tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 6, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
logy which is harder to quantify, which is trustworthiness. you can build a big audience and i a lot of traffic, but you have to be anything that your audience believes in beyond entertainment. tom: is there something about sharing. data would suggest that people share things publicly -- once you share it on facebook or elsewhere, it means you are recommending. shani: yes, although that has changed. three years ago, people were not sharing as much content about sex and bodies and menstrual cups or whatever. now that has shifted where people feel comfortable about sharing that stuff on facebook with their names attached. tom: some people do. [laughter] tom: rocco, what is the essence of vice's growth? rocco: we started as a print
product. i think max and i can agree on this, but at the sake of argument emergent yourself in stories on a lesser level, i don't know./ -- emerging yourself in the stories, and transparency, but on a lesser level. i don't know. you're being very honest about your own experience, not getting in the way of the story. i think that translate to video s to video very well. it is interesting how that might translate to social. i don't know how that works. we are seeing things like that emerge. we were talking earlier about snapchat. it is fleeting, it makes you feel like you have an exclusive on something. that may be the next frontier on how we interact the news.
one thing that vice has taken from the old guard is listening to its readers and viewers. those are the people at the end of the day that you have to answer to. tom: dean in seeing with them. rocco: i think so, and finding and keeping the pulse on of the zeitgeist. tom: which is it different from the old-style -- different from the olympian voice of the old-style? rocco: yes, taking things further out and it knowing that it is recorded in some regard. there will be interesting cultural shifts happening. you are seeing it on
entertainment level. with this post-snowden environment, i think it will affect the media ways. all of those things are participatory. tom: we will get into that. that is a big issue. before we do, let's get down to a basic thing, so people understand the structure of your organization. traditional american immediate -- media has been funded by advertising. in radio, that was some version of display, ads, video ads. what is the revenue model of gawker, and if it is, what kind? -- if it is advertising, what kind? max: for 2013, we were 80% funded by advertisements. it was similar to that last year. we have a very traditional revenue model. a slightly different thing we do from print is that week felt -- we sell sponsored posts not written by advertisers necessarily, but
approved by advertisers that are labeled as "such and such post sponsored by brown ale" that appears in our feed somewhat similar to our post. you see this in magazines where you see inserts of doctors and things like that. the other bit of revenue that is new and growing quickly for us. gawker is one of eight sister blogs. we have a whole host of gadjet and tech focused blogs. whenever we do a review, it includes a link to that gadget. we have an affiliate partnership
with amazon. if you purchase it through that link to amazon, we get some portion of the revenue. 15% of our revenue in 2013 was just through affiliating alone. it is a weirdly growing thing. i am not 100% control with it, but we do label it. we say if you purchase this through our link, we received some of the revenue. tom: it is transaction revenue. how easy is it to note that sponsored content is sponsored? max: it depends on the person. i am skeptical that the majority of our readers know what gawker is. what they are seeing when they see this stuff they come across. given that a huge portion of our audience is revenue to gawker. it is unlikely to me that they would know what a regular gawker post compared to eight sponsored one. -- compared to our sponsored one. there is an offset of color, there is a post that says is sponsored. you cannot comment on them obviously advertisers are not interested in letting you comment. [laughter] it strikes me as pretty similar
to what print and newspapers and magazines have done with big ads that are meant to resemble a newspaper. tom: what are traditionally called advertorials. and do you sell banner and pop-up ads? max: we do./ for now. i am not super privvy to the actions of our advertising departments. tom: i won't bore people with all of this. at sxsw and he told the origin tale. i'm sure you've seen this any times. but he said when we started buzzfeed some of the traditional revenue is pop-up ads. he said, we start with the perception that banner ads
suck, that is why we can't charge much for them. we will invent a new form that people like as much as the rest of our content. and he gave a big this to what is now -- a big impetus to sponsored content. is that a big part of your revenue model? shani: i tend not to think about that in the arena as editor. tom: your people have no involvement in creating the sponsored content. how about at gawker? rocco: none. it's like church and state. tom: for a church in state law how does that work? rocco: it is interesting. pop-up ads are annoying. people that flipped through magazines look at the
advertisements, that for so long. i think there is a church and state. if you look at ink on paper for so long, exponentially technology develops more quickly. you see pop-up ad, those quickly lose their value. there is going to be new platforms through which content and advertising. -- there are going to be new platforms to which content and advertising are distributed. the first thing is that there are three problems to me. -- three prongs. those three prongs are in some way the way vice's revenue problem works. i tried not to think about it while i was there. [laughter] what the advertiser is buying an association. an association of authenticity. that is what advertisers want. you do not want your acura ad next to a pileup on the freeway.
you are buying the readership or the viewership. that is what an advertiser is looking for. i think model advice is similar. there is also advertising or a creative services division. i think the ultimate goal is to not do anything that crosses that line. and because of our content, we work with brands closely so that they think there is an authenticity. you can make a custom campaign for them. there is a different leg there then what is going on with you guys. tom: as the editor, there is some sponsored content that you think is terrible, do you have any role in raising concerns? max: i have an open mind to the people who do that. to their credit, they want us to
be good. that is what their job is, to make stuff that hues three -- two ofto a version of the gawker voice that takes some of the shine, has some of that gawker aura. we have had trouble in the past. the division is enough, that our site kotaku mispelled the site otaku the entire post. that sort of thing will get fixed immediately. i think it's better for me not to be able to say, take down this horrible sponsored post unless it is legitimately making it more difficult for my -- you know, when you buy the package. tom: one way or another, you are selling trust. at gawker, you are selling an inside story. at buzzfeed, your trying to build up trust fund these other
-- from these other topics. as editor, you are in charge of detecting that trust. -- you are in charge of protecting that trust. does everybody agree with that? in theory. what metric is most important to you? max: traditionally at gawker it has been page views. most of my job has been page views, we are asked to bring a certain number of visitors every month. recently we talked about moving away from that to some nebulous new set of metrics. this is a corny thing to say the best metric is to get a couple e-mails from people that like what we do, even if it is just 2-3 emails. especially on pieces that we are getting a lot of flack for. i don't know if that is a metric of success, but it is the closest sense to feeling that you did some a good.
-- did something good. tom: that is remarkable. that is the kind of thing you might hear an editor say 30 years ago. what about at buzzfeed? my goal is hitting someone acting badly fired from their job. we have a socialist, which is a -- a social list which is a proprietary way of seeing how many people have shared it. getting a sense of how our it is spreading beyond the people that you seeded it to on twitter. we also have time spent, engagement, and obviously page views. tom: so it is not just sharing. shani: no. rocco: i think putting someone in jail was lying and get away with it. that is my ultimate goal.
you can get a lot of traffic off that. [laughter] internally, of course page views matter. i think there also might be part of our job to not be disingenuous, not to trick anyone. but you do want to bake them it them into the honey. and then give them a little bit of salt water when they come in. this is the way the world is. the world is not just cats. [laughter] tom: you are not entirely new there. joseph blitzer invented the comic strip in the 19th century -- joseph pulitzer invented the comics of the 19th century. okay. so let's talk about ethics. do you guys all have an ethics policy? max: we don't. [laughter] max: i mean, i have a personal set of ethics. i hope our writers do too. my ethics can be used to trap
us, to give us an idea that we are in a publicly accountable box. the executive editor of gawker says that ethics is a measure of how much scurrilous and this your brand is -- how much scurrilousness your brand is willing to bear. we are in the business of giving information. it's the question of, how much are you willing to get that in ways that people might not like? we are willing to do stuff that a lot of folks are in -- uncomfortable with. tom: what would you get fired for at gawker? max: not doing a good job. we have not once had a writer fired over a story. plagiarism, generally, we
suspended a writer for even the hint of plagiarism on a post. it is not about pissing off an advertiser. tom: you just recently wrote one? what is the essence of it? shani: the central concept is -- i canvassed people across my editorial. my thought is that it needs to make it easy for reporters to do their jobs. that, to me, means giving everybody guidelines. not necessarily exact answers on how to approach ethical crises but a general sense of how we operate. how i think, how ben thinks, how jack, our editorial director thinks.
