system because they been stealing related to drug addiction or homelessness or whenever. those new programs and trying to have public defenders offices deal with the source of the problem, look at the rear of the problem and deal more broadly with the people the come through their system, so there is good news out there. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> next on book tv, encore book notes, appearing on book notes in 1992 to discuss her book, that grows in the balcony, women, men, and the new york times. a book chronicles the history of sex discrimination at the new york times and details the class-action suit brought against the times by seven women in 1974. that suit was settled in favor of the women. this is about an hour.
>> why did you call your new book the girls in the balcony? >> the balcony is a wise about any of the national press club. the institution until just 20 years ago. and win in 1955 the men decided that they would let anyone into cover to report on events, they put it in a very narrow, extremely uncomfortable about any at the far end of the ball room. ..
>> guest: but just 20 years ago i was standing this that balcony. we could not ask questions, we were not allowed. it was, um, it was frustrating. and so one of the three women in "the new york times" bureau told scotty rustin one day that she would not go there anymore and two other women, myself and eileen shanahan who covered finance and high economics, said that we wouldn't cover assignments there. it's very difficult, you know, because the newspaper business used to be kind of like the army. you were given an assignment, and you went on that assignment, and you did not discuss it, and you did not argue against it. and scotty could hardly believe that we were doing this. i mean, to me, the balcony at
the national press club was the metaphor for this book, and it certainly was the ugliest symbol of discrimination that i knew of in all journalism. c-span: did you ever ask any peal why they wouldn't let women in? why they wouldn't let them sit downstairs? >> guest: of course we did. i mean, there were constant complaints from the women's national press club. that went over years, and finally they made the balcony decision. and we said, but we're not allowed to cover the story properly. we can't hear the speakers properly. we can't, we can't ask questions. we're not equal still. and their attitude was that women were a disruptive, would be a disruptive part of the national press club, that we'd make men feel uncomfortable in the bar, that we might ask stupid questions. it's so hard to, um, to remember
how recent that kind of of attitude was. it's better but not good enough. c-span: why did you write this book? >> guest: i wrote it because the story had never been told before, because every major book ever written about "the new york times" almost ignores the women who contributed to it. such books as mike berger's authorized history of the times in 1951, the compulsively readable "the kingdom and the power" which came out in this '69, harrison salisbury's without fear of favor, david halverstan's the powers that be, i mean, women are -- we were invisible. and we've added a great deal to this newspaper. and i thought i would like to tell their story.
i would like to tell how a group of very brave women pushed the times into the 20th century, made it live up to its own ideals and its public image of being a humane, liberal, progressive, lecturing newspaper, lecturing the nation in its editorials about how white men would have to give up the power, how of course they felt uncomfortable with the minorities and the women pushing for equal rights and equal pay. and at the same time, this great institution -- which i loved -- was fighting the women's suit tooth and nail. and historically has not been welcoming to women until very recently. um, a great story. it's full of hair wynns -- heroines, not many heroes. very few villains, however.
i think it has a lot to do with ignorance, insensitivity and the fact that nobody who has power and is part of the status quo will move or voluntarily give away any of that power without being pushed. i really believe in organization. c-span: you write about a lot of people who are still alive -- >> guest: yes. c-span: -- still at the times. >> guest: yes. c-span: current publisher, past publisher. anybody mad at you for this book? >> guest: not that i've heard from. i mean, it's very funny, i don't think i'm going to get royalties from "the new york times" staff because they all asked for advance galleys of this book, and it was being passed around, i mean, people disappearing to the men's room and reading it. and the feedback has been wonderful. all of the seven plaintiffs have read it and called me to say how much they loved the book and how accurate it was. c-span: seven plaintiffs -- >> guest: in is sexual
discrimination suit against "the new york times" which was settled in the late '70s. the lawyer for the women called me. i heard a wonderful story about young arthur also burger. can i -- also do -- salzburger. can i tell it? c-span: sure. >> guest: he is the only son and heir of the publisher from 1963 until january of this year. several weeks before ponce stepped aside, and young arthur became the new publisher of the times in january of this year. he was at a bar mitzvah for one of the innumerable sort of salzburger clan, and also there was harriet rabb who had been the attorney pressing the women's class action suit. um, so harriet found herself at
