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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  February 19, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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but i want to give you the opportunity that if you do have any ideas how they could do a better job how they would do about it? >> i think we touched upon that earlier talking about cyber realism. . .
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it's a broader abstract thing and as i said i do believe that much here depends on whether it is a centralized approach to a subject. you have local decision-making, making decisions as to whether the internet is conforming to china and azerbaijan and belarus or not because i think the people who are in a much better position to assess financial impact of the internet are people who know everything about the internet. you can watch blogs all day and still know nothing about the role of national religion with belarus. pick any country in the middle east. much of it has to do with the kind of internal structuring of kind of how do you actually
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learn and how you actually learn about the way the internet is transforming the world. my own experience is that the reason there is so much cyber-- is because the media, because the area's internal structures has been much more positive in the changes, partly because often, it is the pro-western democratic bloggers who are the only ones who want to speak in the western media. you do not run into conservative iranian borders partly because that will get them in prison and the second reason is because they just announced bbc as an agent of the imperialist west of the stories we get to hear about those bloggers have to do with
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bloggers promoting the interests of civil society and secular culture. so i think you know my sort of overarching point is that we do need whatever framework we are deciding on, we do need to be extremely careful about the processes by which we learn, by which we decided by which we make decisions and i think once we have all of this in mind we can then start thinking who needs to get more funds, who needs to get more power and whether we need actually someone who will be highlighting the role of the american companies which were will let american companies do the job without necessarily publicizing the connection to the u.s. government. so that is sort of a level. there are many problems i outlined in the book like the cyberattacks on the web sites of
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ngo's which are a global problem in nature ended to require solutions which will involve multiple countries, multiple service providers. it will require much work and can be done by a certain -- issue of human rights or what not. but i think they will just need perhaps a slightly different mechanism but i do not think that they, the presence of those four or five, six problems that do require global solutions will justify an entirely internet centric as i call it in the book, approach to thinking about the political problems -- power of internet. >> i think that's probably is a perfect enough rested on an eye if i thought that it was absolutely rich justice that somebody who comes from belarus and who is that so deeply about the this sort of failed utopia of the 20th century should be guiding us through, or i should
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say pushing us against their own utopian impulses when it comes to the big story of the next century so thank you so much evgeny. it is a great book and you can follow him on twitter. you can follow him on foreign-policy. he is doing a big book tour everywhere. the profile coming up in the guardian tomorrow says evgeny is leading an entire generation towards a new feature of cyberrealism. i don't know if that is true or not. they missed the headlines. but i think this book is, as you can see from today's discussion, going to get a lot of discussion and i think you can pick up copies out there and you can stay for some wine and thanks to our host at new america. thank you evgeny. [applause]
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>> evgeny morozov is a -- form permission this is web site, evgeny >> coming up next, booktv present after words, an hour-long program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. veteran journalist carole simpson discusses her memoir, "newslady". in it, she details her 40 year career of climbing the ranks in a white male dominated profession eventually becoming the first black female anchor of a national news broadcast. after joining abc news. she shares her story with nia-malika henderson of the "washington post." >> host: i am nia henderson
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joined with carole simpson on after words on booktv. you have written a book, your autobiography, "newslady" and i want to start up asking you why you decided to write this book? >> guest: because i had a 40 yearlong career in broadcast journalism and i don't think anybody else in history has that distinction, and i wanted to tell my story, because i thought it had lessons. i thought it had pain. i thought it had humor. i have had lots of experiences and i just wanted to put them down. and i left abc not a happy person. it was a mutual parting of the ways, but then i was like, now what am i going to do? i decided the first thing i wanted to do was to start writing everything that had happened and it was a real catharsis.
