obama." Is not based on much other than assumptions about identity politics.

Besides if we are going to play that game, we need to assume similar motives about the Latino vote and ALL white voters who voted against Obama.

Besides, Hillary actually had parity among African Americans until people associated with her campaign started being embroiled in controversy due to their racially tinged comments.

As for Couric, I'm not saying she hasn't accomplished something significant. On the contrary, I think she's overcome quite a lot of crap (which is why I mentioned the stories she would get assigned by the Today Show). Rather I'm pointing out that she's not the first ever in her field to do something comparable. At the same time, the are "posts" in our society that are EVEN more male dominated than being a TV news anchor...the Presidency, for one...the military is another.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Katie Couric should not believe that sexism is the only, or even the main, reason for the criticism and ridicule she attracts. It is disappointing of she does.

Obama won 90% of the black vote, true. But those black voters generally did not say that race mattered; rural white voters who voted for Hillary Clinton did say that race mattered. Now, you can suggest that the white voters were more honest than the black voters in responding to pollsters' questions, although that means crediting black voters with much more media sophistication and/or believing that white voters are more willing to admit to racism than black voters - both points that few would believe.

I think we a better view of the polling data is to acknowledge these statements by voters. There was a segment (10-20%) of the white voters who voted for Hillary primarily because she was not black. The overwhelming majority of black voters believed that Obama would best represent them because of who he is, not just because he is black. In the speaker's mind, the statement "I'll vote for him, he's like me" is a multidimensional affinity based on a lot more than just race. African-Americans identified with Obama as being a member of their community, and community is positively defined in the first instance by common experience, not race. This is an important concept. Similarly, while many women who voted for Clinton did so primarily because she was a woman, and said so, others did so because they identified with her more closely as "someone like me." You and I may realize that the race or gender is crucial to that identification, but the voter may be thinking in different terms.

By contrast, even in the speaker's mind, the statement, "I'll vote for her, not that [blank]" is primarily based on race.

Raised By Republicans said...

Furtermore, in most primaries there were only about 10% to 14% of votes coming from African Americans but in the primaries in the Appalachians the percentage of votes saying that race was at least one of the reasons they voted the way the did was 22%. Of those, 80% to 86% voted for Clinton against Obama.

So I will not concede that racial voting was a net benefit to Obama the way gender based voting was a benefit to Clinton EVEN IF we could safely assume that all African American voters voted only on race and that only those White voters who admited to voting based on race did so.

To be honest, I would think that if I was an African American man or woman, I would deeply resent wealthy (Couric earns millions of dollars a year), white women claiming that they face greater and more overt impediments in their lives because of their gender than African Americans do because of their race.

USwest said...

"I LOVE that US West had to be told who she is."

Upon what basis did you make such an assumption? My blog silence was merely because I hadn't seen this post until 9 comments had been made, not necessairly lack of knowledge. But, if you gained some joy, RBR, who am I to ruin it! :-)

USWest said...

I can't comment on Katie Couric because I have never seen her do her job. I only have heard snippets in other media. My understanding from what I heard is that she cut a very expensive deal and has not really delivered as the network had hoped. No one, BTW mentioned Jane Pauley who co-hosted for 13 years on the Today show with Tom Brokaw and Bryant Gumble (gee, why didn't they give Pauley Tom's job when he left?) and then did 12 years on Dateline after a stint as a co-anchor on the NBC Nightly news. When she left the Today show, I think rather than sexism being the issue, there was something about ageism because they replaced her with a younger woman.

She even had her own show that ended up flopping, something that happened to Connie Chung as well. In fact, it seems that many female TV news personalities went through a period where they were harshly handled in the media. Connie Chung, after years with the Sacramento affiliate (I watched her growing up), went to the big network and that's when the negative press took off on her.

I also remember when they first introduced the female host on 60 minutes, Lesley Stahl. CNN had many female anchors . . . of course they were all taught to deepen their voices to the point of absurdity! (Christana Amanour came by the deep voice naturally.) Now there are so many women at anchor booths, and from what I seen, few of these younger types have the brains or the brawn to do the job well. But then, either do the male anchors.

Dr. Strangelove said...

