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A Big Week for Ifill, Couric, Fey; the Working Women's Movement

October 6, 2008

It was a big week for women in the media: Gwen Ifill moderated the Vice Presidential debate Thursday night; Katie Couric's series of interviews with Sarah Palin mesmerized the public; and Tina Fey solidified her position as a leading political satirist. Some 70 million people tuned in to watch the Biden-Palin debate, surpassing the McCain-Obama match-up the week before by almost 18 million, and matching the highest rated Presidential debate -- Clinton-Bush-Perot -- in 1992. The contretemps over Ifill's impartiality (raised by some over her upcoming book on the election) seemed to dissipate as a result of the fast paced format. For those who thought she gave both candidates a pass on rigorous questioning, Ifill on Sunday's Meet the Press maintained she had fulfilled her role as moderator--but, she said, Biden was debating McCain, and Palin was sticking to her talking points. In fact, said Ifill, Palin quite frankly "blew me off." Tina Fey proved on NBC's Saturday Night Live that she is at the top of her game. Fey as Palin and Queen Latifa as Ifill brilliantly recreated the debate. Fey entered singular territory at the Emmy's recently: winning awards for producing, writing and starring in the show she created, 30 Rock. For serious analysis and commentary on the debate, see our Progressive Women's Voices participant Dr. Avis Jones-deWeever, director of the Research, Public Policy, and Information Center for African American Women ( and the WMC' s DC correspondent Peg Simpson ( WORKING WOMEN'S MOVEMENT: National Press Conference Two of our PWV participants, Ellen Bravo, Coordinator of the Multi-State Working Families Consortium (1 million members) and Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner , co-founder and Executive Director of MomsRising (150,000 members) held a briefing for reporters across the country last week, presenting the case for paid sick days, equal pay and flexibility in the workplace. They were joined by leading pollster Celinda Lake and Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women and Families. The session was moderated by the WMC's VP Glennda Testone and you can listen to the news conference here: SHOW ME THE WOMEN: An Update A thank-you to everyone who submitted questions for the final Presidential debate on October 15th at Hofstra University with Bob Schieffer moderating. We received over 300 really thoughtful, probing questions (including from New Moon readers, girls 8-12) and sent off ten of the most representative to the CBS anchor. As you know, we have been protesting the fact that only men were selected as moderators for the final three debates. We will continue our campaign for fair inclusion of women and people of color in the media. Visit our campaign page for updates: The WMC's Robin Morgan and PWV participant Courtney Martin: On the radio Be sure to listen to ABC's Lynn Sherr tomorrow night--she has a special radio program on The New Feminism, a one-time special live SIRIUS radio show airing October 7, 2008 from 6:00 - 7:00 pm ET on SIRIUS Stars channel 102. Columnists Ellen Goodman and Gail Collins are among the panelists discussing feminism and the vote...just before Obama-McCAin debate #2. A don't miss! Join us as we work to make women visible & powerful in the media. Your donation and support are greatly appreciated. DONATE: WMC BLOGGING SESSIONS: Sign Up Now WMC is pleased to offer, in conjunction with one of PWV participants, Deborah Siegel, a "bloginar," a five week class that will give you the tools of blogging, getting your own voice and issues out in the world. All you need is a phone and internet access to take advantage of these sessions by Deborah, To sign up for Girl w/ Keyboard: Making Waves through the Feminist Blogosphere (Strategic Blogging for Advocates, Experts, and Organizations) go to Girl with Pen ( or email Deborah's assistant at Sessions begin October 14th. ELINOR GUGGENHEIMER: 1912-2008 This week we said farewell to a dear friend. Elly Guggenheimer was co-founder of the International Women's Forum, The New York Women's Agenda, The Child Care Action Committee, among so many others of our important women's institutions. Elly was my first television partner, way back in 1971. We hosted one of the very first daily news/talk shows, Straight Talk, on WOR-TV-certainly revolutionary for the time with two women hosts. The station thought having the varying viewpoints of two women with distinct points of view-one a "Park Avenue Brahmin" the other a young "radical" black woman, would be good television. It was great fun, but Elly was always so much more radical than I-she taught me more than a few good lessons about the inequity between women and men-and our duty fix it. As former NYC Mayor David Dinkins said at her services on Friday, "Elly was a miracle-and an institution." With best wishes, Carol Jenkins WMC President p.s. Sign-Up For Exclusives, Daily News Brief!