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you should've seen me writing. i would write a story. i was typing on my computer and then i would start crying. it was so painful and i remember the pain and i would have to stop. and they could to get myself together and come back and read again so it was a very difficult to assess to relive all of those experiences. >> host: in that process because they think i think what you said, you were able to go back and look at the journal. tell me a little bit more about the writing process and putting this together. >> guest: well, some time ago, when i was very into the women's liberation movement in the early 70s, and nbc women filed a lawsuit against nbc for the lack of women that were being hired. remember, well you don't remember. in the 70s women were making their voices heard after the civil rights movement that hey we are not getting jobs and we
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are not getting promotions and we are not getting into the corporate suites so in all fields, all kinds of women were raising issues. and i remember when that lawsuit was filed, although i was not a party to it, but according to newspaper stories, they suggested that women write down things. they were talking about incidents that may happen to you, but every day i wrote down what i did and what had happened that day. they dated back to 1974 when i began in network television. so i was able to really have times and dates and everything of all kinds of things that happened to me. so it was just a good exercise in, you you know, reliving those things and knowing where to find them. >> host: right. in the preface of writing a
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memoirs, it is always one part narration but also reflection. what did you learn about yourself in writing this? >> guest: you know, i fell better about myself. when i took the full measure of my career, i don't want to sound a modest, but i was like gee i really did do a lot. i really did make a difference, and that felt really good. and then i was hoping to continue to make a difference by writing the book and hopefully people could get some things out of that they could use and in their workplaces. >> host: you decided to self-publish this. >> guest: because i ticket to literary agents and they said nobody wanted to publish it. one of the things is people kept telling me no. no you can't be a journalist, no you can't anchor the news, no
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you can't be the white house correspondent and i used to use those nose like vitamin pills and just get energy from them. don't tell me no one i know i am prepared and that i am capable and so on. so the same thing happened with the book. somebody was telling me know again. we are not going to publish her book. so i was like the little red hen who asked everybody to help replant her feet and nobody would come and then she said let's go back to your beginning. where did you grow up? >> guest: i grew up in chicago. my kind of town, chicago is. >> host: your parents did what? >> guest: my mother was a seamstress. she didn't finish the ninth great. she took in sewing for wealthy white women and my dad was a people.
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there are lessons imparted by your mother around race. >> guest: my mother was mullato and very beautiful. when she was 13 years old, her white father was asked by white men in town to give her to him. he said if you don't give her to me i am going to take her. of course in the early 1900's that is what happened. if you wanted a watt -- young black girl you got her. so he sent her to chicago to his half-brother. he put her on a train the following morning and said at the door with a shotgun to keep this man from getting his oldest daughter. and she went to chicago, and she had lived in a segregated south. when she had children, she taught me about race.
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i teach a course on cultural diversity at emerson college in boston, and why people don't ever think about there being white. and they point that out. by black people always think about being black and how am i representing myself? how are people viewing me? do i have to fear going into this situation because of my skin color? so she taught me that was going to happen and that i had to know how to deal with it. and that i should never let anybody tell me i was not as good as anyone else. you know i thanked her for that lesson because i don't know what i would have been her tone had she not just pressed me and pressed me and press make. you can do it, you be the best. your parents influence is just tell me what happens on that road trip down south.
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>> guest: it was so awful. i grew up in an integrated situation in chicago. although we have a large black family, so i knew who i was in what i was, but i'd had never been to the south. we were driving to a relative's wedding and to see my grandfather down in washington, georgia. my parents decided that they would take me on this nice drive and go through the great smoky mountain national park. i had never seen mountains before coming from the flatlands of illinois so i was so excited. and when we got through kentucky and into tennessee, we needed a place to stay. we were trying to get a motel and there were vacancy signs everywhere. my dad would go in the office and he would come out saying, they say they have no vacancies.