because we have become a large organization. making it easy for people to access how we would approach. -- approach any particular ethical situation, and making it easy as possible for people to do their jobs. not to trap them. tom: are there established guidelines, what should they be? and this question of massive amounts of data that of been -- had inbeen obtained by who knows? this touches on that, and also on the question of information that is secondhand, that you did not gather yourself. by the way max, i will send you a copy of "the ethics of
-- "the elements of journalism" so you can build an ethics code. [laughter] what do think the stance of journalism should be about illegally obtained info, but not illegally obtained by you? rocco: i think the standard is the same, and still is. i think you'll find we are circling back to a lot of things. i read the ethics code, it is really great. i think you have thought through most things. i think it was spot on. i have to tell you that. shani: thank you. rocco they are pretty : traditional values, i think. really the question is, is it in the public's interest to know? you can get into the cold gatekeeper thing. -- the whole gatekeeper thing. i feel that morality is no longer a religious thing, it is not something that your mom
teaches you, it is an efficiency. because if you lie, you die. that is my ethics policy. because it is going to come out, and it is going to be far worse than, you know than bw, whatever , is going on right now. you can see how bad things can get. that, to me, is the most simple policy. in terms of these leaks, have -- how do you go through gigabytes, or terabytes of information and not look at people's social security numbers, these things that are illegally obtained? hackers have an agenda of putting that together. the story becomes so big at some point. i think the only loadstone you have is that it is in the public's interest. i bet max has some thoughts on this. max: every story is different,
and every writer is different, but there are a huge host of factors you are weighing. maybe the biggest one is privacy interest. tom: by public interest, do you mean is it interesting, or is it a public good? max: maybe those are the same thing. public entertainment is the public good. sony is an interesting example. to think about things are scurillous, i disagree with sony in particular, that is a slamdunk. we're talking about a multibillion dollar company that is having trouble. in this case, angelina jolie is instrumental to a set of business decisions being made by this company. this is celebrity gossip, and what we were accused of when the published in a between jolie
the producer, and head of sony motion pictures entertainment. we published it because it had hollywood quality expletives and insults, but also because of a famous disaster of a movie. the steve jobs movie was a huge disaster for this powerful company. they are private e-mails that unquestionably serve a public interest. versus the social security numbers of thousand sony employees, there is no case you can make that this would serve a public interest and no reason we would want to publish those. that did not even come up. shani: similarly, we found the e-mail between amy pascal and scott rudin about obama's supposed favorite movies, which all happened to be starring black people. i can't even remember what they
were. that is actually news in that we are in a moment where people are looking at the likeness of oscar nominees. -- the whiteness of oscar nominees. this jokey racism plays into all of the stories we are seeing. tom: would you say you are all in the journalism business? [laughter] tom: ok. i mean, that was a question i wanted to ask, not based on the answer people have given. there is a lot of new media that resists that word. that thinks no, that is somethi ng old, and we're inventing some thing you. -- something new. max: gawker's founder said that
we do not do journalism, but we might do journalism accidentally. that we accidentally became journalists, actually. tom: what made you become journalists? max: it became clear that what we were doing was journalism. we always believed that allsup -- that gossip was news. and if that is the case, then it gossiping was an active -- act of journalism. we have been doing news and reporting for so long that it seems silly to put up a ruse. tom: we are going to go to the audience in a moment. there are two quick questions i want to ask. what is the biggest mistake you think your organizations have made so far? [silence] [laughter] tom: i'm going to give you a
pass, rocco. you start, maybe i will come back around. shani: i think one of the biggest mistakes we made is something a gawker reported on quite astutely. in the early days of buzzfeed when we were a content laboratory, we did not have journalists. this predated news, predated our editor-in-chief. there were a lot of bizarre and not quite up to par posts on the site. at some point, someone decided to delete from the site under the auspices of it being predating our journalism operation. we should not have diluted this -- not have deleted those posts. not because we got caught, but it is not right. deleting is the fastest way to get caught doing something, even
if it is not as down and dirty as one might suggest. [laughter] tom: how about a gawker? t gawker? startups are supposed to learn from their failures, so what do you can sit or a failure -- do you consider a failure? max: we kept our foot to the pedal for page views for too long. probably for 18 months to two years too long. recently facebook change the way it serves news to people on feeds. it has meant that stories now get all kinds of insane numbers of people reading them without much effort or quality. when we started, we believe that quality and popularity are, if not identical, or very close together. facebook has changed that dynamic.
we should be thinking about new ways we can measure success and quality. tom: let me get you off the hook a little bit, because this is where i want to shift to anyway. what would you think the biggest mistakes new media are making in general? rocco: i think not being transparent to your readers at all times. is the biggest mistake you can make in this game. that is all i will say. tom: when you say transparent, does that mean about how you got the story, transparent about your personal politics transparent about your intentions? that is a major concept in my books. my view is that is what objectivity is, but what do you mean?
rocco: getting back to church-state-tech, all of that. i think this applies to a lot of new media. their experimental places to make mistakes. if you're going to say that you speak the truth, you have to be able to do that unfettered. i don't know. it sounds like you guys can talk smack on your boss, and it doesn't hurt you. max: are encouraged to. shani: i love talking smack on my boss. tom: so what we are going to do is going to the green room and then max can post it on gawker., [laughter] the last question before we get to questions where do you see this being in five years? what do you see news looking like? in five years, to the extent
that you can or want to make predictions. shani: i don't like to make predictions. max, we were talking earlier about how it is useless, usually. tom: but you have to make business plans. shani: true. but as a pretty traditional journalists, i don't perceive the fundamentals changing very much., you know in terms of what is , good and how to report. beyond that, i don't know. it might also part. tom: we know we are going to mobile. how will that affect storytelling and delivery echoed shani: a majority of our readership comes from mobile. i think about 60%. tom: is that changing the way you write stories? shani: it is fun with our tech team. they are able to give us a preview of what the post will look like on mobile. it has been called the mobile
preview. because we are sitting at computers all day, that is not what most people are seen. -- are seeing. to see what people are actually consuming in a buzzfeed post is useful. tom: and better understanding the audienece's behavior? shani: yes, we like to know what they're thinking. tom: leading or following? shani: it is important to know what kind of couple you want to have a threesome with. [laughter] i think that is a pretty good question. like, we cannot tell people that they should pick kim and kanye. but -- [laughter] obviously they should tell us if they want. rocco: i hope the future is smellovision and holograms. [laughter]
max: i think shani is right. anyone that thinks they know what the content industry looks like 18 months from now is lying to you. things that are important are the ability to build trust with your writers and your publication, the quality of the stories you are bringing out, if you have a fantastic tech team as buzzfeed buzzfeed does, to deliver stories in a way that readers will appreciate. i'm sure you are set. the hope is that nothing will change so much that it will push quality publications out of business. i don't know, either not the business guy. -- i am not the business guy. tom: how much of your traffic comes directly to the page versus social? rocco: ours is about 30% --
one third e-mail, im, and 1/3rd called dark. tom: how about at buzzfeed? shani: i cannot tell you off the top of my head. but i do know it is primarily facebook followed by pinterest and twitter. tom: what about vice? rocco: it follows the same maybe minus pinterest. [laughter] tom: how important is your understanding facebook's mysterious algorithm to know what will succeed in their delivery? shani: i think you can't obsess about it because it is constantly. -- it changes constantly. there is not one outgrow them, -- there is not one algorithm.
