Wednesday, July 23, 2014

10 interviews that show Matt Lauer's questioning of Mary Barra really was sexist

Matt Lauer has found himself in hot water for asking General Motors CEO Mary Barra whether she thought she got her job because she's a woman, and whether she could handle being both a CEO and a mother. His defense? He'd ask the same thing of male CEOs: "She had just accepted the job as the first female CEO of a major American automotive company, and in [an article] she said that she felt horrible when she missed her son’s junior prom. If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing."

Of course, men don't generally say that kind of thing about home-life balance, because reporters don't ask them. Lauer certainly doesn't. Here are ten times he interviewed male CEOs and didn't once mention home or family concerns:

1) Rick Wagoner

Barra's predecessor, Rick Wagoner, was on Today with Lauer on January 8, 2009, as the US auto industry descended deeper into crisis, and lo and behold, that's mostly what the two of them talked about. Wagoner's wife and three children didn't come up:

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2) Robert Nardelli

Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli appeared on Today shortly after Wagoner, on January 12, 2009, and Lauer focused the interview on the precarious state of the auto industry rather than his wife and four children:

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3) Dick Costolo

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has a wife and two children. Watch Matt Lauer not ask him about them or how he balances work with family in an interview from December 16, 2013:

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4) Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked to Lauer for a October 4, 2012 segment of Rock Center and received no questions about his wife:

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5) Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon talked to Lauer about his firm's $100 million investment in Detroit on May 21 of this year. The interview focused entirely on JPMorgan's activities and not at all on Dimon's wife or three children:

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6) Dave Barger

There's little public information about JetBlue CEO Dave Barger's personal life, and certainly none to be gleaned from Lauer's interview with him from March 28, 2012, which focused instead on an actual news story: a then-recent emergency landing forced by a pilot having a breakdown mid-flight:

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7) Rex Tillerson

When Lauer talked to Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson on May 3, 2006, he did not bring up Tillerson's wife or his four children:

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8) Tony Hayward

BP CEO Tony Hayward talked to Lauer on May 26, 2010, as the company and the US government struggled to clean up its massive Gulf oil spill. And shockingly, he talked about that, and not his then-wife and two children:

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9) Steve Ballmer

On October 21, 2009, then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked to Lauer about Windows 7, the company's just-released operating system, and not about his wife and three children:

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10) Alan Mulally

As Caitlin MacNeal at TPM notes, Matt Lauer asked Ford CEO Alan Mulally no questions about his wife and five kids during a June 8, 2009 interview:

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