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i was like, well, the sign. i was 11. i said the sign says vacancy. daddy said, we will find someplace else. we went down this entire highway and there were motels on both sides of it, know what would frances around. we slept in the car cramped up. i didn't understand why we had to go through that. and then daddy wanted to get coffee in the morning before we went into the smoky mountain national park. and he went to a café. i don't know, a diner. a little tidy place but people a fair and he wanted to fill this thermos with coffee and get me some milk. while he went they went into the store, i saw a sign on the door that said no catholics, no jewish, no dogs and no blacks
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allowed. i am using the n word but that is what it said. and i asked my mother, i had never heard that word. i said what is that? she said they are talking about black people. i said, us? she said the i. it turned out my dad went in the wrong door. he should have gone around the back but he went in the front door and he was sent to the back of the store where he got his coffee and he got some milk. no, he couldn't get milk for me because it was in the front of the store and they wouldn't let them go to the front of the store so i drank coffee. my first coffee drinking is a child. and then we got into the park. a beautiful, mountainous, spectacular smoky mountains. i just love them. the little haze on them. we went to the observation deck on the highest peak and i was running around and running
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around, just having the best time. you could see seven states from up there. i saw a water fountain and i was thirsty. i went to drink in a white woman grabbed me, to me by the arm and said, you don't drink there. i was so stunned by how she was treating me. she dragged me around to the back of it where there was a sign. and it was sturdy. the spigot had gum stuck allen it, and again, i had never -- what is this? so i am writing to my mother and father crying because she had been so mean to me. what do those signs mean? what is that all about? and that is where i realized what segregation was, that white people got to drink from the pretty white fountain and black
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people had to drink from this spigot, not a real fountain with bubbly water coming out. so it was a sad, sad day for me. because as i said, while i was told about it, i had never seen it or experienced it, and it changed my life. >> host: how did you take the variances back to chicago? he went to high school and an integrated high school. what was race like in high school for you? >> guest: well, i was very active in high school so i had a lot of contact with white students. i was in the glee club and i was on the student council and i was in the plays, so i didn't hang out with just black kids. i was, you know intermix with all kinds of people. and i looked at them in a different way.
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because as my parents to explain to me, this superior attitude, white privilege, what privilege is all about. and so i had a different look at my friends even though they had never treated me any differently. but the idea that white people can do things that i cannot do was more than i could abide. so i don't think i was quite as friendly with them as i had been. >> host: wow. you when your junior year decided to join the newspaper. what led you to that? >> guest: i had an english teacher that said i wrote very well. it is very funny, about five years ago i got a letter from a teacher that i had in eighth grade in chicago. she had saved one of my papers that i had written about thanksgiving. >> host: she must have really liked this paper. >> guest: she really liked his
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paper and she mailed it to me. she said i kept at all these years because it was one of the best papers i had gotten from a student and i read that paper and i was going, wow, i was good. [laughter] >> host: the blessings of thanksgiving. >> guest: kind of what it meant to me, i don't know. >> host: is it on your refrigerator now at your house? >> guest: it is in a box with all of my memorabilia but it was remarkable that she had saved that. anyhow apparently i did write pretty well and i had an english teacher that said you need to join the high school newspaper. i had never thought of writing. i actually liked acting. i was in a lot of plays and things like that which i am very grateful i was now, because that helps me as a television broadcaster. >> host: your voice. >> guest: learning how to use
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and protect your voice and not being afraid to get in front of people and speak. so i joined the newspaper and they gave me a column called division is. they weren't homer and then. they were called the visions of my job was to go around to all the homeroom senator be people about what was going on with the people of in the homeroom. it was actually kind of a gossip column or something. who won the spelling bee and who won the science fair. but i insist -- enjoyed so much having access that me, carole, could go around to these rooms and talk to the teachers and talk to the students and know things before anybody else knew them, and then write them up and see my bylines. oh my goodness, you must be wonderful. it is kind of a heady
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experience. >> host: indeed. so you make the decision that this is going to be your life's work. >> guest: i am like i love this. the attention, the access, people coming up to me and wanted wanting to tell me information. and i was a curious child, who read a lot. i guess i was pretty nerdy, but it all worked. the reading, the writing, the access and being able to ask questions and get answers was just wonderful, and i said this is what i want to do. but did i know anybody black who was a reporter? did i know anybody, a white woman that is a reporter or any woman? elena was lois lane from superman. and brenda star from the comic books. but, the idea, and knew there was a "chicago tribune" and a
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chicago daily news. there were all kinds of great newspapers in chicago at the time and my parents were avid newspaper readers. so seeing the bylines in the newspaper there and the people were covering things, murders and fires and politics. i just decided i had to do that. >> host: yoo and you tell your parents that this is what you have decided. you want a career as a journalist. what did they say? [laughter] >> guest: silly girl. silly little girl. you can't be a journalist. women don't do that and black women don't do that. you need to go become a teacher, so you can take care of yourself you can always get a teaching job but we don't want to spend tuition, and it was a struggle for them to get my tuition together for me.