there are 40 and they are tweaking them constantly. what will get me traffic today over what people actually care about -- tom: you don't focus on that intermediary. you are still thinking about your audience. shani: yeah. tom: in an increasingly crowded marketplace, one argument could be made -- and you have all talked about this -- you have gravitated towards being more trustworthy. you were not practicing journalism and now you are. do you think that your brand is going to migrate towards becoming more serious, more trustworthy because that will serve the business model? rocco: trustworthy is a funny word. i want to torture it to mean something that it doesn't. which is to say, i want people to trust that we are being
honest with them, not necessarily that what we are writing is true, or that we are 100% positive it is true. we are a gossip rag, and we embrace that and publish gossip. the hope is that we have the integrity and identity that allows people to recognize that without them making the judgment about the stuff we are presenting based on the transparency and so on. the only thing you can rely on is your name, and if so, you want to make sure it is taken seriously, or at least understood. tom: it is a sort of 21st century tabloid. and buzzfeed? do you see that migration toward ms. -- toward seriousness continuing? shani: yeah, but not too
serious. tom: don't take yourself too seriously. journalists should be funny because they deal with all kinds of stuff. some serious issues need to be addressed that were not addressed earlier. so i think it is a trend, if you will. tom: our trend is to go to the audience. >> thank you so much for coming. [indiscernible]
[applause] tom: good question. max: i would say i believe that essentially. i believe that rocco is good at his job. what we are talking about his business models. we have a history of reporting on vice and people coming into stories and telling us that they are only reporting on vice because we are jealous. everybody is jealous of advice they have a lot of money. [laughter] it is important that readers recognize that we're doing the reporting because we believe those stories to be important. tom: let's stick to one question per person. >> hi, thank you all for coming. you will consider yourself to be
-- you all consider yourselves to be in the journals in business, but also you work for websites with a lot of people viewing your articles. how do you balance publishing quality content that is important, but also being quick based? shani: we don't do quick base. tom: remember, you're in the trustworthy business. shani: not every story needs to get the same amount of traffic. that is the most important thing to understand. for us, for me, what i think about most is this story reading the people in needs to reach. -- reaching the people that it needs to reach. if we are doing a story on a chronic fatigue syndrome and it goes to 60,000 people, and then
you go to a quiz on moments that historic your community and it -- that restore your faith in humanity and it goes to 400 million people, that is okay. the people that read the story on chronic fatigue syndrome are sending you e-mails and asking if they can translate it into their journals. there are so many metrics we can measure success on that thinking about everything as traffic is detrimental. but it is also bad for business. tom: do you guys have expectations about how well a certain kind of story should do? worse that more refined -- or is that more refined? shani: i have a general idea depending what a success looks like. but we don't have traffic goals. tom: how about at vice or gakwer? rocco: the metric is quality and it needs to be determined somehow.
if you are good at your job in some regard, you can say that one piece is going to go nuts or get on reddit or something. i got to the point where i could look at something and say, i think this will -- and sometimes i think, this is a shitty story. but that is our job, to predict that. there are other pieces, trying to be dispassionate about it. people will e-mail you about the stories, and if the right person reads it, maybe one person does change. and real-world changes the real -- is the real metric. shani: we got a senior nsa official fired because of a conflict of interest. in her business. that didn't go wide on facebook by any means. i would take that almost any day.
tom: thank you. >> hi, thank you for coming. this is been a very entertaining event. [laughter] tom: a little bit of seriousness. >> my question is -- do you think that someone reading exclusively from the media like her companies could be considered fully informed? follow-up to that would be, do you think your readers have the perception of being fully informed if they are only getting your media? rocco: i do think there is any -- i do not think there is any such thing as fully informed obviously. max: if you read facebook or gawker, i can see yourself being very well informed. which is about as well as you can be informed. shani: i will steal this for my boss, who always says people think of this middleground reader who reads the newspaper every day. he is a little bit interested about the latest incident, and a bit interested in the rocket
going to space, and wants to read the paper to get an anchor -- to get an incremental update on the things. i don't think that kind of person actually exist. the concept of fully informed is not what i think about. rocco: i will say people are more complex than marketing department or editorial departments think. >> thanks for coming. buzzfeed, gawker, and vice all have sister sites or subsections. if you could add a sister site or remove one, which one or why? shani: from each other's? [laughter] >> it's open. max: something we do well, and
could be done better his -- is coverage of internet culture. we call it weird internet, but it is not even weird, it is just to let. -- it is just internet gizmodo does a bit of it. it is a huge new arena and needs good journalists doing good work there because it is incredibly important and influential. >> i really to find a way to -- i really want to find a way to tell climate stories in a way that is readable and compelling. it is just hard. the market for climate journalist has been so diminished in the last 10 years. there is hardly anybody doing it. the people who are doing it are doing worthy, but not readable work.
figuring that out is something i would like to do in the next year. tom: can i ask a related question? traditional newsrooms, as they have shrunk, have largely given up on a lot of diversity goals. what we have done in research at api, the digital divide in terms of minority publishing's not being connected to the internet, that problem may have been solved by wireless. the other problem of digital -- promise of digital, which is there would be this new diversity of content also has not happened. there is a growing concern -- and now we see in technology there is even gender diversity issues. do you see this as a major concern? if the goal is to get to scale and brand as fast as possible,
you rush to those broad appeal categories and things like that are not going to be served? rocco: if you can successfully use some of that to push forth stuff that people might not read otherwise, it balances out. in terms of diversity in shrinking newsrooms, that is a tough dilemma. you can pick and choose, i think. they cross over. the way things are going categories, whatever you want to call them, sister sites. as long as there is that, it only serves the reader more.
>> hi, my question is merely for primarily for shani. you said you wanted to remodel buzzfeed. maybe getting rid of cats. shani: not at all, i love those things. >> do think that may reduce the seriousness? i certainly go to bug the for developing news on things like ferguson and op-ed pieces that i appreciate. but also the less academic type posts, to be gentle. pictures of cats, those are fun, but do you see those as being potentially harmful or detracting?
shani: i genuinely do not. i think it is great and love it. i think most people are not reading buzzfeed as a whole. most people are reading the pieces that cross their facebook page. the thing that we have found through doing research of our users. we like to research what our users think. we felt that people who find out that we do serious news, their estimation of us shoots up in a way that is fascinating, because they just did not know. the answer is not to do less of the fun stuff, but to do more of the news and make it clear that is what we do.
they don't think less of us because we have some fun quizzes. >> okay. thanks. >> what is your approach to international news, and have you -- how do you predict people will consume and learn from it? rocco, vice news has had such strong conflict in the past, but also with the future of buzzfeed news? rocco: i can't speak to vice n ews particularly now. but we did an issue, a "saving south sudan" issue. 30,000 word story about why he -- it was a failed state. i would love to bring attention to issues like that. maybe i didn't answer the. question i would love to do --
maybe i did not answer the previous question. i would like to do a vertical, where basically you pick a topic and keep building in concentric rings. keep building on the story. data science is a huge thing and i don't think it has been cap. an international stuff how does , it effect me? that is an important thing. we can say, this is how it affects you -- this is the oil in sudan follow the money trail. that can be in it shooting -- an interesting thing and i , hope that is the way technology and news go. shani: i'm not quite sure what your specific question was about busby. >> i'm just curious about buzzfeed's approach to international news will go forward? shani: there are two fronts in which we do international news. one is our foreign correspondents. we have people based in nairobi,
the border of turkey. we are hiring a correspondent in nigeria. we have somebody in ukraine. we just hired somebody in mexico city. we have people scattered about just sending dispatches in a very traditional way. we are also expanding in terms of our bureaus it other countries. we have a london bureau. they are becoming a new source for people in the uk. they are doing news and fun stuff and entertainment for the u.k.. we also are looking to expand in brazil, sydney, and other places like that. >> hi. so your organizations have been around almost sense the -- almost since the beginning of communities that have been formed and started on the internet. your websites are very entrenched in those kinds of committees and were built around the same time. -- kinds of communities and were built around the same time. you have to contend with groups coming in this new edge while
-- coming to the internet in this new age while still being this new media that was born from the internet aside from vice, which started in print, but came to the internet. how do you do with those -- how do you deal with those communities coming to the internet and more eestnet the old media -- and more based with the old print media compared to the newcomers? max: that is an interesting question, and one i don't think about much. i think my audience is one young enough -- we are not an appealing place to people, as my parents are fond of telling me. [laughter] in that sense, we don't think about them much at all. we aren't generally a publication largely by people -- that is staffed largely by people under the age of 40.
