Apparently a ton of bloggers were contacted by NPR to talk about e-reading. They wanted to focus specifically on women. Why? Here’s the hook:
When Jane, unsurprisingly, said no to their request, they followed up with this alternative:
I haven’t regularly listened to anything but the hourly news headlines on NPR in a long time. I became so fed up with their twee features and their one-step-behind, not-even-close-to-hip current events pieces, that I decided to just quit. The occasional good story was not worth wading through the idiotic, faux-intellectual stuff. And let’s not even get into the conflict of interest issues they repeatedly face.
Here’s a rule of thumb on NPR: if you know much about the subject they’re talking about, you’ll all too often find that the story is at best shallow and at worst insulting. And if the reporter is a woman, it will probably be delivered in that “NPR voice,” which fuses smugness with uptalk.
The most disappointing aspect of this latest misstep, for me, is that the show is On The Media, one of the few left on NPR that I ever listen to (when you’re driving cross-country 2-4 times a year, you listen to a lot of radio). I really expected Brooke Gladstone to be more sophisticated and intelligent in her story choice than this. Or, if it’s not her choice, to kick and scream and explain to the producers why this is so insulting to women. But check out their top story right now: The Twitterverse is talking about this, as you can imagine. They’re using the hashtags #iamnotashamed and #youshouldbeashamed. Join in if you feel like it and tell @onthemedia that they made a big, honking, embarrassing mistake.
Wondering about the title of this post? Joan Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, left NPR over $200 million when she died in 2003. NPR declared that it would use this unprecedented gift to build “a programming service marked by excellence.”
Maybe some day they will.
UPDATED: Romance blogger Limecello tweets that she received an email from On the Media and “the how women use e-readers to hide the romances they’re reading segment is canned.” Better late than never.
Smart Bitches’ Sarah Wendell quotes the email: “After further discussing …with the staff, we decided not to take this angle and air another segment for the show.”