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and it was like, you need to be a teacher or a nurse or a social worker. that is just about all the things young women in their early 60s would aspire to. and i was just, no, i don't want to do that. i really want to do this. so there were a lot of fights in my household and a lot of slamming of my door and putting my foot down. again, this was the first know. no, you can do this. and i was just determined and finally they saw i was not going to be happy. i was not going to be a good person to live with in less i got this opportunity. so, they supported me and i thank god for having supported parents, who didn't go to college but made sure me and my sister did. >> host: at some point you hear a second know, the second of many nose when you apply to school, northwestern.
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>> guest: northwest and university in evanston illinois. i was right outside of chicago and that that is where he wanted to go because at the time it was one of the best journalism schools in the country. and i had great grades. as i told you, i was in all kinds of activities and things. i had a b+, a- average from high school. i applied at northwestern and little did i know there was a quota system going on. they have acknowledged it now that there was a quota for the number of jewish in the number of blacks that they took into the college. so i go to the admissions counselor, and he tells me i was wasting my time. that i needed to go become a nice english teacher, that i could get a job. but i would never get a job working for the "chicago tribune." so i was going to get the rejection notice a few weeks later.
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we regret to inform you. i remember those first words. >> host: -- >> host: fnm below. >> guest: thin envelope. little tiny letters. i was like, and my parents thank god didn't say we told you so. but i said well i am applying someplace else. >> host: you end up eventually graduating from where and what year? >> guest: the university of michigan and why do you want the year? everybody will know how old i am. >> host: nevermind. >> guest: 1962. >> host: 1962 and you did well in school. >> guest: i did well in school again and there were 60 graduates in my class from journalism. everyone had a job at graduation time except me. and so i went to work at the chicago public library, where i had worked every summer from the
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time i was 15 years old. here i am with a degree and i am going back to my high school job, my college summer job. and i was disappointed, but i just felt something is going to happen, something is going to happen. and i got this call from the dean of the school saying that he had lined up an internship for me. it didn't look good for the university to have one black student who did not have a job, so we worked very hard to make that happen. and that is how i ended up in tuskegee alabama. >> host: tell us about that. what was the south like? it is the early 60s. what is going on there? >> guest: oh boy. i was there for everything. i was there when george wallace stood in the schoolhouse door at the university of alabama. i was there during selma at birmingham, the fire hoses and
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dogs and all of that was happening so close to me. i am in this little rural town of 5000 people in the middle of nowhere alabama. but we saw the news and you have to watch the national news because the local news didn't do a good job of covering the civil rights movement. and i felt bad that i was not demonstrating, that i was not part of the movement, that i should have been out there. but then i'm like, but i want to be a journalist. >> host: you didn't join it because you wanted to maintain that object privity and cover it >> guest: >> guest: yes, and it changed me again because i have been in the north and now i knew it segregated life was like. i lived under segregation.