It might be a good idea to cite polls rather than rumors here. I took a look at some of the states who voted in the latter part of the primary season: OH, TX, NC, WV, IN, and PA.

Let's look at the CNN exit poll for North Carolina. Nearly 80% said gender was not important and 80% said race was not important. These groups voted in the same proportion as for the state as a whole. The 20% who said gender was a factor voted in the same proportion, although the 6% who said it was the most important factor voted 70% for Obama. The 20% who said race was a factor voted 2-1 in favor of Obama, including the 5% who said it was the most important factor.

Now let's look at the CNN exit poll from Ohio. Here again, about 80% of the voters said gender did not matter, and 80% said race did not matter, and those groups followed the same 54-44 split for the entire state. But here, those who said gender was important voted 60-40 for Clinton, and those who said race was important voted 60-40 for Clinton. (The poll did not break out how the 5% who said gender and race were "most important" voted.)

Now let's look at the CNN exit poll for West Virginia. Once again, 80% said gender was not important and 80% said race was not important, and those voters voted in the same proportion as the proportion for the entire state. But those who said gender was important voted 75-20 for Clinton, higher than the 65-25 average. Those who said race was "one of several factors" voted 80-13 for Clinton, and those who said it was most important voted 86-10 for Clinton.

Now let's look at the CNN exit poll from Pennsylvania. Here again 80% said gender did not matter and 80% said race did not matter. Here, those who gender mattered voted 70-30 for Clinton. Those who voted by race, on the other hand, did so in the same proportion (54-44) as in the whole state, no benefit here to either side.

Now let's look at the CNN exit poll for Texas. Here the 20% who said gender was important voted 60-40 for Clinton. Those who voted by race, on the other hand, did so in the same proportion (51-47) as for the whole state, no benefit here to either side.

Now let's look at the CNN exit poll for Indiana. Once again, about 80% did not base their decisions on race or gender. Here, the 16% who said gender was important voted 60-40 for Clinton. The 16% who said race was important voted in the same proportion as the entire state.

Summary of these six states: gender helped Clinton in all but North Carolina, where it was pretty much a wash; race helped Obama in one state, helped Clinton in two states, and was a wash in three. I reported all the states I looked at (no time to look at all) so this is a weird random sample. But I suspect it holds up: Clinton was generally helped by gender while Obama was generally hurt by race, but the gender boost for Clinton was larger and more uniform than the racial penalty for Obama, which was more mixed with plusses and minuses.

Raised By Republicans said...

Sorry, I misread Pombat's tagline as US West for some reason. Pombat having to be told who she isn't nearly as entertaining. Oh well.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. Thanks for going through the details of those polls again. Your numbers clearly support the summary you give.

I didn't do it this time because I had already posted on this subject in some detail a couple of months ago albeit with a slightly different selection of states (I think I looked at Wisconsin for example). And I came to a very similar conclusion.

But yes, the numbers are pretty clear that when people like Couric imply that Hillary Clinton was defeated in the primaries because of a wave of anti-Clintonism motivated by sexism just isn't plausible. If anything Hillary Clinton's gender is one of her best electoral assets.

It actually annoys me a lot when people suggest that Clinton lost because of sexism. First, because the polls that Dr. S posted links to show that it isn't true. Second, because it implies that people that voted for Obama did so for thoughtless and mean motives which also isn't true.

Raised By Republicans said...

"Now there are so many women at anchor booths, and from what I seen, few of these younger types have the brains or the brawn to do the job well. But then, neither do the male anchors."

Exactly. Let's keep Katie Couric in prespective here. If her "post" is a bastion of anything it is style over substance.

The Law Talking Guy said...

What person under the age of 35 watches network news?

Pombat said...

RbR: if it makes it more entertaining, I can do a silly dance whilst not knowing who she is?...

The one thing I've noticed across a lot of news outlets is that whilst there may be a solo anchor of either gender, the female anchors never seem to be over a certain age. As someone who isn't suckered in by all the beauty industry hype about 'having' to look young to be worthwhile as a woman, and who fully intends to grow old entirely disgracefully whilst staying just as opinionated and smart (may even get wiser), that irks me.

Having said that, another reason I prefer Obama over Clinton is his relative youth - different generation, different style. If only there was some way to make John McCain seem old in comparison... ;-p