Lacking a pulse of real people

by R H | January 20th, 2018

Readability

Lacking a pulse of real people

I don’t nor­mally watch cable news, but on Fri­day I had no choice. My spon­sor at a com­mand I was vis­it­ing hadn’t put in a visit request, so I had to sit in the lobby while my cre­den­tials were checked. On the TV was CNN, and they were show­ing their “Pulse of the Peo­ple” seg­ment, with the topic “Women on Trump.”

As I watched a good ten min­utes of this, I picked up on a lot of nasty setup items that put peo­ple at disadvantages.

To start, there were six women being inter­viewed. Three were stand­ing up, three were sit­ting. When the show of hands went up ask­ing who voted for Trump, four women raised their hands: three sit­ting, one stand­ing in the center…which is odd. In a meet­ing, the per­son lead­ing the meet­ing is nor­mally stand­ing, and that often puts sit­ting peo­ple at a dis­ad­van­tage. But hey, no mat­ter, keep on going.

The CNN anchor asked the women who voted for Trump if they were happy. One responded that she liked the results he was get­ting but didn’t like him personally…not an uncom­mon response, and I think pretty fair. Another said she was really happy with him, and another not as happy. All three were the women sit­ting down.

The stand­ing woman in the cen­ter was really not happy with Trump, say­ing his tweets were racist and sex­ist. Then one of the ladies who didn’t vote for him inter­rupted her and began slam­ming Trump.

Now, inter­rupt­ing is a crude move. It’s espe­cially nasty against women because all too often, women tend to stop talk­ing and allow the inter­rupt­ing offender to talk…which only encour­ages the per­son to dom­i­nate the con­ver­sa­tion. And that is exactly what hap­pened. For the rest of the inter­view, the two non-​Trump vot­ers spelled out all of Trump’s woes. I started tim­ing it on my watch, and it was a 2.5 to 1 ratio of time spent on non-​Trump over Trump. Worse still, two of the sit­ting women were repeat­edly inter­rupted by the two stand­ing non-​Trump vot­ers. This went on in a follow-​on inter­view after a com­mer­cial break as well. Although I can’t find the seg­ment on CNN’s web­site, from look­ing at other Pulse of the Peo­ple seg­ments, this isn’t uncommon.

Hav­ing now chaired a large num­ber of meet­ings with diverse mem­bers, I learned a few years ago that some peo­ple just like to hear them­selves talk, and as the meet­ing chair, you have to cut them off from inter­rupt­ing oth­ers. All too often these peo­ple will dom­i­nate a meet­ing, and any­one that is intro­verted or not inclined to con­tro­versy (as many women are) lose the chance to present their ideas. On CNN, appar­ently those tac­tics are wel­come and used to shut down any sort of debate…once again, con­firm­ing why I don’t watch cable news.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other fed­eral agency.

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I don’t normally watch cable news, but on Friday I had no choice. My sponsor at a command I was visiting hadn’t put in a visit request, so I had to sit in the lobby while my credentials were checked. On the TV was CNN, and they were showing their “Pulse of the People” segment, with the topic “Women on Trump.”

As I watched a good ten minutes of this, I picked up on a lot of nasty setup items that put people at disadvantages.

To start, there were six women being interviewed. Three were standing up, three were sitting. When the show of hands went up asking who voted for Trump, four women raised their hands: three sitting, one standing in the center…which is odd. In a meeting, the person leading the meeting is normally standing, and that often puts sitting people at a disadvantage. But hey, no matter, keep on going.

The CNN anchor asked the women who voted for Trump if they were happy. One responded that she liked the results he was getting but didn’t like him personally…not an uncommon response, and I think pretty fair. Another said she was really happy with him, and another not as happy. All three were the women sitting down.

The standing woman in the center was really not happy with Trump, saying his tweets were racist and sexist. Then one of the ladies who didn’t vote for him interrupted her and began slamming Trump.

Now, interrupting is a crude move. It’s especially nasty against women because all too often, women tend to stop talking and allow the interrupting offender to talk…which only encourages the person to dominate the conversation. And that is exactly what happened. For the rest of the interview, the two non-Trump voters spelled out all of Trump’s woes. I started timing it on my watch, and it was a 2.5 to 1 ratio of time spent on non-Trump over Trump. Worse still, two of the sitting women were repeatedly interrupted by the two standing non-Trump voters. This went on in a follow-on interview after a commercial break as well. Although I can’t find the segment on CNN’s website, from looking at other Pulse of the People segments, this isn’t uncommon.

Having now chaired a large number of meetings with diverse members, I learned a few years ago that some people just like to hear themselves talk, and as the meeting chair, you have to cut them off from interrupting others. All too often these people will dominate a meeting, and anyone that is introverted or not inclined to controversy (as many women are) lose the chance to present their ideas. On CNN, apparently those tactics are welcome and used to shut down any sort of debate…once again, confirming why I don’t watch cable news.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

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