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a young guy asked me out to a movie in tuskegee, alabama. there was one little movie theater there, and he said we are going to have to cook our own popcorn and bring it there. and we need to buy some candy bars because we couldn't go down on the first floor for the concession stand was. all the black people had to sit up in the balcony, which of course they never cleaned it or take care of it. and i was like, no, i am not doing it. i am not going into a segregated facility. i had to go to montgomery alabama to shop and they wouldn't let you try on clothes. there was a dressing room for white ladies and the white man and then there was a dressing room in which men, women and children had to change clothes. i was not going to abide i that
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segregated dressing room. so you would have to hold up close and see if it would fit or something like that. and i was like, oh my got. i can't stand this. this is crazy. i was like on another planet. so i would end up doing catalog shopping or my mother would send stuff from chicago down to me because i just couldn't go back into the atmosphere. and the horrible things that were shouted at me by young white men as i walked down the street. i won't repeat them but you can imagine they were nasty and hurtful. and i just hated the south. i came to hate the south. and southern people, i was just, i was very radical about my feelings about the south. but you know, it made me do the
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stuff that made a difference, because i didn't demonstrate. but for those people who i've gotten their heads beaten and he died, and who were imprisoned and all those kind of things, i felt i have to do something for my people. i have to do something to make things better. so i was determined that i would work wherever i was in trying to make things improve conditions for black people and that is why i ended up being very outspoken about the lack of blacks and corporate offices, the lack of black reducers and women producers and all of those kinds of things. but it was largely based on that experience in the south and feeling helpless and deciding i have got to do something. >> host: you finally leave the
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south and you go back up north, first in iowa and then you finally land back at home in chicago in the 60s. it is about 1965. tell me about chicago, what was going on then and also this radio job that you had there? >> guest: i wanted to be a press reporter and a difference between 62 when i couldn't get a job and 65 was an amazing length of time. a lot had happened during that period of time. and in chicago, the civil rights movement was growing in the south. people were making demands for construction jobs and getting into the trade unions and things like that. and, so black people were sought out to be reporters. they would take people off the street. do you want to be on tv?
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because black people it said you are not going to cover our offense and less to get black camera crews, black reporters and i thank them for saying that because i don't know how many of us would have entered the profession that early. so, i had jobs from all over. i was getting job offers. all of a sudden my sex and my color that had been handicaps were now advantages. so i ended up taking a job for a huge radio station, the 100,000-watt station that was heard on the east coast even, and became the first woman to broadcast news in chicago. i had changed from print broadcast because while i was at the university of iowa and graduate school, i joined the radio station. i thought i would try that. >> host: and you had that voice. >> guest: which again
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developed the drama. it is so funny how things fall into place. so yes, i was on the radio and they were like, oh my, gosh you sound really good that they didn't like women on the radio. we were shrill. our forces were shrill and difficult to listen to. i was like, who said that? where are the market studies that show that? it was just a reason to keep us out of certain jobs. but i loved radio, because of the intimacy. it is you and the audience and the story you covered and you are telling it to them. so i just really loved radio and ended up taking a job instead of all the offers i got from newspapers to work with this big radio station in chicago. >> host: times were tough there. you might have been happy there and certainly making history as the first black woman on radio, but your colleagues weren't as
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happy to have you there. >> guest: oh no. it was a big news department for a radio station. there were 13 of us, reporters. they didn't want me there. they were upset that i was there. they were like, what is she coming here for? i had not worked my way up from a small station to bigger station, up to this great big station in chicago which at the time was the second biggest market in the nation before l.a. grew so much. chicago was the second city. everything was second there. and so they resented the fact that i was hired. so they set out -- i believe it was a conspiracy -- set out to make me fail. to make me mess up. to have management have an excuse to get rid of me. like sending me to a news
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conference, being assigned to cover a news conference that happened an hour before i was told it was happening. and coming back empty-handed and having the news director say, -- i said that they told me -- it sounded so lame. but they told me that was where it was. when i was on the air, they would open the door and someone would stick his naked behind it my face to make me break on the air or to make me stop what i was doing, but i was doing a newscast. i had to keep going. they threw robert tarantulas on the desk. they set my papers on fire. when you are on the air, they come in and you can't say, what are you doing in here? i am reading the news. they would come stand behind me and snatched the papers out of my hand. i learned very early how to get around those guys, by saying,
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repeating our top story since i didn't have the rest of the news i would just drag it out and because i had written them, i knew them so i could add lip some of the stories. but what they did when they were trying to make me mess up was give me more focus. >> host: to make you better. >> guest: it made me better, but i mean, if i'm on the air and you heard an explosion, i just had that kind of focus that nothing would shake me. thanks to their pranks. >> host: we are going to take a break and we will be back with carole simpson. >> after words with carole simpson and nia-malika henderson will continue after this short break.
