Between misogyny and alleged abuse, it is a constant struggle for women in the TV network


It is not necessary to have a dot-connect doctorate to understand why talented journalists like Julianna Goldman feel compelled to give up promising careers in major television networks.

Goldman, former CBS correspondent, published a memorable piece in the Atlantic this week. The title: "It's almost impossible to be a mother on television news".

Goldman tells his own story and that of 13 other correspondents, anchors and producers (not just at CBS) on the extreme difficulty of being a mother and carrying out their work at high pressure. He wrote about the lack of flexibility and respect for the workplace, the unequal treatment and pay, and the distressing career decisions that often follow.

"Pressed to choose between staying in my career and being a mom, I chose this one," wrote Goldman. "But I did not really feel like a great choice, because the management will not move?"

Perhaps due to a deep-rooted corporate culture, starting with the longtime CEO.

At the helm of CBS for decades there was Les Moonves, one of the richest and most powerful men in the American media.

This week, the New York Times reported that its CBS investigators concluded that Moonves behaved abominably against the women in his company – they also had more reports that he had arranged for a worker to be "on call" to have sex with him. oral.

But Moonves talked about a great game about helping women.

When the #MeToo movement started in earnest last year, Moonves stood up front and center for the reform.

He was one of the founders of the Commission for the Elimination of Sexual Harassment and the Advancement of Equality at Work, chaired by Anita Hill.

"It's a watershed moment," Moonves said last fall of the growing movement. "I think it's important that the culture of a company does not allow it".

This was a total hypocrisy, if credible allegations in Ronan Farrow's report on the New Yorker last summer are true – that Moonves has imposed on women, intimidated them and threatened to damage their careers.

Moonves resigned last September under a cloud.

With its huge outstanding liquidation, CBS has decided to make its own investigations, initiating lawyers from two major companies.

Their findings not only supported Farrow's previous report, they also found that, according to the Times, Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators while trying to save his reputation and claim a $ 120 gold parachute. millions.

The lawyers also discovered new reports on the sexual misconduct of the head of the executive: "Moonves received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees in circumstances that seem transactional and improper to the extent that there was no record of any relationship, romance or reciprocity ".

Moonves has denied any non-consensual sex with employees or anyone else, and his lawyer says that Moonves never put or held anyone in the payroll for sex.

It is not surprising that network investigators think it would be sensible to deny Moonves his separation. It will probably look good, however, since its net worth is around $ 800 million.

Furthermore, it is not surprising that with someone like Moonves at the top, the corporate culture of the network is not very comprehensive for women like Goldman. As you remember in your film on the Atlantic, it is not so much the period when women's television careers depended on how sexually attractive they were (she uses a much more pungent phrase).

None of this means that there are no successful and powerful women at CBS and in all the network news, including some who have managed to combine motherhood and careers.

And this does not mean that the leaders of men and women are indifferent or unpleasant.

Regardless of this, however, it remains a profound and systemic problem for women on TV – and their viewers. It could even get worse.

Goldman cites the results of a report by the Women's Media Center: that TV viewers are less likely to see women reporting the news today than a few years ago.

"In the three major networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – men were responsible for reporting 75% of evening news broadcast for over three months in 2016, while women were responsible for reporting only 25% – a decrease from 32 % two years previously. "

In 2016, once again an invincible power on TV, Fox News founder Roger Ailes resigned his disgrace over accusations of sexual misconduct, set in motion by former guest Gretchen Carlson, who he won a $ 20 million deal from his former boss.

Even more than the famous faces that have left their posts on the media in infamy (Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Mark Halperin, Bill O & Reilly), are top executives like Ailes and Moonves to do the most damage.

There may not be a direct connection between Julianna Goldman's departure from CBS and Moonves's tone – more than there is a demonstrable connection between the unjust coverage of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the media misogynists behind it.

But you can not call one by coincidence.

Corporate culture comes far and wide, and inevitably flows from the top.

For more information about Margaret Sullivan, visit


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