entirely under the age of 40. we think about news from the perspective people that age, we write it with that perspective. we will take any audience that will have us, but it is not an accident that our audience is young. i don't know if that answers your questions. >> kind of. [laughter] >> i haven't thought much about people who are not internet age coming to our website. we do wide variety of things. there are things that will appeal to them, and things that will not appeal to the middle. -- that will not they will not understand at all. hopefully the right things find them. [laughter] tom: do you care less? is the reader less important if they are 60?
to your advertisers, or to you? rocco: to advertisers, probably. shani: i have no idea. max: i don't think about our demographics much. our demographics are pretty specific, but that is an accident of who we are at this moment in the web more than anything else. i am a bit more afraid of teens who are bigger in number than 45 plus and also don't care about as much because we are not instagram or snapchat. that is a vigor business problem -- that is a bigger business problem for us. >> building on that idea of community. one thing that i think is unique to websites if commenters. i was wondering, the commenting
seen like, on gawker is probably in one of the most vibrant i've seen. i was wondering how you all view that. once i hide it, like buzz view it is hidden at the bottom of the page. how does the media come to that whole scene? max: the founder of our company would be happy to you say that. we are held just accountable -- just as accountable to the comments that we give to readers as the pages that we lay. the best case scenario is that we have a bunch of vibrant intelligent, sharp content that can add context, augment the article,, -- call us out when we are doing something badly. the problem for anyone who has done this long enough on the web will tell you, to actually have a productive or worthwhile
commenting community or any kind of online forum community, you have to have some active moderators, both to bleed out trolls, but also to remind people not to just fall back on these terrible, jokey, mean girl kinds of things. i'm not quite ready to give up on the dream of a great comments section, but i don't blame any publication that doesn't want to devote the resources to it. there is almost nothing worse than having a writer write something very brave or intelligent that she put a huge amount of effort into and then to have the first comment be tl ;dr, or i look to of online and you are really ugly. that is a very common response women in particular are victim to these kinds of insane misogynistic comments.
now that i have reveled for too long, if you can have a comment moderator, then it can only strengthen the website. if you can have someone who selects those voices that should be heard, then it makes the publication better. if you don't, then there is a high chance you are giving actual racists a platform on your page. tom: are there other ways to interact with community if you decide you don't want to do that? and that is for everybody. max: the technology that we push at gawker right now is to come up with some kind of comment section that makes the conversation self moderating. if anyone has ideas, we are open. rocco: you have to post your physical address. [laughter] shani: four news, we have removed what we call our native comments the buzz feed account comments, because google can make those that easily, and
honestly, there is a reason for anyone to comment on a story in palestine. we've made it very difficult for people to comment on news stories, unless you have a facebook account. and then for things like quizzes, lifestyle things, comments are actually very useful in that people can say, hey, i tried this tip and it, or there are some really funny people who tell some funny jokes. we like our community moderators to spend time moderating those places, rather than light terrorism and racial strife --like, terrorism and racial strife. tom: i think we are out of time. i will disclose with one brief statement. that is, journalism is constantly evolving. one of my great friends, bill college, says every generation
invents its own journalism. in the "new york times" and many of you and is remain out like that, it was invented in the 20th century in response to yellow journalism. it was a response, a reaction. when i got into this business a very long time ago, we were trying to essentially put our footsteps into the prince of our elders and just mimic what with a -- what they did. you guys are inventing a new journalism. that is always going to be messy. but it's also a very dynamic age and if you are young and thinking about this, you will indent the next journalism. -- invent the next journalism, and that is very exciting. one other thing i would just add, and that is, the most
profound disruption in media is financial. it's not that the audience has gone away. the audience for news is bigger and more constant than it has ever been. this is a search for revenue as much as it is anything else. >> i would like to join -- to invite you to join me in thanking our fantastic panel. [applause] greg thank you so much for joining us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> coming up in an hour here on c-span live, former hewlett-packard ceo carly fiorina, who said she is considered -- considering running for president. she will be speaking at the center for strategic and international studies in washington, d.c. about micro-finance and developing countries. and tomorrow on c-span, rand paul announcing his presidential campaign. he will be the second candidate to officially join the 2016 race. live from louisville, kentucky at news -- noon eastern. >> tonight on the communicators author vincent mosco on the development of cloud storage and big data and how the government is using it. vincent: the national security agency is building one of the world's largest cloud data centers in a secure mountain
facility in utah. it is doing so because it's surveillance needs require that degree of storage and security. the u.s. government's chief information officer three or four years ago ordered u.s. government agencies to move to the cloud, and as a result even civilian agencies are turning to cloud services. ask and i edit :00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. each night this week and 9:00 p.m. eastern, conversations with a few new members of congress. >> when you raise your hand and took the oath of office? -- oath of office, what were your mom and dad thinking? >> i knew my mom would be crying and my dad proud.
my dad is 82 years old and he showed up to the capital. usually walks with a cane and he showed up and did not have his cane. i said, dad, do i need to send someone to the hotel to get your cane? and he strains up and said, i'm in the capital. i don't need a cane today. he walked without his cane for the entire day. i know they were super proud. >> five newest members of congress talk about their careers and personal lives and share how things work on capitol hill. join us for all five conversations each night at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> texas state senator wendy davis made headlines two years ago for a filibuster opposing legislation to restrict access to abortion. she went on to run for governor last year, losing to republican candidate greg abbott. this davis spoke at uc berkeley in california recently about women's rights and her campaign for governor.
[applause] fmr. sen. davis: thank you. thank you all. thank you to ethan and camille for putting this together today and all of the work particularly that camille undertook to make sure that we were able to do this, and thank you for being here and giving me the opportunity to speak with you. i was delighted to land in sunny california after being in a really cold winter in texas. i am here today to address gender, specifically why gender equality is losing ground, and how we can work to reverse that. i am going to ask you to challenge conventional thinking and how we define and talk about gender inequality, and i will hopefully help you understand the lens through which i view gender. more and more, i am coming to understand and appreciate how each of our individual filters
formed through our life filters, define a political framework and i would like to invite us to consider each other's personal perspectives, each other's lenses as we strive to move women's political equality to move forward. but first, let us take a moment to acknowledge past victories in the women's movement. it can be easy, particularly in an onslaught of negative laws passed to forget that on the long road to gender inequality women have fought for and gained some significant ground. it was less than 100 years ago when women earned the right to vote. 51 years ago when president kennedy signed the equal pay act, only 50 years ago when birth control became legalized
only 42 years old -- only 40 two years ago when abortions became legalized, and then-president reagan appointed sandra day o'connor to the supreme court, and only a few years ago when president obama signed the lilly ledbetter equal pay roll into law permitted when we look around, we see there is so much work to be done. as we watch and we celebrate lgbt events with more and more states moving towards marriage equality, and as we witness divisive and discriminatory policies, like don't ask don't tell being repealed, after years of hard work and efforts, these are to be celebrated. gender politics seems to be taking a step backwards.