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>> after words with carole simpson and nia-malika henderson continues. >> host: we are back with carole simpson. carole, tell me who you meet in 1966? someone who changes your life and changes your career. >> guest: dr. martin luther king. i had watched, you know being in
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alabama, i had seen all of the demonstrations he was leading leaving and all of his work and of course his speech in washington, the i have a dream speech. i just had so much admiration for this man, and i never thought i'd get an opportunity to meet him. but he announced from atlanta that he was going north to chicago, and he was going to fight segregation in chicago. well, this big competitive news town, all the reporters are trying to find out what the heck is he going to chicago for? mayor richard j. daily was mayor of the city of chicago and he was horrified. there is nothing wrong with the city of chicago, so everybody was trying to find out what it was that he was coming for. i asked my news director, can i have this story? he said well, he is black, he is
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black, probably. [laughter] so i went to o'hare airport, waiting for all the planes coming from atlanta with all the other reporters and tv crews, so we are going from gate to gate and the planes are coming in from atlanta. never saw him arrive anywhere. and so, it turned out we found out, i found out from one of the ticket agents that he had been taken off the back of a plane and taken down and a car on the tarmac and driven away from us. so most of the reporters thought he was going to stay in a hotel that he frequented when he came to chicago in downtown chicago. for some reason i felt, if he is being discarded about it and doesn't want anybody to know anything, maybe he is going to
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stay out here near the airport. so i started by myself with my little tape recorder. i start going from hotel to motel all around the airport and i am so silly. i am so young. i ago, is dr. king registered here? if he would be registered as dr. martin luther king. i am sure he would have would have been mr. green or something like that. so all of these people were saying no, he is not registered here. but one of the hotels that i went and, there was something i got from body language. you know, you learn as a reporter to pick up on that. it was just the way she said it that i leads, i know he is here. so when she wasn't looking, i went up the elevator. i stopped on two, i stopped on three, i stopped on four. i was looking up and down the corridors looking for any
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activity. fortunately it was a long hotel that didn't have other corridors. it was just one, so you could look off the elevator and see if there was any activity. and they knew he would be traveling with his lieutenants. so i get to the seventh floor, and i see all these black men at the end of the hall. so i start heading that way, and i said to one of the gentlemen. he said young lady? i said i want to get an interview with dr. king. [laughter] >> host: sure, no problem. >> guest: he said, no dr. king is not giving any interviews. and i said, but i'm here to see why he is coming to chicago. can somebody tell me why? no, he is having a press conference at 10:00 in the morning and you will find out with everyone else. well that didn't make me very happy. so i decided i was going to stay
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by the elevator. he would have to get past me whenever he went anywhere and if i could get to him and not his palace guards, i might be able to get through to him. so, had newspapers. i got a diet coke. it was probably tab back then. [laughter] and i sat down on the marble floor, sitting on my coat. it was wintertime. and i waited. i was there starting at about 7:00 in the evening. and they were just huddling back and forth down that hallway, people coming and going and i'm looking for dr. king. i recognized ralph abernathy and hosea williams. they were all there. and i'm like, oh my god.
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it is the whole brain trust. and so all night, i waited. the man came out at about midnight and said, young lady, you ought to go home because dr. king is not going to talk to you tonight. you should just go to the news conference. i said no, i am determined to see him. i am going to stay. and he said okay. so all night long, i don't know how i was -- i was aching all over and sitting on that hard floor. at about seven tonko 30 in the morning, i see dr. kaine coming my way. i can't tell you. it was like a halo of us around him, like a god was coming my way. and i straightened myself up and tried to press my hair down and look for sensible after a night on the floor.