lunch seated next to young arthur, and she said with some trepidation my name is harriet rabb, and artur's face lit up, and he grabbed her, and he said, harriet, have you read nan's week? isn't it fabulous? i loved it. young arthur is a feminist, and he's been pushing to close the gap between the salaries of men and women doing the same job, which is country wide and society wide and industry wide. he's really doing things. he's really a devoted feminist, and i have high hopes for him. the fact that he -- he does come off well in the book. he's promised a lot. he has acted. he has followed through this trying to shrink the -- in trying to shrink the salary gap and has shrunk it. for instance, he told me when i was interviewing him that the salary gap between men and women
on the new york times on the editorial side was averaging $13,000 a year. and on the business side, it was averaging $25,000 a year. he's now narrowed the gap to zero for new hires on the editorial side and to about $7,000 a year on the, on the business side. and this is a big move. i mean, punch is an aim mall -- amiable, decent, wonderful guy, but he never leaned on his managers saying this p counts on your record, not just putting out a quality product, let's really do something about women and minorities. he never really pushed. he said this is a very good idea and then didn't follow through. c-span: did "the new york times" review your book? >> guest: it's going to review it next sunday. c-span: do you have any idea what the review's going to say? >> guest: of course. [laughter] c-span: is it written by a
man -- >> guest: it's written by a woman, i think, although it's difficult to tell by the name. it sounds like a woman's name, and it's favorable. c-span: does that surprise you? >> guest: in a sense it does because i knew, a, that they would have to review it, and the times is big enough to review it. i thought that the person -- i knew that the person who reviewed it whether male or tale, um -- female, um, might think that if they wrote a favorable review about a shadowed series of episodes in the times' history, they might think if they wrote a good review, that they would never be able to write for the times again. many outsiders think of the times as a monolith instead of a newspaper with thousands of diverse personalities in it. i mean, there are a thousand
people on the news staff, there are 6,000 employees altogether. and we do not act and think as one. but i, you know, outsiders speak of "the new york times" as if we were all alike within it, which is not true. c-span: current editor max frankel. >> guest: yes. c-span: how do you think he likes this book? >> guest: he has been asked by many people within the times and outside what he thinks of the book, and he has replied that he has not read it. i don't know if max is speaking the truth, i don't know if he has read it and feels that it would be less controversial if he did not comment upon it. max is a friend. i mean, i am hard on max. c-span: you call him, say his
style with women is ponderously gallant. of. >> guest: i think that's a very accurate description. c-span: what does that mean? >> guest: max is rather ponderous. he is not light and gay of heart. i have known max since we were both in our 20s or early 30s, and even then i used to tease him by calling him the young fogie. he's very earnest. he's a very decent guy. the times is full of decent men. but somehow it's almost as if max and i -- we're very close together in age. i'm 65, he's about 61 or 62 now. it's almost as if max and i are in a different generation. i was moved and exhilarated and propelled into action by the women's movement that rose in the early '70s, and max, i
think -- there are many things about women that he does not seem to understand. however, the interesting thing about max is he keeps putting his foot in his mouth in public, and yet his private performance at the times is quite good. he has moved more women into sort of middle management jobs than any other executive editor before him. and i say that in the book. he's managed to offend women by some comments he's made for publication. in one case he offended both blacks and women by saying that women had reached a critical mass at "the new york times" and so it was no big deal to fire them. not that they'd be fired at the times, it's a union paper. but what he meant was really that you could treat them as you now might treat a black baseball player. i mean, you could scold them, you could chew them out, but
that with the blacks at the paper you had to at least them very delicately because they had not reached a critical mass. and he managed to offend both women and blacks by making that statement. and yet he is actively hiring minorities, particularly hispanics and blacks which are a very big part of the new york city population. they're not doing as well with women. they're sort of concentrating on the minorities now. new hires of women are about 18% now in the pep tore y'all -- rep to have y'all field, and that is -- considering we're half of the world's population, that's not too good. c-span: where'd you grow up? >> guest: i grew up in chicago. c-span: how -- >> guest: newspaper town at that time. c-span: where'd you go to school? >> guest: northwestern. c-span: journalism? >> guest: yes. c-span: then where? >> guest: i went to europe. i sailed for europe in 1948 about a week after i graduated from college. i had a few words of french, i
had a french family that i was going to stay with that i found through the alliance francaise. and being young and stupid and full of hope, i sailed away to europe and began my career there. i was too young to be frightened, you know? and i spent the last seven -- the first seven years of my career in europe, in paris, berlin, frankfurt and london sort of learning my trade. c-span: when did you go to work for "the new york times"? >> guest: i went to work for "the new york times" full time as a staffer in 1955. january 19, 1955. and i had spent seven years doing general assignment reporting and feature writing for other newspapers, and i was a stringer on women's news for the times for about a year before i came back to new york. i was in london. and there i was with all that general experience behind me,