women are facing an onslaught of legislation that threatens their reproductive freedoms and access to abortions. we occupy 56% of minimum wage jobs even though we make up only 49% of the workforce. and governors in states like mine are vetoing fair pay laws if they ever make it to the governor's desk at all. all of this is happening without significant voter backlash, that essentially disagrees with the direction that things are heading. we have to ask ourselves why. i think the answer to that is largely connected to and dictated by our own personal experiences through the lens of which we as voters view these issues. my lens was formed. my views are shaped. and these were done very early in my life experiences. in my memoirs, i thought to explain the serious issues that faced me. not just those that gave me the strength to be a fighter, but to illustrate why these certain issues hit me the been the gut and compelled me to respond in a
particular way. i am a living, breathing example of the promises that can be created through gender equalized opportunities. informal as they were, they existed at a time when i needed them. i was 11 when my parents divorced, and my ninth grade educated mother, who had never been in a work force before, had to support four children on her own, all my father pursued his dream of creating a nonprofit theater. we went from a blue-collar lifestyle into poverty almost overnight. and watching my mother struggled to put food on the table and working in a low-wage fast food restaurant job made me want to assure that i would never be left without an education and the means to support myself. and yet, i too, fell into the well of poverty and despair for a long time. pregnant at 18 and alone for a while, i was forced to support might daughter amber and i when i was only 19.
i could not see a band in what looked like a long and bleak road ahead. my worst nightmare was literally coming true. i've was -- i was going to the struggle that i watched my mother lived. fear can be a powerful motivator. my fears would be reinforced when i found up that my electricity had been turned off because i could not pay the bill, or the embarrassment that i had to suffer when i had to put grocery items back in line because i did not have enough money that week to buy all the food. but i'm here today because policies that support a woman to move from poverty to stability actually do work, and these policies, some formal and some less formal, created ladders for me to move from where i was. one of these was access to affordable community college
education with grants and low-cost tuition that made it possible for even me to afford. that ultimately became my gateway from graduating to -- from harvard lawsuit -- harvard law school. if it were for that, there is no way that i would be talking to you today. another ladder came in the form of the planned parenthood close to my home. for years, as an uninsured woman, that clinic was the only source of care. i received cancer screenings diabetes screenings, my annual wellness exam, and it also provided me with the ability to control my reproductive destiny, so that once i placed my foot on the path to higher education, i was able to keep it there. another ladder for me came in the form of affordable child care. that came in the form of a dear friend that provided it. we talk about child care as an important issue, and for many women, the inability to afford
and find quality child care is keeping them sufficiently at the roadblock to where they are. finally, i was fortunate to work in an office where my employer supported a work schedule that allowed me to go to school in the morning and two leave sometimes earlier in the evenings, flexibility, these workplace policies are so important in making possibilities available for women to improve their lives. those years were a tremendous struggle, and they were filled with fear. but i am grateful for the motivation that that fear provided, and so very grateful for the lens of that struggle provided for me and which i now see through the world -- and
through which i now see the world. i have the flexibility to stand before you because those ladders, those policies are not there for others. affordable college tuition affordable reproductive health care, affordable childcare, and these things are not there as they were once for me. policies to support these ladders, and a great deal to talk about them and moving them forward are still unfortunately nonexistent, and instead, we find ourselves fighting old fights, and in many instances, losing ground. why is this happening? quite simply, because support for an agenda that includes these policies has eroded. a negative association has been fostered between the idea of women's advancement and the threat that that poses to traditional, patriarchal notions of a woman's place.
playing upon these negative associations, women's we productive rights and other issues important to women's inequality has been hijacked by politicians who are using those issues as a wedge, whistling to those who respond favorably to the threat that they hope to engender. for these politicians, positioning against advancement of gender inequality serves as a means to an end. that and, is their desire to hold onto and to further their political positions, statuses, and power, provoking favorable voting responses by using women's economy as their foil is much more important to them than any fall out that a leave behind. to explain my point, i will ask you to consider an argument made by a berkeley law professor in his book, "dog whistle politics," and he is speaking tomorrow, and i would invite you to attend because his work is very, very important.
professor lopez, in his book discusses how racial appeal lens into politics, creating its own economic interests in favor of perceived social threats, which are far greater motivators. these reactions, professor lopez asserts, are strategically invited by politicians who employ techniques that play upon racial bias, and animus, to get voters to react in a way that is favorable to their desire to obtain or maintain political power. to demonstrate his point professor lopez traces a presidential candidate using racial dog whistling to elicit voter support. headed its like a george wallace, who was ridiculed as an unrepentant redneck when he was outspoken in verbalizing support for policies defending
segregation and extolling the proud anglo-saxon southland. voters did not respond well to his defective racism -- to his de facto racism. to vote for him would admit their own racial biases and fears, but wallace learned that if you were more subtle with his messages, he could mobilize race-based voting without ever mentioning race at all. he stopped talking about objections to segregation and instead talked about state's writes -- states' rights against federal authority. does that sound familiar we talk about the federal health care act or immigration? the ability to exercise racially created a electoral responses room -- reveals their fears.
goldwater talked about freedom of association, nixon employed the politically ambiguous southern view of the south, dog whistles about busing, and reagan describing the young buck in the grocery store line with us take -- with steak or the talk of welfare queens. professor lopez says not to get too smug about this technique, pointing out that president carter used arguments about forced integration and of course, president clinton with professor lopez says not to get too smug about this technique, pointing out that president carter used arguments about forced integration and of course, president clinton with his work for reform agenda. these appeal to white voters whose racial biases, whether conscious or unconscious, are
being played. importantly, professional lopez points out that this strategic use of race stands out from other forms of racism because the driving force he hind strategic racism is not racial animus for its own sake, but rather, and perhaps a more pernicious, the strategic use of race in order to successfully get power, money, or status. i found this in my own gubernatorial race last year when my opponent played upon fears regarding an invasion of e legal immigrants into texas, openly calling for militarization of texas border communities through support of a national guard presence there, despite the fact that these
communities are noticeably safe, with el paso having been named for the fourth year in a row the safest large city in the country. married to a latina, greg abbott would typically not fit the idea of someone with racial animus towards latinos, yet he understood how to dog whistle in such a way that would appeal to voters who perceive a threat against latino voters. this use of dog whistling is not limited to provoking and playing upon perceived threat based upon race. this technique is also successfully employed to provoke votes aced on gender biases, and fears. so let's discuss these ideas of gender in that regard. perhaps given the sexualized nature in which will women candidates and women's issues are framed, wolf-whistling rather than dog whistling might be a better way to frame this.
for example, in my race, my opponent derided me using photoshopped images in sexually explicit ways to view me as highly sexualized rather than intelligent and competent as a potential state leader. there were also questions raised about my bona fide use of my motherhood when i went to law school. is that of focusing on my achievements, i was no longer to be applauded for graduating law school with honors while also juggling the responsibilities of caring for my young family, i was to be reviled for not giving my full-time to child rearing. and there were the abortion rb postings in social media and the
abortion barbie posters around los angeles when i attended a fundraiser there, showing my head on top of a party doll with a plastic baby taped onto my uterus with a pair of scissors behind me. this invites voters to believe that i should be viewed not as a potential state leader, but as a highly sexualized woman, and one who is a traitor to traditional roles as a woman. this is strategic and flagrant and i am not the first female candidate to experience this and i certainly will not need the last. the ploy works. so why stop? but these flagrant messages are meant to provoke gender animus. consider the number of politicians who use abortion as a political bogeyman. certainly, some of this is meant to elicit a response from voters who are motivated by religious or moral ideas about the sanctity of life and their objections to pro-choice candidates on those terms.