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he came up to me and he says are you the young lady they have been telling me about? i said yes, sir. he said have you been here all night? i said yes, sir. i had to see you. i said, could you please, i am the only black reporter. it would be so fantastic if i could scoop the rest of the city and you could tell me why you are here. he said, i admire your perseverance. and he whispered in my ear, he got close to my ear and he told me, i am here to challenge the housing segregation in the city of chicago, which was and still is probably the most segregated city in america. and i was like, really? he said i'm going to be a direct challenge to mayor richard j. -- richard j. daily. he said that don't tell anybody.
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what? don't tell anybody? he winked kind of in the got onto the elevator and he said, good luck young lady. i think you are going to go far. he gave me such a boost. i ran to the telephone. i reported the story. it was picked up by a network and everybody else was reporting it hit the ap wire said w. cfl that doctor king is here for this and so i went to the news conference at 10:00 after doing lots of reports about how i had gotten the story. and he saw me in the audience. he gave me a wink. and i went highhi, dr. king. [laughter] and he really put me on the map, because no longer was anybody
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asking, who is carole simpson? everybody knew me well. >> host: at this point you are in radio but you eventually make the switch to tv and land with nbc in a network. tell me about that experience. >> guest: at nbc, had been nine years at local news before it hit the network and they wanted reporters -- now they don't care, but you would see young women doing the news. but they wanted you to be solid and have had a lot of experience before you went to the network. so i had a name in chicago. they thought i did a good job. and they wanted to hire me and moved me to washington d.c., which was my dream. because now i wouldn't be reporting on things just involving chicago and the region, but national things and worldwide things. so i had always wanted to be a correspondent in washington, and
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that is what they offered me. but i get to washington. my dream job. i am not getting any assignments. i was assigned to cover atw, which is the former name of hhs, the department of human -- health and human resources. hhs, health and human services. so i was coming up with story ideas and suggesting all of these things. nobody wanted them. the networks, the nightly news didn't want them. "the today show" didn't want them. i was like, what is going on? i was being sent out to do interviews for other people's packages. i had been on the network, working out of the midwest bureau for six months before and moved to washington. so i happened -- this one on for about eight or nine months.
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i was miserable. i was not doing anything. i was not called upon. this is not what i imagine. why aren't they at the white house? and so a friend of mine went to london and visited what had been are old news director in chicago. she said, what is carole doing? i don't see her on the air. he said the word is she has gotten lazy. she went to washington and got lazy. and thank god she came home and reported her telephone conversation to me. i just went berserk. lacy? you can call me ugly. you can call me stupid. but don't call me lazy. that is not but i am. and it was such a pejorative and so associated with black people that i just, i went crazy. and so i immediately went into the bureau bureau chief and said, it has crossed the atlantic ocean that i am lazy
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and i understand the whole network thinks i am lazy. i want out of this contract. i am waiting. i'm going back to chicago. carole, what are you talking about? he claimed to have not heard any of this. and he said, don't you worry. we don't want you to leave. i will look into this. well, that night at 9:00 i got an assignment, an assignment i knew was going to get on the air and of course the next day i was on the air. images showed me how people can make things happen if they want to make them happen. if they don't want to make them happen --. so i vowed to find out who it was that it started that rumor. and i had called everybody that i had worked with in chicago that for now been at work and said, you know me. you know i'm not lazy. every time you hear that what you promise me you would tell them that you know carole wax
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why would i come here and become lazy for my dream job? so things worked out. it took me two years to find out who it was, but i found out who it was. and i made him pay. [laughter] i made him pay. and i told people who it was. and it is like, but you know it is the old boy network. they still supported him. he may have been chastised. he may have been reprimanded, nothing formal, no suspension or anything like that. but he was still there. but i did everything i could to undermine him and anyway i could, the way people try to undermine me.
