Former VH1 programmer and Flavor of Love creator Michael Hirschorn has said of reality TV, “If women didn’t want these shows, they wouldn’t get made.” This gender-specific variant on Fox programmer (and Joe Millionaire mastermind) Mike Darnell’s “giving people what they want” mantra ignores a central truth: Marketing plays a mammoth role in generating the illusion of populist demand. Without 2000’s Survivor, the reality genre may not have become a network mainstay. But behind Survivor’s long-term, landscape-shifting impact was the relentless promotion of the series by Viacom, which had recently merged with CBS and Infinity Broadcasting. Survivor wasn’t only a […]
Search Results for: Jennifer L. Pozner
Corporate realities behind ‘reality TV’
New media, same gender imbalance
Women's voices have long been lacking in corporate media. As Internet outlets compete more and more with traditional media as a source for news and opinion, will women's voices be heard there more frequently than in print publications? If the Huffington Post, one of the most prominent and successful blogs today, is an accurate barometer, the answer is no. The Huffington Post is a left-leaning site that features opinion pieces by the site's founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, as well as by a wide assortment of guest bloggers. According to the blog-tracking website Technorati, it is the single most-linked-to blog […]
Public Broadcasting Gone Wrong?
Last year, FAIR's Women's Desk organized the Feminist Coalition on Public Broadcasting, an ad-hoc coalition of public interest groups whose representatives met with PBS executives in November 1999. The topic on the agenda: the journalistic inaccuracies and conflicts of interest in PBS's National Desk, a public affairs series whose three-part documentary on the so-called "gender wars" argued that advances for women and girls are leading to a "gender Armageddon" for boys and men. Produced by the conservative Whidbey Island Films and funded by the right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley, John M. Olin, and Sarah Scaife foundations (along with PBS and […]
Below is the letter FAIR sent to PBS in reply to its findings on the National Desk "gender wars" series. Sandra Heberer Director, News and Information Programming Tom Epstein Vice President, Communications Public Broadcasting Service 1320 Braddock Place Alexandria, VA 22314-1698 June 23, 2000 Dear Ms. Heberer and Mr. Epstein: Thank you for your letter explaining the results of your investigation into the April 1999 National Desk series on the "gender wars." FAIR is glad to know that PBS "deeply respects" the expertise and dedication of the representatives you met from the Feminist Coalition on Public Broadcasting’s member organizations. However, […]
Below is the letter PBS sent to FAIR detailing the findings of its internal investigation into the National Desk "gender wars" series, undertaken in response to the Feminist Coalition on Public Broadcasting. May 5, 2000 Ms. Jennifer L. Pozner Women’s Desk Director FAIR 130 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 Dear Ms. Pozner: We have examined the three NATIONAL DESK programs on gender issues in light of the information you and the coalition you represent have provided us. Last November, we were pleased to meet the individuals who comprise the coalition. We are grateful for their analyses, and deeply […]
'Natural' sexual assault theory 'irresistible' to profit-driven media
When Taliban leaders claim women incite sexual assault by wearing clothing more revealing than a burkah or leaving their homes unchaperoned by male relatives, it's not hard for U.S. reporters to recognize these statements as products of misogyny. But when two evolutionary psychologists recently put forth the same basic notion under the guise of objective science, they became highly sought-after media stars. Book excerpts in small science journals don't tend to receive torrents of mainstream media coverage. But that's what happened when The Sciences (1-2/00) ran an essay titled "Why Men Rape" by evolutionary psychologists Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer. […]
TV Guide should look at the numbers before they cheer journalistic gender parity
TV Guide's cover story on "How Women Took Over the News" (10/9/99) painted a pretty then-vs.-now picture of gender equity in the newsroom, in which "women are on every beat, in every aspect of news, as fixtures in jobs traditionally held by men." Way back when, TV Guide reminisces, women were "second-class citizens in TV news," subjected to age and gender discrimination, and Diane Sawyer "got into journalism...the old-fashioned way"--by wearing "pointy bras" and lots of hair spray. Not so anymore, TV Guide asserts, now that Sawyer shares the news media spotlight with Katie Couric, Christine Amanpour, Claire Shipman and […]
DOES PBS CONSIDER WOMEN PART OF THE PUBLIC?
A national coalition of over 30 feminist, progressive groups and individuals-- including Barbara Ehrenreich, Gloria Steinem, the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and women and men from the labor, black, Latina and South Asian grassroots communities-- has met with PBS to discuss why a recent anti-feminist series was presented by the network as impartial journalism. Of particular concern was that the series aired in the context of a PBS lineup that, overall, under-represents women and people of color. Organizations in the Feminist Coalition on Public Broadcasting are mobilizing their memberships […]