and i was immediately sent to the women's page to cover fashion. because that's where women went in those days. c-span: there are all kinds of crazy little things that you learn when you read this book. i mean, crazy maybe not to the audience -- [laughter] but for those of us -- >> guest: not for the women. c-span: be let me tell you what i'm talking about. you married a man named stan levy. >> guest: that's correct. c-span: and his son is bob levey? >> guest: that's correct. c-span: that's what i mean by things you learn in this book. >> guest: yes. c-span: you married stan levy when? >> guest: in 1961. c-span: where did he work? >> guest: at "the new york times" in the city rule. he was a labor reporter. that's where we fell in love. bob levy fell in love with his wife-to-be. the family tradition. c-span: what was the turner-catledge rule? >> guest: the turner-catledge
rule was that no wife of a times man could be hired as long as that man was on the staff. and that was true for many years. flora lewis, one of the most dazzling foreign correspondents in the history of the times and for a long time the writer of the foreign affairs column -- who was my boss in paris beginning in 1973 -- as long, i mean, here's this woman with just years and years and years of marvelous reporting behind her for many, many newspapers and syndicates. as long as she was married to sydney grewson on the staff of the times, she was not hired by the times. and she was separated from sidney when the women of the times, 50 women of the times wrote a letter and signed it to the publisher saying this organization is hypocritical and
unfair, there is a salary gap, there are no women in positions of power, there are all kinds of subjects they can't cover such as sports or business and finance, justice, economics. anyhow, just a sort of damning manifesto from the women signed by myself among the 50 women, and this is 1972. and flora believes to this day, as i do, that they hired her very hastily. she was not yet divorced from sidney, but she was separated. and she was hired about, on the staff about two weeks after the publisher received the letter. she is convinced that if the women's caucus had not been formed, she would not have gotten that job so quickly. that they were able to say, aha, according to her, you know, we have a woman bureau chief now in paris, one of the prime bureaus.
flora was the first woman bureau chief in the history of the times. and six months later i followed her to paris, by then speaking french fluently, and there was a storm within the management about sending a second woman to paris. i cannot imagine a storm occurring in any corporation about sending a second man to join the head of the agency in paris or anywhere. c-span: were you one of the leaders? >> guest: yes. i've always been a troublemaker. [laughter] um, i was called a sort of inveterate -- c-span: who's abe rosenthal? >> guest: the executive editor, the most controversial ask one of the -- and one of the best in many ways. executive editors of the times. c-span: where is he today? >> guest: he is writing a column called "on my mind" on the op-ed
page of the new york times. c-span: so if people want to catch up with all these names andering -- >> guest: i know, it's a lot of -- sponge no, it's not your fault, but a lot of them are in the times. >> guest: oh, yes. abe is still rug his column. turner catledge is dead, he died in 1971. but there are a lot of people alive. in this book, men and women. c-span: i should ask you before we go any farther for those who live far away from here and may never read the times, what's all the big deal about the new york times? >> guest: "the new york times" is not only the most respected newspaper in the world, one with a liberal-progressive image, it is a great corporation, it is an institution, it is a cult. the readers of the times are a cult in the way the readers of no other newspaper that i know of are, perhaps the times of
london at one time had a readership like that. it's a great institution. and the women who sued it for equal treatment, for equal respect and equal salaries and equal hiring and promotion loved the newspaper. i loved the newspaper. i had a great career on it. they wanted to make the newspaper live up to its ideals, to its public image, to make it better. um, we weren't bitter, we just wanted to be equal. c-span: what makes it so great? >> guest: i remember once when i was in journalism school at northwestern standing up in class, at that point the new york herald tribune was my favorite hoop and the chicago daily news, and they were writers, newspapers. and i found the times to be very ponderous and very dull by comparison. so i sit up in a journalism
writing class, and i said, um, what has "the new york times" got besides accuracy and complete news coverage? and the class burst into a storm of derisive laughter because that's a pretty fundamental series of things to have. it has great respect for tact and for history -- for fact and for history. it has wonderful people on it, men and women. one of the things that was the most fun about writing this book was that i got total cooperation from everybody, from punch salzburger, then the publisher, on down. from men, from women. they all knew that i was a pell nist, and it was very funny when i would come up to the times at first when i was starting my research and i'd just retired,