but there is something much less obvious but no less powerful at play as well. making abortion a central issue in the political arena also plays upon traditional patriarchal notions of a woman's role in society and invites voters to view abortion as an issue that threatens that role. it is arguably understandable to see how playing on patriarchal sympathies would provoke favorable voting responses from some men, abortion, and other reproductive rights provide women with the autonomy to remain in and rise within the workplace, creating competition for them and threatening their views for what they believe is appropriate for female-male roles. this perspective is one that is deeply rooted, whether consciously or unconsciously, in the notion that women ought to
serve in traditional roles to wife. stay-at-home mother. supporter of her hunting and gathering man. but these threats are not limited by some men. women, too, respond to whistling. women who fear, whether consciously or unconsciously that there chosen role as a stay-at-home wife or mother will be devalued, or these sexually autonomous women would abandon reproductive roles to rise in the workplace or in the political arena. this particular message is meant, of course, to invite people to think about what happens in women's roles if they are able to utilize reproductive autonomy, and it was no accident that a condom ad was created in order to invite and elicit that
response. using images such as these, the conservative movement invites that very response, invoking images of strong families and appropriate gender relations. serving as the backdrop to this game are the notions of punishment as well. women who have sex and become impregnated should bear the brunt of their sexuality, they should live with the consequences, politicians who employ these tools believe it and appropriate and noble role for women to be homemakers and invite a negative response to women in the workforce. they play upon the idea that women should be in motherhood, and this allows women to enjoy sex merely for the sake of pleasure and threatens concepts of traditional family values.
in this context, conversations about contraception and abortion become strategic means to an end, provoking threat based responses in voters who resent this disruption to their perceived world order. consider rush limbaugh's portrayal of sandra fluke as a as a slut, and this whistling was one that made people feel that she threatened their patriarchal ideas of a woman as a supportive role. particularly this wolf whistling invites voters to react in a way
that tells them that their implicit fears are at play and are much more important than their other ideas. a sociologist and professor here at uc berkeley has written extensively on this topic, and on abortion politics in particular. she argues that the right to life movement represents an attempt not just to protect the fetus, but to ensure that the family is a higher priority in the career among women, and that women choose to stay home, women who choose to stay home, are not relegated to a place lower to women who work outside the home. taking her argument one step further, i believe it is the case that some politicians are using the right to life movement and implicit messaging of family versus career specifically to provoke voters who wish to guard against that perceived threat. keep in mind that whistlers don't necessarily even have to believe their own message, many of them likely do not, but just
as race-based dog whistling is often nothing more than a strategic means to an end, so too is the case of gender-based whistling. tragically though, women's access to reproductive health care gets caught in the crossfire, and indeed, women's health and their very lives become collateral damage to a political scheme. so, how do we respond? if my story is any kind of example, we would make the argument that is often heard supporting women to economic autonomy is good for the economy. it assures that women have access to education, health care, quality child care, family leave, all of these create an opportunity for women to be more successful, having created buying power in the economy and that is good for the economic well-being of all. when we all do better, we all do better, it is an argument, and
it is a story that i told you at the beginning of my remarks. but that message is not working with gender-biased voters. why? because it is missing the point. it is not speaking to these particular voting choices. it is a response that has not stopped to look through the lens from which these voters are making their decisions. just think about the state of affairs that exists due to the 2014 congressional election. we now have a house and senate comprised of majority of members who proudly articulate their desire to deregulate the business, to return to a laissez-faire approach that
allows major polluters and multibillion-dollar corporations freeway, and an even greater opportunity to grow their wealth is proportionate to most of the country's population, leaving the middle class to shoulder more and more of the tax burden. there was a time post-depression, when it would not have been thought possible that americans would vote to slash taxes for the rich if -- rich, give corporations a tory control on the industry, and financial markets it to aggressively curtail services, but american voters are voting for candidates who have pledged openly and proudly to do all of these things. and the answer as to why lies sadly in the fact that an appeal has been made to something deeper inside of them. they have allowed fear of societal threats to become the primary motivator at the ballot box. look no further than the current conversation around immigration. we see this with gender. with legislation either passing or percolating in almost every state in this country, and in congress, to roll back women's reproductive rights, and that it employs the use of abortion
politics as a messaging means to an end. legitimate arguments about the fact that paths to citizenship for undocumented workers would be good to the economy or that empowering of women with reproductive autonomy could likewise be good for the economy are not getting us very far, as experience has shown us. instead, we have to find a way to defuse the perceived fears that are being manipulated. in the gender arena, we might start by asking ourselves, why young women are aschewing feminism, buying into the right wing of view and saying that equal pay and reproductive rights will require them to check their femininity at the door. consider the kerfuffle that occurred a couple of months ago in an interview with "red book magazine," the female lead in the popular show "big bang
theory," declined to answer if she were a feminist. "is it bad if i say no?" she asked. she said that she enjoys cooking for her husband and it makes her feel like a housewife, which she loves, and she said, "it makes me feel old-fashioned, but i like taking care of my man." sadly, messaging from the far right has convinced her, and many other women convinces her that being a feminist makes her lose her femininity. fighting for women equality isn't about telling women about how they have to live, or that they cannot enjoy doing things that are considered traditionally female. it is about having the freedom to consider freely what we want our roles to be. it is about being respected, regardless of what those choices look like.
it is about the working woman celebrating and respecting her sister who made a choice to stay home and care for her children. it is about the stay-at-home mom cheering on the women who are putting those racks in the glass ceiling. it is about each of us as women and the men who love us caring enough for each other, silencing the noise that attempts to keep us at odds. they relish in the fact that we feel we have to be at odds with each other in order to feel less threatened in the choice that we have traditionally and individually made. we have to create an inclusive and shared community that sends a message that we are all in this together. we have to work to minimize or do away with perceived threats that flow from the idea of embracing gender equality. we have to fight for an america where all choices made by women are respected and valued.
a "new york times" article ran saying "can wendy davis have it all?" we never consider this question to a male candidate. the better question asked by the professor emeritus at princeton asks "can we all have it all?" presenting the idea that when only men consider that they consider their role as breadwinner or stay-at-home husbands and fathers, that is when we will obtain true gender equality. she invites us to consider the importance of creating a world that we can equally celebrate in. true gender equality will come when we can take care not to view each other's choices through a pejorative lens.
we have fear because we see that we cannot be our best selves without each other's support, and we have to humanize this experience in a way that makes them translatable and relatable. i firmly believe that no one whether they have an "r" or a "d" next to their name, wants to see the secondary impacts of the closure of planned parenthood's and the closure of women's clinics. 180,000 women lost their access to contraceptive care, not abortion care, and they lost their access to cancer screenings and diabetes screenings, and for most of these women, the only health care that they had ever known. and this happened through a strategic defunding that was aimed at bludgeoning planned parenthood. the far right has done the
political calculus. they know that making planned parenthood the bogeyman gets them votes. we have to talk about the human casualty of this fight. about the women who will quite literally lose their lives of politics above people. we cannot refute dog whistling by refusing to identify them for what they are. we need to call them out and challenge them. otherwise, we leave gender insinuations unchallenged and let it continue in the background to provoke fear-based voters to respond to those messages. on the very tip top of the texas capital stands a statue. it is not of a cowboy galloping on horseback. it is of a woman, and in her hand, she holds a sword, lowered, and in her left hand, she proudly raises a lone star above her. she is called the goddess of liberty.
