He Said, She Said….

Matt Lauer. Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Matt Lauer. Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent Today Show interview, Matt Lauer managed to strip himself of all remaining respect he may have been due in his interview with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

Lauer proceeded to dismiss all the qualifications Barra may have presented when vying for the number one spot in the gleaming tower of Detroit. Asking her a very well-staged question on whether her being a woman and being a mom weren’t the REAL reasons GM picked her at this time when a face of softness and compassion might earn the company a better public image. But then he went even further;

LAUER: You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom.
BARRA: Correct.
LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?

While my head spun trying to grasp that a major anchor of a top-rated news program would have enough disrespect not only for the person he was interviewing, but also for every professional woman out there who just so happens to also be a mother, what I was even more disappointed when Barra chose to answer politely.

What SHOULD she have said? Here’s how we envision this could have played out:

LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?
BARRA: What an excellent question, Matt. And since you are the father of three, and travel the world extensively on long trips away from home, I can assure you that not only can I do both well, in fact I’ve often wondered how men like you can do it, since research clearly shows that women multi-task much better than men. And Matt, you really need to understand that motherhood does not disable a woman’s brain function; in fact, it actually has the opposite effect. So how DOES that work in fatherhood, anyway?

Lauer defended his question by saying it was fair, since Barra had previously mentioned her children. Yet nowhere can we find record of Lauer ever asking this type of question of any male CEO he has interviewed, even when the man would mention his children.

What we have here, folks, is a double standard. And until women stop giving answers that men don’t intend to listen to anyway, and instead put the ball back in the court it came from, there will never be an end to any of the stupidity.

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This entry was posted in Human Spirit, Media Issues, Women's Issues and tagged , , , , , on by .

About MNgranny

MNgranny has been an activist since the age of 17. After earning a BA in Mass Communications and enjoying a 30 year career, she is now disabled and dedicates her life to that activism. Her experiences include volunteering in community service organizations and taking leadership roles throughout her academic and professional life. She is also a survivor of rape and domestic violence, a published author and a master naturalist. She is also a professional member of the United States Press Association. She has focused for the last several years and specializes in Kurdish history, culture and politics.

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