and people would say so what are you doing, nan? i said i'm writing a book, and they said what are you writing about? and i'd say i'm writing about the women of the times. and they'd go, oh. i mean, they knew that the thrust of the book would be a feminist thrust because that is my history within the times. i was shop steward, i was very pro-union, i was an activist. i was going to say abe rosenthal called me a toner which is sort of yiddish for a mover and shaker and person who shakes things up. i'm always sort of up to no good. and they knew all of this, and yet every one of them cooperated. nobody said no, nobody got dicey or inaccessible to me. punch salzburger measured the table in the boardroom, that immensely long table which is two feet, six inches longer than
the cabinet table in the white house that's so overwhelming to all of us when we first confronted management, we women, across that table. people were looking up also appointment books -- old appointment books, old tapes, transcripts of meetings. they knew what the thrust of book would be, and they knew that it would be pro-women's movement, but they also knew that it would be written by a good reporter. and one that is fair. i think i'm fair. c-span: how'd you win your pulitzer rise? >> guest: i won my pulitzer prize, um, by writing about toxic shock syndrome. i had an almost fatal attack of toxic shock syndrome this 1981 -- in 1981. as a result of this, the circulatory collapse and the gangrene that followed, all the end joints of my fingers were amputated, and i almost lost my
right leg and the toes of my left foot, and i was deeply poisoned throughout my body. but it was then a very mysterious disease, and doctors were misdiagnose nosing it. they were misdiagnose nosing it as scarlet fever, as influenza, as food poisoning, has some symptoms that are analogous to those afflictions. and i wrote, for the first time in my life i wrote a piece with "i" in it. i had never used the personal proto noun before, but i had to do it because that was the vehicle that carried the medical information that saved lives. i mean, women and men who had it or were part of a family in which there was a victim could recognize it right away. if it's very serious, it'll kill you within 24-48 hours. doctors were writing in that they had been able to diagnose
it for the first time, so this was both a personal ordeal that i went through, but it was also, again, like the women at the times, it was a great story. c-span: what year? >> guest: it was, i wrote -- the story was published in 1982. my fingers were very raw from a series of amputations, and it was extremely painful the type except that that was therapy because it toughens the skin of the fingers the way going barefoot toughens the soles of your feet. so it was very painful to write. it saved a lot of lives. it was a personal story which always sort of -- people identify more with that than they do, they do a sort of cosmic theme. i've always felt that. that's why i wrote in this book about something that i really knew, that i'd been a close observer of or a participant in the events described here. and because it's a microcosm of what happens in the entire society. not just the big corporations,
not just "the new york times." in any event, i wrote this piece, it was a cover piece in september 1982 in the times magazine. i got 2,000 letters, half of them from men. even though it was known then as primarily a women's disease and a disease striking women who were wearing tampons, because that's a perfect culture for the bacterium that causes it. the letters were, god bless the readers of the new york times, intelligent, moving, we were nettic -- empathetic, i mean, paraplegics were writing me thanking me for writing this'. total -- this piece. total strangers, of course, were writing in. it was one of the biggest reactions to any piece that's ever been, um, published by the times, and six months later it
won the pulitzer prize for feature writing. c-span: quos: what's a little bitty thing like you doing run winning the pulitzer rise? who said that? >> guest: clifton daniel. c-span: did that make you mad? >> guest: yes. c-span: why? >> guest: because he was -- c-span: who is he, by the way? >> guest: clifton daniel was the managing editor of the new york times, a former foreign correspondent, a husband of margaret truman, a very suave, extremely sophisticated and seductive man who was my mentor, one of my mentors along with abe rosenthal and so on at "the new york times." and he, you know, if clifton daniel -- who said this to me several weeks after, very closely after my winning the pulitzer prize -- passed by my
desk and hugged and kissed me, then made the statement what's a little bitty thing like you, etc. and before the women's movement, i would have sort of dip l -- dimpled and blushed and said, oh, shucks, it was really nothing. but i felt he was being patronizing. i had suffered through an enormous ordeal and had shown a good deal of courage in overcoming it in my therapy because for a long time people didn't think i'd ever take notes again or ever writing again or ever type or ever walk, and this was the piece that won the pulitzer. and it was -- i got through a personal ordeal to win this pulitzer. and he was demeaning me, and i let him have it. and a few years previously i would have been, i wouldn't have stuck up for myself. and i really shamed clifton,
whom i like enormously and who has been mentor to many talented women and, as a matter of fact, comes off rather well in the book, i think. he understands women, he likes women. um, in the case of that quote, i didn't feel -- i felt demeaned. so i let him have it. c-span: this is really out of sync with what we're talking about, but i wanted to ask you about when i read it. i underlined and starred it. it's on page 53 because i guess i was just surprised. adolf -- pronounce his last name correctly. >> guest: ochs. c-span: isn't there another name in the history that's pronounced oaks or oats? >> guest: yes. there's a branch of the family that is known as oaks, and there's another branch known as ochs. johnny was the editor of the editorial page for a long time.