late at night, you can look up at the goddess of liberty and see her illuminated high atop the capitol dome. if you look closely during warm summer months, you can see the nighthawks diving and swirling around her, their small beaks and flatheads taken advantage of the glowing light surrounding her to hunt for flying insects in the night. through the wind and the rain and the brutal texas heat, the goddess of liberty continues to stand. she stands for freedom. wisdom. and justice. she is a symbol of everything that i was fighting for on that day in june of 2013 when i stood for 13 hours. freedom and justice for women and the wisdom of lawmakers to stop making women's body pawns in their political games. appropriately and beautifully, it wasn't me that carried that
filibuster successfully over the midnight deadline. it was the thousands of people women and men, who were there, who had their own personal experiences that they wanted to share, who had listened as i read the heart-wrenching stories of so many women and their families on the senate floor that day. there they were, and they were demanding to be heard. and when their voices were artificially silenced through political and parliamentary the new brain that occurred that they, they rose up against that. like the goddess of liberty, with that lone star raised above her head, they stood for something. for themselves and for each other, and for women they have never met nor will ever know. and for at least a moment, they understood and owned that power. that power is a -- power is in each of us. the power to stand and the power to unite each with each other towards a common cause of seeing
and understanding each other bounded by our shared human experiences and triumphs and failures and sorrows. i hope that we will own that power and that we will use it to collectively say, we stand for a woman's right to choose freely the path that she will travel. we will fight for the tools that will provide her with that choice. when she does, under that decision for her own body or whether she will pursue a career at home or in the workplace, we will stand with her in defending her choice. i hope we will use our power to stand arm in arm with our sisters, no matter who they are or the choices we make, because we stand unabashedly and unashamedly for women's equality. and when we do unite and stand together for that cause, we truly will have the power to
make it happen. thank you all so very, very much. [applause] host: thank you for that inspiring speech and we are so grateful to have you here. and i have the pleasure of immersing myself so very deeply into your memoir over this past week or two, and one of the things that impressed me is to see senator davis today and see her as so buoyant and so confident and seen this strength come through, and yet you said that you grew up painfully shy and very modest, and so i am wondering if you have advice for
the audience as to how women who are struggling to find their voice can do so? fmr. sen. davis: i found mine, as i said in my remarks, through my own personal experiences, and everything i fought for in the texas senate was really based on those. i was a champion for public education, i had a much lesser known filibuster fighting to prevent $5.5 billion in cuts to texas schools. i've fought against payday lending because i know that people can get caught in a loan that can financially ruin them and of coarse, i fought for women's reproductive autonomy because of my own experiences and the benefits that i received from that kind of care. as we women listen to our own voices and think about how we would use them to speak, i think naturally we will find our way and we do find our way in doing that taste on the things that we have experienced in our own lives and that has motivated us to stand up and to speak out on them.
what i hope that women more and more will do is to own our power to do that and to push against our natural tendencies to be shy or soft-spoken and use those very important voices that we have to move gender equality forward. host: it sounds like your voice is found through your heart and through the courage and the passion rises and from there you speak, and that is really a wonderful thing to see. let's talk about power. you said that it has been said that laws are like sausages and it is better not to see them made, and your memoir nicely illustrates some of the dog eat dog nature of politics, and give
us your gendered you of power, and i am not sure if you are familiar with the book "the athena doctrine," but it reports on a survey done of 60,000 people across the globe, representing two thirds of the world's gdp, and what they found is that two thirds of the respondents agreed that the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. [laughter] host: and i wanted to get your views on this and wonder if you would say that masculine power is different from feminine power and how that plays out in the world of politics? fmr. sen. davis: i think we uniquely utilize our skills to use our power in a way that we naturally are comfortable with. it is stereotypical i think to say that women have a style that makes their ability to use their power unique, but we do have something very unique, and that is, we bring the perspective of what it is like to be female to the table. and when we believe in ourselves
enough to bring these issues forward and to make sure that they are heard in the conversation, it is terribly important. we do need to be a government, whether it is at the local state, federal level, it is reflective of our population and unless and until we can elect women to those roles, we are not going to be. i found that i had to be particularly scrappy in the texas senate to get my voice heard. i could not rely just on having a softer negotiating style, the female, stereotypical style, i had to be a real fighter in those back rooms and to really push hard for those things that i was really trying to advance. host: so it sound like you had to learn to embrace both your masculine and your feminine aspects of power and to fight the fight, as it currently exists, and at the same time remained true to the values that
you want to socialize as a whole because of by virtue of the fact of being a woman. so let me see -- obviously, you have been on a wild political ride, and it is seemingly of both victory and defeat, and i was wondering if you can reflect on what might have been and if you have any regrets or in general what you have learned that has enabled you to move forward and enact of vision you see for a better future? fmr. sen. davis: i certainly don't regret running for governor in this past year. it was not only a very rewarding personal experience for me, but i felt like it gave me an opportunity to move a conversation, and to make sure that at the very least, i was highlighting things that weren't being heard. this is both the texas capitol and the governor's mansion in particular.
and i know i spoke to a lot of people who feel like their voices have not been represented in the halls of that capital. so i won't ever say that i would regret having done that. i have also learned that there are many things that we do that we fail at when we first try. when i ran for office the very first time for city council, i lost. but there is something to be gained in losing. it provides you a perspective to look back on and to say what could i have done differently on? certainly i have felt that measure looking upon my gubernatorial race. there are things i could have done differently. as i mentioned in my remarks, i would call out some of the gender politics that was at play in a much more vocal way than i did. in fact, when i was asked by reporters about some of these things, i was usually demur and try to downplay like i was being treated differently as a female
candidate than a male candidate was. but i think when we do that, we give permission for that to be the way that we are treated in the political arena, and just as professor lopez talks about the blatant racial appeals being used, people need to stand up against those. when they see that is at play, they reacted a very unfavorable way to that, and i think helping voters see that they are being invited to view women in a way that isn't fairly reflective of who they truly are and their potential as state and local and national leaders if we make that point known, and if we bring people to a point of being present and aware and maybe they are unconsciously reacting to it, i think we could really push back against that. and as a woman candidate, i have learned that it is important to
call it out when it is happening. absolutely. host: in your book, you describe a parallel between former texas governor ann richards and yourself. running for office placed a strain on your marriages that could not be sustained. you stated at its most basic point, referring to your former husband, "our relationship had begun without that power differential, and you were struggling to forge your own way for a while." i am wondering, referring back to the earlier point, do you think that women can have it all and do think women should change in the home so that men are more comfortable with women's power? fmr. sen. davis: if i could answer this question and solve this issue, i would be doing the world a great deal of good. [laughter]
fmr. sen. davis: it is difficult. of course, you have two professors on your faculty here, and they confronted this issue and they have been very open in talking about it. it can be very difficult as women are working to find their foothold in careers, not only to deal with the way that they are viewed by the outside world and some of the people that they may be working with, but even within their own homes, where their spouses may feel threatened by that. and i know that the tension, the pace, the pressure of running for office and holding office certainly took its toll on my marriage, the same happened for ann richards, even though she and her husband have had a very respectful and vibrant partnership for many, many years in the political arena, as i did with my husband, my former husband, and i wish it weren't the case, that the pressure became too much. it tends to be the situation
when male candidates are running and when they hold office, there is a much more comfortable role that they have with their spouse and sometimes that exist for women who are pursuing the same passions. host: thank you for being a trailblazer despite the personal costs that you have incurred as you have acknowledged. so i wanted to ask you, it's a you described in your book, well we know that you have worn a football helmet to literally get tough in the face of opposition, during her filibuster you outfitted yourself with a catheter, a back brace, and a very national pair of pink running shoes that increase your endurance and stamina. could you comment more generally about how you take her of yourself, psychologically, spiritually, in this fast-paced
world? ariana huffington in her book "thrive" talks about well-being and power and material wealth, so how do you foster this aspect of yourself? fmr. sen. davis: it is so important and it could be so hard when our schedules demand that we focus our attentions on everything else. but everything else suffers if we don't give that sort of metric that is due attention and care. for me, it comes in the form of running and other forms of exercise that i do, trying to well, sleep is a real challenge, but i tried. i tried. i think that matters no matter what what -- no matter what we are doing in our lives. we need to exercise and take care of ourselves and we have the ability to keep our engines going so that we can do the things that we really care about. host: do you go so far as to put in your schedule? do you say that you are working out today and it is not negotiable? fmr. sen. davis: i had to
literally do that during my campaign, because it can in every hour of your day if you allow it. the person who was head lay my schedule had to make sure that she was giving me the time to be able to do that. host: good, good, good, good. well, i want to ask some questions to the audience, and i think i will go until 5:15, just so everybody knows. my question is what you think you can do where women can succeed along with their male counterparts? fmr. sen. davis: first, i want to applaud what is happening on college campuses around the country, where women and men are really trying to move the issue forward about sexual assault. they are painting and putting a light on what is going on and shining that light and making sure that we are confronting a reality on what is happening, it is so very, very important. if that is something to any of you are involved in here, my
congratulations and my appreciation to you for that work. when we shed light on this issue, and like i said in my remarks, when we humanize them for each other, it really helps to change the conversation. and i have found in my political life that when we meet our opponents in an honest way and we talk about things in human terms, and we uncharged the language a bit and we try to relate to each other as one human to another, we really can appeal to people in a way that they might initially have their defenses up about. and this issue is no different than that. making sure that women's experiences are being looked at in a very human, real
experience, and shedding some understanding of that by virtue of telling our personal stories. this is why i felt that it was important, even in the context of my campaign with a lot of people saying that they didn't understand why i did it, this is why in my book, i told my story about my experience, my personal experience with abortion. we have to destigmatize these things. we have to be able to talk about them so we can all relate better to what those human experiences are and why it is that good reproductive policies are important, just as sexual assault protections are important. host: sure, sure, absolutely, we need to allow the issue to see the light of day. so what are the main obstacles for women today, and how big does a role of sexism still play, and how do you combat sexism when it comes to your family, if it does? fmr. sen. davis: interesting and i showed those slides, and that is literally the tip of the iceberg.