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>> host: eventually you move, after spending a number of years at abc. you decide to go to nbc. >> guest: they offered me money. the great television producer that was running abc and had run abc sports built the news department and he started taking people from other networks. he tried to get the best talent. we used to call it the almost broadcasting company when i was at nbc. he was determined to build this into a force. and so he hired me away from nbc and i was happy to go. it was more money. and that is where i spent most of my career, 24 years i stayed at abc. >> host: what did you experience there and see in terms of abc news' treatment of
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women? >> guest: bad. it was real bad. we got together. we started getting together socially because i have done that at nbc. i found the women at abc weren't even talking to each other because what the men had done is set them up as you know, competitors towards each other. not competitive with the men but competitive toward each other so they would play women against women. who would get the good assignments and who wouldn't get the good assignments? we started getting together socially to talk about things. they always ended up with what happened at work. and we have realized there were no women in the corporate suites. there were no women that were senior producers of any shows. no executive producers, no bureau chiefs, no foreign correspondents, no woman on a major beat in washington which pitted the white house or congress or something like that.
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and we were really being denied opportunities and why? we needed to bring that to the attention of people. there was talk of lawsuits. let's sue them about this. i said no, let's go through channels. so i was chosen to be the spokesperson because nobody else wanted to be. and so we made an astounding presentation. we did a content analysis of every show to show where women and i nor his were not and how many there were a fuss, how many women were doing what. and it changed. he said i never really thought about it. he had come out of sports so he was used to being with guys and you know the importance of women around wasn't a big deal. but he did and i give him credit for making changes based on our presentation. >> host: and the results,
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changes were actually made their? >> guest: they were. we had a woman named vice president. i became an anchor for the weekend is. we had a women assigned to the white house. we had to women bureau chiefs named, two women correspondents. we also found out that women were making $30,000 less than men as producers, doing exactly the same job and having to have exactly the same qualifications. and so, they ended up doing a pay equity study and equalizing the salaries. and you know that is still in place. that changes they are, so women are not starting off with one hand behind them. so women have made a lot of progress at abc news. still not the big jobs. the hiring and firing once but there are vice president overseeing shows and things. but we are still trying.
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there are lots of cracks in the glass ceiling but we haven't broken through it yet. to have it resident of a network or something. >> host: while you were there, you were doing double duty. on the weekend to run anchor but you are also a correspondent during the weeknights. >> guest: the best combination i could imagine. i could get up, get dressed up on sunday night, at my hair done and my makeup done and talk to the people. i loved talking to the people and i just felt they were my people out there that i was talking to. and then, my love is reporting. i covered a lot of social issues because nobody else wanted to cover them. so i did the crack babies and i did the juvenile crime and i did the post-traumatic stress syndrome that children were getting and i did crack mothers and really important stories, i
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felt, for the network. but they don't do those stories any more. do you know why? people don't want to be upset. so we have got a situation -- i mean i am kind of glad that i am not in network television now because it is programmed to what people want. they don't want to see public housing. they don't want to see poor people. they want medical breakthroughs, business and a little bit of the news with the president. but they don't want to see anything that upsets them. and that is what i want to do. what is his name? i can't remember his name, 100 years ago, that our job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. and i held that true to the way i covered the news. >> host: that suddenly came through when you come in 1992,
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moderated the town hall town hall between then governor clinton, president bush and ross perot. you describe that as the crowning achievement of your career. tell us about that. >> guest: 1 million people were watching. i was chosen to do the debate because there had been some criticism about the previous debate. there were no people of color. said they got a twofer with me being a bum and and an african-american. and you know if they had gone to abc and said, give us somebody to moderate this debate, do you think abc would have chosen me? it would have been peter jennings or ted koppel or diane sawyer and i would have been way down on the list but i was chosen by the campaign and the bipartisan commission on presidential debates. i had covered clinton and i had covered george h. w. bush for eight years so i knew him very
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well. and they approved by being the moderator. and it was very scary to me because it was this town hall format, and we hadn't had one of those before. they had all been panels of reporters asking questions of the candidates. so there were no films i could go back and look at and see how you do this. so it was really, you know, on-the-job training. but i was seen by 91 million people, and i go overseas and people still remember me overseas, because they were watching. the red suit was so the cameraman and the director could spot me. >> host: in a crowd. >> guest: if i was in another dark suit by -- like the candidates it would would have n hard.


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