his branch of the family changed their names because the ochs were german jews, and during world war i there was a tremendously fanatic outpouring against people with german names. and so one branch of the family changed their name to oaks. c-span: okay. and adolf ochs was an owner. >> guest: he was the great founding father, patriarch of the family that still owns it and publisher of "the new york times" from 1896 when he bought it to 1935 when he died. c-span: okay, that helps. ochs avoided paying a far greater inheritance tax to the government. president franklin d. roosevelt described it as a, quote: a dirty jewish trick, unquote. >> guest: uh-huh. c-span: franklin roosevelt talk like that? >> guest: yes. it's in the record. c-span: more than once? >> guest: yes.
ah, that i don't know. but, of course, there have been all kinds of books written in recent years about how roosevelt for a very long time ignored what was happening to the jews this germany -- in germany, did not take it seriously. this has been amply documented over and over again that he is simply didn't seem to feel that it was important. of course, we did not realize the full scope of the holocaust million after the war was over -- until after the war was over. c-span: where'd you get that quote though? is that something new you found somewhere? >> guest: it's probably in something i read. it probably is harrison calz bury's -- salisbury's book, but i've written every single book ever written about "the new york times." i think it's been in print, and i think it's probably harrison
salisbury's 1980 book. c-span: this is also out of sync, but when you read about people you know about it, it makes it interesting. cy hersh, who was he? >> guest: he is on a par with bob woodward and carl bernstein. c-span: got a quote in the book that he said something to a woman by the name of leslie bennett. who is she? >> guest: leslie had just been hired as a reporter for "the new york times." she'd come in from the philadelphia bulletin after many years as a reporter if philadelphia. c-span: cy hirsh wrote the my lie massacre story. >> guest: not for the times, he was working if for an independent. c-span: he said you know perfectly well you never would have been hired if it hadn't been for the women's suit, don't
you? >> guest: uh-huh. leslie bennetts was hired in 1978. it is ahazing the number of l talented women who were hired in 1978 which was the year that the lawsuit against the times for sex discrimination was settled in favor of the women who had brought the suit. there's a whole class of 1978, i found out. and immediately thereafter. the times began hiring more women reporters particularly because they're more visible because of their bylines, began hiring her women as soon as we confronted the management, we being the women's caucus, the newly-formed women's caucus. i mean, i was sent to paris, flora lewis was sent out as bureau chief, but they still were being brought in at significantly less pay, and there weren't that many of them. i mean, gad, there were about three to five in the city room when i first viewed it. i mean, anywhere no women copy
readers, when i came in in 1955. i was sent to the women's page, and i came down to the city room five years later in 1959, there was still three to five women. i mean, i was the first new woman hired for the city room in five years. c-span: got to finish this part here. >> guest: i'm sorriment. c-span: no, no, it's fine. i've just got to finish it, you said i must be fair to him, i sat near to him for months in the washington bureau while he threatened and cajoled his sources over the phone, and i am here here to say he was frequently and brutally rude to both sexes. >> guest: that's right. that's one of the reasons why he's a great reporter, because he scares people into giving him information. mike wallace operates on the same principle. i must say here in all hon is city -- honesty cy and i are friends. he is a pussycat within, but he's a brutally rude man.
c-span: does rudeness work in this business? >> guest: it can. i think it grows out of personality. i mean, i, i think people -- i think interviewing grows out of personality. i never threatened or bullied people. i listened to them. c-span: but wait, let me do that -- because i'm not to the point. >> guest: okay. c-span: the interruption factor. i just interrupted you on purpose. you talk about the interruption factor of men. >> guest: yes. c-span: what is that? >> guest: it's what's happening to the women who are in higher positions today on "the new york times." those are heads of departments, heads of sections. they are not listened to in managerial meetings. they are ridden over. they are interrupted. the men do not listen to what it is they're saying. i have been present at some of these meetings, and it used to be that there weren't any women
at these managerial meetings. well, now there are, thank god. but it's almost as if they're not taken seriously. remember in broadcasting? women were not supposed to be serious, their voices were higher, they didn't use sports analogies. they were not taken seriously. they were fluffballs, you know? they were barbie dolls. and this is true to a certain extent today. c-span: is that interruption factor, is that something you all invented, or is that a well known thing about men? >> guest: i don't know if it's a well known thing, but it's a phrase that women in this managerial positions at "the new york times" use to me. and i think like the term the glass ceiling against women, against which women have been bumping their heads, that the interruption factor probably is used by other women. they really -- and if they interrupt and if they are assertive, they are seen as try department or a-- strident or
aggressive rather than assertive. men do this at meetings, you know if they assert themselves. i tell you, brian, it's a tough row to hoe here. [laughter] c-span: there's another name, i want to read you another thing here. there's another name that's fairly public right now -- you mentioned him, he's got a new book, but you mentioned the book on "the new york times." >> guest: yes. which is a wonderful book. c-span: but in here you, again, picking up a quote, that was fitting since he virtually ignored the women of the paper with the notable exception of charlotte curtis and patricia riff, is that the way you proknowns it? riffe? clifton daniel's secretary? whose beauty he chose to comment as well as, quote, that nice hip motion that she has when she walks. >> guest: uh-huh. c-span: doesn't sound like he's one of your favorites from reading this. >> guest: i have always thought that gay is a male chauvinist.