i know that all women are treated in ways that invite voters to look at them as women, and not necessarily as the leaders that we are and have the potential to be. my race was particularly flagrant. i think that when we see hillary clinton talked about as a candidate and when we saw her experience, even in her prior presidential race, she has a particular target on her that a lot of men come after. it can be really difficult to read but i feel a responsibility to all of the other women who are considering running for office to show that we can rise above that, as women candidate and as i said earlier, i do think we need to call it out when it is there and bring
attention to it and shame those who are doing it, but at the same time, we have to show that we can rise above it and move through it, and continue to fight for the things that really matter to us, otherwise, the folks that send those messages win. host: absolutely, and do you think paid maternity leave will be a reality in our lifetime? fmr. sen. davis: i certainly hope so, considering that we are the only industrialized country that does not have that, and i tend to be very optimistic about things and believe that if we continue to fight enough about that, it is going to become a reality. at the very least, it is moving forward in the conversation where it is getting a lot more attention than it has in the past, and it is important not only on the maternal side but the paternal side where we can provide for people and a gender equal way and have the ability to have a family and have a career and not compromise either of those by virtue of wanting to have both.
host: great, and so, you describe several instances in your memoir where you learn that swimming against the tide and been outspoken really goes as unpunished, and in the academic world, we call this backlash and often both women and men are subject to it. it illustrates the concept of leaning in. where women are being encouraged to do today. as important as leaning in is, is important for women to advance their individual agency, and what can we do to foster a greater sense of individual agency? fmr. sen. davis: leaning in is important, and i think we can all feel a relate to having have done that at some point in our lives. it is also important that we don't put that responsibility solely on women to achieve for themselves, because that forgives the environment which
is forcing women to live in an un-equalized world. we also have to confront workplace policies and legislative policies that either don't exist or do exist in ways that are harmful to women. we have to work to make sure that governmental policies workplace policies, are creating the kind of environment that truly is gender equal, and i worry a little bit that if we tell women that this responsibility belongs solely to them, we create a sense that women may have that somehow they are doing something wrong, when there really is a much broader issue at play, and i want us all to be working on those broader things and making sure that we reform things on the policy level in order to create true gender equal opportunities.
host: did you see patricia arquette at the academy awards and her remarks about equal pay? fmr. sen. davis: i did, and when i mentioned that president obama passed the lily ledbetter act, it was similar to the view that when john f. kennedy passed the equal pay act that it was done but in my own state, i have worked very hard in my last legislative session to get an equal pay bill through the legislative session. it is no easy task, but we did get it through. we were so excited to place the bill on governor perry's desk. governor perry received pressure from companies like kroger and
macy's who wanted him to veto that bill, and he vetoed that bill in favor of the pressure that he received. this was happening not just in texas but elsewhere, where bills are not even making it, like i said, to the governor's desk. we have got to make our elected leaders feel that they own the same responsibility to us that they feel they owe to people who are potentially mega-donors to their campaigns or their future campaigns. this is why voter apathy is so upsetting to me. because when we don't vote, we do show people like governor perry that acting in ways like that will go unaccounted, they are not held to account for it. i think that we all ought to own up to our responsibility and make sure that we are using our voices in a way to ensure that we are as powerful as some of these folks that can write the big checks.
host: ultimately, politics is powerful but we need to change culture, and see these issues from a moral lens and a social justice lens. so maybe that is the direction we need to go. so how do you determine your political platform and agenda to educate yourself on the issues? fmr. sen. davis: it really comes from within, and as an elected official, i try really hard to keep an open door for people to come in and talk about things that really matter to them. my work on testing the backlog of rape kits in texas, and a person coming into my office asking did you know about this so never underestimate the power that we each have, whether we decide to run for office and do these things, push these
policies forward ourselves, or trying to move them, we can't know or have been in the shoes of everyone, but if we are thoughtful as elected leaders, -- helps us to stand in their shoes, it is very helpful for that. host: who are your role models and heroes and mentors? fmr. sen. davis: certainly, ann richards, the last female governor and the last democratic governor in texas. she experienced certainly her own brand of what it was like to run as a woman in the state of texas. her daughter, cecile richards, who is the head of planned parenthood, is very much a role model of mine, and she started an entity in texas, the texas freedom association, the texas freedom network, which stands for civil rights and freedom of expression, and that legacy
continues after she left, so she certainly made her mark on the world, and it certainly shows that she is unflappable in the face of criticism and unflappable in all of the undoing of the fine work that that organization is doing, and she is a role model of how we conduct ourselves as women in the face of what can be a backslide from time to time. host: we can see who can embody strength and thick skin, and you wrote in your book about how far you have come in this regard and really not letting the turkeys get you down. [laughter] host: so your personal story makes the case for public policy that supports women, how do we get men to be the allies in the fight for the fight to further these policies when they don't experience of these things personally? how do we make men care about
feminism? fmr. sen. davis: we share our stories. again, not to be a broken record, but humanizing these issues, just as i, for example as a state lawmaker, might not understand how issues are happening in the prison system in my state, when people are coming and humanizing those experiences, it motivates me to want to be helpful. we have to make sure that we make men our allies in this fight, because we want true gender equality, and again, as we are invited to consider that true gender equality comes when we think about men as well, and the choices that they have in front of them, and the fact that they are free to choose as we currently are.
men who have daughters tend to really be much more open to these issues of gender equality because they see it through the lens of their own daughters who they want to be happy and successful. making sure we are sharing those stories about each other's experiences with our male counterparts at work or in the political arena or in our families is very, very important. host: sharing stories, and what i'm hearing is it's about empathy and helping men and women alike understand our perspective and we do that through storytelling and sharing and vulnerability and authenticity. you embody that very well. what is your political future? fmr. sen. davis: i have no idea. i am working on creating an advocacy organization for women. i am very passionate about this issue.
and certainly it is the case that not being in political office does not mean you have to go radio silence on things you care about. the impact outside of political office and, not being in office or a candidate right now has been really freeing and i can say whatever the hell i want to say and no one is message-managing me. i can listen to my heart and the things that matter to me. that is what i am going to do. if that takes me back into the political candidate or office holder of arena, great. if not, i will try to fight in a way that is effective. >> i look forward to the