again, a friend. we are civil to one another. but i sat right in front of gay in the city roomment we were of that same generation. and gay is a very macho, southern italian man. you know, when he had two daughters, i had the feeling he was going to sort of leave them out on the hillside like, you know, ancient sicilianos or something. gay is one of those -- and never been comfortable around women. i know the this, you know? i did a little -- he's more comfortable in male company. c-span: there's a -- >> guest: and he said that, and he wrote that. c-span: there's an awful lot we can talk about, and as you see, i'm jumping all over the place because i wanted you to explain these little things. you can read the book and get the whole story on the suit. >> guest: yes. c-span: other things, grand pa. >> guest: my grand pa? c-span: meant a lot to you. >> guest: he was the first man i
ever loved. i was often remote from my father who was often away from home, he was a traveling salesman. and shortly after the crash my grandfather, my ma term grandfather and grandmother came to the robertson household to live. and my grandfather brought a very large library of classic books. the bulk of them were, the bulk of them was 19th century novelists, english, french, russian, american. and he made a bookworm out of me. and he was, i now know, the first man to treat me as an equal who was an adult. i heene, to treat ming -- i mean, to treat me like an adult, to talk to me about everything. to, he had complete respect for my views. i talked to him about everything
from is there a god to sex. as i was growing up. he was a man of immense tolerance, and he was a very intellectual man. and i think people who read a lot -- and i'd been a big reader all my life because of my grandfather. i mean, the good push that he, you know, the push that he gave in the direction, i mean, i -- and i think people that read a lot respect writing, although they may not become writers. i certainly became a good speller because of that. you know? people who read a lot generally tend to be good spellers. but he was, he was an immense -- he was an immense intellectual influence in my life as well as being a man that i loved. and i tell a little bit about him in my book. i would like to honor my grandfather. c-span: you dedicate the book the brave women. >> guest: yes. c-span: how do you define a brave woman?
[laughter] >> guest: a woman who stands up for herself and what she believes in each though she's scared -- even though she's scared. i think a brave person is a person who goes ahead and does something that's frightening even though they're frightened. i mean, every single woman, for instance, who was active in this lawsuit against the times was putting her career on the line. particularly the seven named plaintiffs in this suit. and as a result of the suit, their careers were blighted, but they opened up -- they were pioneers. they opened up the way for other women. c-span: was your name on the suit? is. >> guest: no. c-span: how come? >> guest: because i was a foreign correspondent in paris at the time that they were trying to get plaintiffs. if i had been asked, i would have said yes. i would have been scared to death, but i would have said
yes. i was in paris in 1974 when they were deciding and when the suit was finally filed after fruitless negotiation with management. and i would have been a plaintiff. i would have been honored to be asked. and i did have a background of activism as a union shop steward, and, um, it's just partly my life that taught me to be an activist. c-span: women's caucus in "the new york times" and the lawsuit, would you say, by the way, what happened with the lawsuit? >> guest: the lawsuit was settled on october 6, 1978, on the day it was due to go to trial in favor of the women. c-span: this is a little bit of tangential question, but there was a strike in new york -- >> guest: yes. c-span: -- newspaper strike. so most of this wasn't covered by newspapers? >> guest: that's right. i mean, there was a print blackout in new york for three months. it was the second longest
citywide newspaper strike in new york history. and all of the drama the final weeks of the women's suit against the times unrolled in darkness and silence. there were only alternative newspapers with very low circulations, out of town newspapers, local tv and radio shows. also as you probably well know, the press and broadcasting does not cover itself very well. does not write about itself very well. i think it's a pity was it's always telling -- because it's always telling people what to do and then does not turn the search light on itself. that's why i think the rise of ombudsmen, in other words, people who really monitor the newspaper and listen to the readers' complaints and listen to what's going on inside a
newspaper are a very good thing indeed. we have a media reporter, but on the whole not encouraged to cover the times this that sort of -- in that sort of negative way. however, in 1991 when there was a mutiny, an unprecedented mutiny within the times over the coverage of the palm beach rape accuser in the william kennedy smith case, the times covered itself, covered the storm of protest from the readers for, a, giving her name without her consent and, b, treating her in a profile as if she had deserved this, as if she were some kind of slut as somebody put it. the times' staffers rose up as they never have before, men and women, to call the management to account. and max frankel was quoted, other people were quoted.
i mean, it was in "the new york times" that something quite negative had happened there and that the staff was reacting against it by saying that the times was not living up to its own journalistic standards. i got a tape of that meeting from one of my many friends in the times, and "time" magazine said there were boos and hisses at the meeting. it wasn't like that at all. what rose up off that tape was chagrin and, again, love for the newspaper, wish for it to be, be the best that it could be. and then the feeling of disappointment that it had really fallen down in this its standards. it had become sort of like a tabloid in that regard. i was very proud of the staff. c-span: you go back, and again, you talk a lot about max frankel, the current editor. >> guest: yes. c-span: and you quote rebecca sinkler, sunday book review editor, commenting: i think we're lucky to have max frankel because he's so completely
politically incorrect. the man's well intentioned but anti-delouvre yang. he's not hypocritical enough to mind his mouth, he shows us what really is on men's mind. >> guest: uh-huh. do you understand that quote? [laughter] c-span: sure. i also want to ask you about this one though. this is mr. frankel being quoted. he says, what i meant was i was manager of this wonderful organization, can't afford to have women fail without having a political crisis on my hands. i do aim for 50/50 men and women on the staff. fortunately enough, women have already succeeded in high places here so that we can also have them fail. what i was doing was revealing my own state of mind, this is quoting max frankel. when branch ricky recruited jackie robinson, he said he had to be better than anybody else. max frankel said his mother used to say you're a jew, you've got to be better than anybody else.
now major black players are repeatedly scolded and kicked out. why would somebody say, max, you're a jew, you've got to be better than anybody else? >> guest: because jews couldn't be doctors for the longest time in america, couldn't go to law school, have been used throughout history as scapegoats. they are disproportionately and admirably represented in the united states as civic leaders and as intellectual leaders, and it creates a lot of resentment as assimilated as they are. max frankel came from germany. remember that. and he realized -- he was a german-speaking boy when he came to new york city, and he has been struggling all of his life. um, it might account for his ponderousness and his seriousness that he has had to
struggle, and his mother knew full well that he was a member of a minority historically discriminated against and despised and that he had to be better than other people to achieve the same goals. and many women feel that. and we're not even a minority. c-span: did you ever wonder, i mean, when i read this, i read all these hang-ups people have where they are, jewish, catholic and all that, is it working? >> guest: i don't understand your question. c-span: the human being. i mean, this is -- you or tray "the new york times" as a great liberal institution. it sounds like to me they've got, i mean, this is full of people with all kinds of, you know -- >> guest: publicly, it's a great liberal institution. c-span: ah. >> guest: privately, bep hind the scenes -- behind the scenes while they're lecturing the country in their editorials about, you know, things can't be managed by white males alone,
you've got give the women a chance, you've got to give the minorities a chance. while they were saying this in print, this truly great newspaper and its lawyers were fighting the women's suit tooth and nail behind the scenes. it was a hypocritical attitude. c-span: started to ask you earlier, caucus and the suit. >> guest: yes. c-span: looking back on it, did both of them get what the women's movement at "the new york times" wanted? was it worth it? would you recommend it to others if they're caught in this a similar situation? is. >> guest: you bet i would. i'm a true believer in organizing to get what you want. i'm a true believer that nobody is going to move who's already in power or give any power away voluntarily unless they are nudged and pushed and people stand up for themselves. i really believe that. you know, it's not enough to have your own brilliant career. that's your own brilliant career. but who have you helped? that's why charlotte curtis, see, women's editor for a long
time, and louise huxtable, the architecture critic -- both of whom were of enormous talent and distinction -- why it disappointed me they didn't sort of join the women's suit, didn't sign the letter to the publisher, the first manifesto. because they were really focused on their own careers. however, charlotte curtis at the very end, who was, had become well aware of the interruption factor when she went on to the masthead as an associate editor, charlotte curtis, um, at the end said the charges against, the charges that the women have brought are generally true. this is before the settlement. and she also told ann a that quinlan who is now on the -- anna quindlen who is now on the op-ed page of the times as a columnist that they will only give you -- the male management -- as much power as they wish you to have. anna, by the way, is a very,
very powerful and wonderful feminist voice on the op-ed page of the times. c-span: this woman here, harriet rabb -- >> guest: yes. c-span: -- in reading the book, again, all kinds of connections. her husband, her husband's father and all that, her relationship to this city and all that, just tell us a little bit about harriet and what was, what were the problems for background? >> guest: harriet rabb cut her legal teeth with a very famous and to some people infamous law firm that defended almost every radical in the united states black or white during the '60s and early '70s. william kunsler is still very well known for taking on unpopular clients. that is where she learned her law, basically at the seat of
the partner of kunsler. she had an fbi file, i mean, this thick. her second husband, bruce, came from a staunchly republican family. maxwell rabb, his father, was, i believe, reagan's ambassador to italy, he was eisenhower's cabinet secretary. staunchly republican family, and bruce was, bruce rabb was in the civil rights liaison office of richard nixon, again, a republican white house. and, um, his wife was considered by the fbi as a subversive. and she lost a number of jobs because she was, because of the kinds of meetings she was going to being a lawyer for one client or another. she became the lawyer of the women's caucus and the class action suit that represented all the women at "the new york
times" in every job. and she also was the best known, um, lawyer for the plaintiffs in the sense discrimination -- sex discrimination suits in the media during the early '70s; nbc, reader's digest, i don't know whether those were her cases, but she had a lot of sex discrimination cases. c-span: you write that the judge, if i remember correctly a well known liberal judge -- >> guest: yes. c-span: -- refused to hire her as a clerk. >> guest: he wanted to hire her as a clerk but the other judges, i think it was the court of appeals, said that she was subversive. and one of them said that a he would, he would lock his door against her or something like that. and the judge was forced to tell harriet with tears in his eyes that he could not hire her because he could not afford such dissension within the court. but he then got her a job with a
sort of liberal law firm in washington for a very short period. he did want to hire her. c-span: but don't those judges operate solely unto themselves in. >> guest: there were other judges involved in this court. i think at least two others. c-span: court of appeals there are nine judges. >> guest: all right. well, then it was the court of appeals because there were other judges involved, and at least two of them complained that they would not want her as a clerk of the court. and she would be not just one judge, but clerk of the court. c-span: very little time left. what will make you the happiest after this book makes its rounds? >> guest: i think i'm seeing it already, and that is that women are saying who have read this book, this is my story. and they are becoming, they are
sort of sharing already in the fact that this has happened everywhere, and they want to get some sort of hope. of it's what happened to women during the anita hill/clarence thomas hearings. women identified with anita hill to an enormous extent. men became more sensitized. and the spectacle of these senators saying you mean sexual harassment actually takes place in the world of work? i mean, here are these men who are part of a boys' club, the senate of the united states, acting as if this is something new. and i think anita hill gave courage and encouragement to a lot of women to sort of stand up for themselves and speak up. c-span: this is what the book looks like. the girls in the balcony: women and men be -- women, men and the new york times, but by nan robertson. thank you very much for joining
us. >> guest: thank you, brian. >> the redesigned "book notes" web site now features over 800 notable authors interviewed about their books. view the programs, see the transcripts and use the searchable database and find links to the authors' blogs, facebook pages and twitter feeds. booknotes.org with a brand new look and feel. a helpful research tool and a great way to watch and enjoy the authors and their books. >> a few weeks left in 2013, many publications are putting out their year-end lists of notable weeks. -- books. these titles were included in "the new york times"' 100 notable books of 2013. in "book of ages," jill lepore chronicles the life of benjamin franklin's youngest sister. sheri fink investigates patient deaths at a new orleans hospital in the days following hurricane katrina in "five days at memorial: life and death in a
storm-ravaged hospital." in "catastrophe 1914," europe goes to war, military historian max hastings details the events that led to the onset of world war i. journalist katy butler presents her thoughts on end of life care in "knocking on heaven's door: the path to a better way of death." in "days of fire: bush and chain ty in the white house," peter baker with the new york times recalls the working relationship between president bush and vice president cheney. national book award winning author jesmyn ward recounts the deaths of five men in her life in, "men we reaped." for links to various other publications' 2013 notable book selections, visit booktv's web site, booktv.org. >> what we know of the founders, you know, at core, the 30-second version is the guys that were
against the constitution were the religious conservatives of the day, the antifederalists who very much -- and they included patrick henry at the time although he came along eventually -- wanted to have religious tests for office holding and so torte. the founders were the cosmopolitans, and yet most of them were bible-believing christians. why did they take the approach they did? come down where madison came down? because they believed no faith, including their own, was beyond faction. so madison's prescription was, essentially, a multiplicity of sects. that's sects. >> there have been important developments if the law over the last, you know, couple of decades in terms of government funding and religious institutions. and so i would say that there were some, there were some real issues to work through and to figure out the rules that oregon this area during the -- govern this area during the clinton years or the early clinton years were different, you know? ..